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find: Music U.S.A.

Mark Ochu  

concert pianist, lecturer on music, U.S.A.

Mark Ochu is a commanding stage presence. An internationally renowned concert pianist, he has taken his approach to music appreciation to some 25 countries on four continents...

...Visit George Gershwin with Mark and Rhapsody in blue becomes a structure of doors -of avenues leading backward in time to Africa... Released in 1924, Rhapsody of course, became an enormously popular hit. Up to that point in time, African-American music had been marginalized and ignored. What Gershwin is noted for is for moving white America toward an appreciation and taste for this art form...

During his 20 years of concert-lecturing Mark has developed a marvelous series of thematic programs...

He has also performed at numerous national and international conferences and is a founding member of an international music forum on "The Role of Music in a changing world" held annually at the Landegg Academy in Switzerland.

Excerpts from a review by Angelo Cerchione,
Arts Dialogue, September 1998, page 3.

Interview with Sonja van Kerkhoff, The Netherlands, 1993. Mark Ochu visited the Netherlands, giving piano & lecture performances in five cities. I experienced a house concert he gave to six people on my neighbour's terrible piano, and a concert he gave in a church in Amsterdam.

caption to come...
SvK: Why did you study visual arts at university?

As a child, I didn't have professional musical training, so in High School I took classes in the visual arts, particularly in ceramic sculpture. When I went on to College it was a natural step to continue majoring in the visual arts and minoring in music. These were the subjects that appealed most to me. I could spend hours throwing pots, but not working on chemical formulas. I studied studio art for 6 years and dropped out just prior to finishing a Master of Arts degree.

SvK: And you didn't have any qualms about going to art school, which wouldn't lead onto a job?

No, that wasn't an issue for me. The arts aren't a vocation for me, they are my life. Again, I chose to study the visual arts because the art department had a reputation for being the best in Minnesota, especially in the areas of Sculpture, Printmaking and Art History. The music department on the other hand focused on music education rather than performance. However, they were strong in Music History, and I ended up studying both art and music history at the same time. I discovered a lot of developmental parallels in the two fields, and seeing these evolutionary parallels contributed to my becoming a Bahá'í. I was seeing all these wonderful relationships between the two disciplines that neither department was aware of, such as comparing the 18th century Spanish painter, Goya with the 18th Century German composer Beethoven. They both went through three distinctive styles in their artistic expression. Goya began painting in a heavy Baroque style (a decorative, flamboyant style that focused on illustrating stories from Classical Greece) and ended up painting in a very modern way (He used lighter colours, looser brush strokes which evoke a psychological/emotional urgency to his, then, contemporary and everyday subject matter. In the visual arts this 19th century movement, which focused on expressing emotional values, is called Romanticism).

Like Goya, Beethoven (1770-1827) began composing in the style of the times, which is referred to as the Classical Period in musical terms, and is typified by the music of Haydn and Mozart. Stylistically, the classical period in music has intellectual clarity and adheres to strict forms in terms of structure, with equally strict formulas for changing harmonies and developing thematic material. On the other hand Romanticism, which is the style that Beethoven is said to have ushered in, captures the inner struggle of what it is to be human. It deals with our dual physical and spiritual nature. It becomes transcendental in the Ninth Symphony, and the late String Quartets, and Piano Sonatas. The classical formulas were stretched to the point of not being recognized which then became the basis of the 'new' style. Another interesting connection between Beethoven and Goya is that they both struggled with illness throughout their lives and both went deaf at the end of their lives

I found it was much easier to express and communicate the connections between art and music from the stage as a musician than as a visual artist. In the beginning, I showed slides of artistic movements that went with the music, as well as playing and speaking, to demonstrate these interdisciplinary connections. But I don't do this any more because of the difficulty of organizing slide synchronization while I am speaking and playing.

SvK: Could you tell us something about the art you made at art school?

One piece was concerned with expressing the Hegelian dialectics in three dimensional form (Hegel, an 18th century German philosopher, whose main theory was that everything was in continuous development characterised by 'thesis' and 'anti-thesis' forces. His thinking is that at particular periods the anti-thesis forces inhibit the development of the 'thesis' forces, leading to a confrontation which produces a synthesis of these forces, which can then develop further until the following confrontation.). My work showed the spiral nature of history and the interactions of the various disciplines, while referring to the double helix form at the same time (a reference to biological development and the Fibonacci number sequence). However, I found that I could give a more direct message about such ideas from the stage with my piano performance and dialogue or lecture performances.

SvK: By these interconnections, do you mean to refer to what Bahá'u'lláh says about these interconnections as well?

I don't want to separate life, or history or the Bahá'í Faith from each other. If you look at history, then you see that everything is going through an evolutionary process towards a state of unity. In a sense it's looking at both the greater and lesser plans of God that Bahá'u'lláh referred to.

SvK: You said that seeing these parallels between these disciplines led you to the Bahá'í Faith. I think many people see the parallels between artistic disciplines but that doesn't necessarily lead them to the Bahá'í Faith.

At that time, a friend of mine who was a Bahá'í was teaching art and comparative religions. He gave me information about the interconnections between various religions, and an understanding of progressive revelation. For me, it was very easy to see the effect of the appearance of a world religion on art. It is obvious with Christianity and Islam, but what is difficult for art and music historians is to get some sort of conceptual sense about what is going on in the nineteenth century, because we have Classicism and Romanticism going on hand-in-hand simultaneously. Then at the end of the 19th century, Impressionism appears along with academic painters. The same degree of diversity also existed amongst the composers of the period. Brahms was a composer who was seen as an academic but brought unity to previous musical styles; Debussy and Ravel were Impressionists. Liszt and Wagner took Romanticism to the point of setting the stage for most 20th century music. But if you put all this into the context of the theological principle that the world is recreated at the appearance of a Manifestation of God, then you have a frame of reference. In 1844 the Islamic dispensation came to an end and the Bahá'í dispensation began with the declaration of the Báb and then again in 1853 or 1863 with the declaration of Bahá'u'lláh. So in a sense the entire context of history was changed three times within a 9 or 19 year frame and the world was recreated. Then there are a number of musicians like the Polish/French composer Chopin (1810-1849), and the French painter Gericault (1791-1824), who had very short intense lives and are seen as transitional figures, in the same way that the Báb (1819-1850) was a transitional figure between Islam and Bahá'u'lláh. Chopin used both Classical forms of the past and the Romantic harmonies of the future, while Gericault interpreted a contemporary sea accident in his painting, The Raft of the Medusa, which contained strong emotional expression, but from the way the figures were arranged and portrayed you could imagine that this was more likely to be a scene from Ancient Greece than from the nineteenth century. Gericault and Chopin were neither strictly Classicists or Romantics. They were transitional figures in art and music history much in the same way that the Báb was a transitional figure in religious history.

SvK: These are good examples, but it can be argued that you are taking pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and then are constructing a whole jigsaw puzzle from this. Daumier, who lived at about the same time as Gericault, lived a long life, and sometimes is called a Romantic and sometimes a Realist. In the visual arts, most historians see the French Classical painter David and the French Romantic painter, Delacroix, as a beginning point for a study of the artistic developments that followed. As I see it, there were continuous changes in the visual arts, with various schools reacting and responding on from and towards each from the beginning of the 1800s, and then this date is too early, for an effect caused by the coming of the Bahá'í Revelation in 1844. I've chosen 1800 as my arbitrary starting point but you could choose almost any date from 1800 onwards, because there was and is such a ferment of artistic activity occurring right up until now. It is quite easy to argue that Cezanne (working around 1860-1900) was a turning point in the history of Modern art, but his work was also a response to the artistic activity that occurred beforehand. So from my perspective, I don't see the clear pattern of the effect of the Bahá'í Revelation on nineteenth and twentieth century art. I do see that 4th Century Byzantine art seems to be an effect of Christianity and it is known that one main impetus for the Renaissance was the influence of Islam, but this is due to the effect of the crusades not to the appearance of Mohammad.

Well, you're entitled to your opinion. The Renaissance was a result of the influence also caused by presence of Islam in Europe from the 9th to 13th Centuries. The engineering skills to build Gothic Cathedrals came from Islam as did the scholars who educated the Popes. In the 19th Century, think of what was going on in Iran, in the Shaykhi School of Islam, with Shaykh Ahmad, Siyyid Kázim, and Mullá Husayn. Just as these were religious visionaries I think there were also artistic visionaries. Take the confrontation going on between Ingre and Delacroix...

SvK: That was before 1844.

Exactly these artists were ahead of their time.

SvK: I see the renewed spiritualization in the world as something diffuse and for the whole world and perhaps not universally noticeable now. It's not something that I see can be recognized as a concrete fact, and in our discussion we are talking only about European art. I don't know anything about an artistic impetus that occurred in other cultures at about this time.

That's an interesting point, are you familiar with the quotation from Bahá'u'lláh which states, that "the sun of craftsmanship shineth above the horizon of the occident and the river of arts is flowing out of the sea of that region. One must speak with fairness and appreciate such bounty"?

(Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh revealed after the Aqdas, p. 38-39)

I don't think that it's necessary to always apologize for being European. What we (the inheritors of European culture) need to do is recognize and acknowledge that European or Western culture would never have come into existence had it not been for the influences and interactions with Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. And just as there has been a progressive revelation of religions, I think that it is only logical that there is also a progressive development of cultures. Look at the artistic explosion from the beginning of the nineteenth century, the effect of the industrial revolution, the scientific discoveries that led to develop chemical paints, painting outdoors, the discovery of photography and its effect, the trade with the Orient.

caption to come...

SvK: Let's continue with what you were doing at art school.

Along with learning to throw pots and taking drawing and painting classes, I was also studying the organ and looking at the music of J.S. Bach, making connections between his music and Islam, because of the mathematical purity you find in both Bach and in Islamic art. Then as I was dropping out of graduate school, I was offered an accompaniment job, playing piano. So I continued studying piano on my own, attending master classes and workshops whenever possible. A master class simply involved watching an internationally known pianist teach a group of graduate piano students in a public forum. In 1981, I had the opportunity to play in a Master Class for a Russian pianist from St. Petersburg. What I didn't know then, was that this would be the beginning of a mentorship that has continued to the present day. She then moved to New York and is on the staff at the Juilliard School, and I used to commute to New York to continue my studies with her. I was practicing 6 to 8 hours a day and having 1 or 2 lessons a week. I had to start all over and changed my whole approach to technique and playing. The Russian School of piano is not something you could learn on your own. The technique is completely different to the Western approach to playing. It is very specific and disciplined on how to use your muscles to create a particular tone or color.
It connects the right and left brain to the whole body, so that you have complete control over what you are doing. You develop an understanding about how to create a certain tone and, how to hold your hand or curve your finger to achieve this. You learn to have a lot more control, and in the end freedom, to pursue your own style and intuition.

SvK: Generally you give concerts that are organized by the Bahá'í communities.

I travel about 4 months a year, sometimes more, giving concerts, and teach piano when I'm at home. I began by doing things simply and locally. First adding music to Holy Day celebrations and then giving full programs for fund-raisers and firesides. The responses were very positive. In the rural areas in the United States there are many people who have never heard Classical music performed live. The explanations that I give help to make the music more accessible to first time listeners as well as providing insights for the veteran music lover. For me this is my contribution to social and economic development. I like to think of it as cultural development. It's rewarding to think that so many people have had their first real exposure to classical music through Bahá'í channels. Now in the past several years I've performed in over 25 countries and have encountered a great deal of cultural diversity and diverse approaches within the Bahá'í community. Some communities will look at your experience and what you have to offer and look at what the Bahá'í Writings have to say about the Arts and teaching and will seize the moment, taking full advantage of the situation by inviting presidents, ambassadors and the elite of society. Other communities rely less on faith and more on caution, and it's usually necessary to go twice to such a community, or they're simply inexperienced in utilizing what a Classical musician has to offer, or have never considered reaching people of capacity through Classical music.

SvK: Would you say something about how you are received by critics?

Once after a concert in Scandinavia, where religion is not generally discussed even amongst friends, a newspaper reporter asked me if I saw myself as a pianist or as a missionary. The question threw me, since there was maybe one mention of the Bahá'í Faith in a historical context during the entire concert, and I've never regarded myself as a missionary. I am very careful to not have hidden agendas. Thankfully, another concertgoer commented that it was a lecture about history and culture and that I mentioned my religion in relation to this but there was no proselytizing. To me, this exchange exemplifies how much society has lost touch of an understanding of our own culture along with the myth and metaphor that creates culture. We no longer have respect for the things that teach us what it is to have a dual nature and we've lost a sense of the inter-relatedness of the human family. I want to get people to start thinking in different ways, to start seeing that there is a lot more to the things we take for granted. For example, The Mephisto Waltz by Liszt is associated with the Faust legend, which is really about the duality of being human. When Faust is grappling with the devil, it's his own egotistical desires, and when he tries to seduce the beautiful women it his own soul that he is trying to seduce. You need to understand the metaphors in the story to understand the music and why the composer wrote it. We are so steeped in our materialism that, generally, when people listen to this music they only notice how fast it is played, or how loud. The connection between thematic material and the art piece seems to have been lost in many cases. Liszt himself was very much concerned with the transcendence and transformation of the soul throughout his life. He began his career as a sort of super star and wrote his technically difficult Transcendental Etudes for piano. The pieces entitled Years of Pilgrimage were written during his middle period. His late works were abstract and mystical in nature, such as St. Francis Talking to the Birds. Before he died in 1886 as an old man, he had taken the vows of Holy Orders and lived in a monastery. He also wrote some very visionary experimental pieces that could have been written in the twentieth century by someone like Arnold Schönberg. Debussy was also fond of esoteric knowledge and nearly all of his preludes have titles such as La Porto de Vino, (the gate of wine)-a metaphor for becoming intoxicated with God. Another piece that I played in Maastricht was The Girl with the Flaxen Hair. You could imagine that the piece is about a young blond woman, but then you need to think about what is flax and what is hair. Flax is transformed from the plant into linen; a fine thread to weave into fabric, and fabric is a metaphor for society. Earth is also seen as mother earth and flax grows out of the earth, and so in a sense you could say that linen or flax is the hair of the earth. Linen is often seen as symbolizing civilization, and this analogy is expressed in the music by the regular moving up and down or back and forth across the piano, again and again, in much the way that a shuttle moves back and forth in the process of weaving. So it's possible to see that this piece can mean much more than a description of the hair of a young woman blowing in the breeze. It refers to transformation, civilization and life coming from the earth, and universal womanhood.

SvK: I found some of your connections, such as comparing Liszt and Bahá'u'lláh because they were born at the same time, quite arbitrary. Yet I found some connections such as the discussion of Debussy's, 'The Girl with the Flaxen Hair,' very sound. How do you choose these connections?

Of course the connections I make are my own perceptions and many people will not necessarily see these. The piece by Liszt called The Sigh, (or Un Sospiro) was written about the same time as Bahá'u'lláh's Seven Valleys, in which He speaks of the lover "sighing" for his beloved. The content of the two pieces was similar in that both dealt with the duality of the lover and the beloved, the male and the female, the archetypal quest for transcendence, and the transformation of the lover into gold. So it may seem to be arbitrary on the surface and yet underneath there is more substance to these connections.

SvK: Here it makes sense, but I found the story that you read too long, and I didn't get the point. Perhaps it could have been summarized?

I wanted to use Bahá'u'lláh's words; the Creative word. In the context of my program World Cultures and Western Classical Music, I want to show that story-telling is a means for communicating culture from generation to generation. In some venues people have clapped after hearing the story because they have been so moved by it. When watching the audience, you can actually see a transformation occurring in people's faces. The Words of a Manifestation of God are special, and we should use them with a great sense of humility and in service to humanity.

SvK: I guess knowing when it is good to quote Bahá'u'lláh or not within a piece of creative work is difficult. On the one hand to let people hear Bahá'u'lláh's own words, yet on the other hand, not to lose the point of the exercise by getting lost in the language, nor to sound like prostelyzing. It's a challenge that I have myself.

Prostelyzing is something that really concerns me as an artist with the Bahá'í community and it is just symptomatic of a much larger issue that the community needs to face. Since my concerts are so different than the 'usual' Bahá'í event, people who are attracted to the Bahá'í Faith frequently approach me and express their love for Bahá'u'lláh along with their disappointment in the Bahá'ís. We as Bahá'ís speak about the oneness of humanity and then immediately separate ourselves from it, which is contrary to the teaching of the oneness and interconnectedness of humanity. On the one hand, we say that prostelyzing is strictly forbidden and on the other hand, it seems as if all we are interested in is in gaining new adherents. I've heard it too many times that, "We don't want to be friends with all these people. We just want them to become Bahá'ís." Or when I've been traveling, "We came here to teach the Faith not to go to concerts or museums."

As if to say culture isn't important when wishing to gain the trust of people who may already be suspicious of your intent. We forget that it is the Arts that embody the highest expressions of Beauty (Blessed Beauty is one of the titles that Bahá'u'lláh chose for Himself) and Unity; two basic principles of the Bahá'í Faith. Ironically, Bahá'ís often turn their backs on the very things which are the outward physical expressions of our most basic beliefs and are by far the easiest way to enkindle curiosity amongst a mass of people. In a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, he says, Art can better awaken such noble sentiments than cold rationalizing, especially among a mass of people.

(letter to an individual believer quoted in Bahá'í News, (USA) 1933).

SvK: I wonder if you are referring particularly to Bahá'ís involved in the arts. I do not see a place for my art in Bahá'í activities. I do not see this as a good or bad thing. This is the opposite to being inspired by the Bahá'í teachings, which for me are outward looking and can be as broad as the imagination. I think this idea of feeling split up is part of how Western society is structured. You have the work place, and the private domain and the two are not expected to influence each other, which is of course not true.

Well, I don’t have much connection with the professional music world because most classical musicians think that you shouldn’t talk during a concert, and then the next thing they say is, ‘why do you mix up sociology or spiritual ideas with music because music is music and should be on its own.’ So I don’t have any support in the music world and then in the Bahá’í community you don’t find very many people who have an understanding for music or classical music. I’ve found that popular music or folk or jazz are the more accepted styles for Bahá’í activities, which is fine but the Bahá’ís that I know who are classical musicians also feel on the fringes of things. I don’t look to either the Bahá’í community or to the wider artistic community for inspiration. I look to Bahá’u’lláh, the Bahá’í Writings, and guidance from the Universal House of Justice and pray to the Concourse.

Perhaps here I can also talk about how I put my programmes together. The themes come intuitively from meditation, then I start thinking about repertoire, what I may already know and which pieces may be essential to learn to represent to the various spiritual or social themes that are within the context of a whole program. I let people know when and in which countries I’m available and then it goes from there. This time I landed in Denmark because I have friends there and I knew that I could have a chance to recover from jet-lag and the exhaustion of preparing to leave home for 7 weeks. The Danish Bahá’í community worked together with the Swedish Bahá’í community to fill my time until the Landegg Music Forum in Switzerland which was at a set time. After this I toured Switzerland for a week with an American cellist, Gwendolyn Marie Watson. From there I ended up in Luxembourg and Holland. In each country an individual or a committee made the specific arrangements. It’s essential to be flexible, and on the other hand it is important to be professional.

SvK: I see that it is more an issue of education. People in general just won’t know what the needs of a classical musician are?

I’ve learned that I must have a ‘list of requests’. Some communities are shocked to find out that I need to practice everyday and that it is best for me to rehearse on the piano in the hall that I will perform in and that the piano should be tuned the day of the concert. It’s also necessary to pace sleeping and eating during the day of the concert; the performer has to peak at 8:00 or 9:00 in the evening just when everyone else is getting ready to shut down. Then there is the problem of adrenaline after the concert and not being able to fall asleep until 2:00 or 3:00 a.m., and sometimes you need to sleep until noon. There are also some communities that expect you to do this every day of the week while you are in their country, as well as traveling several hours each day. When that happens, you begin to feel your health slipping away, along with artistic integrity and what should be joy in teaching the Faith through music becomes a test that can remain with you for several months until good health has been restored. But with rest, you put things into perspective, and see the good things that occur for the Bahá’í community and for yourself, and use consultation to express your own needs, and try to avoid the pitfalls of the last experience.

SvK: How do you manage financially while touring?

Frequently in the past, it has been difficult to even get basic transport covered let alone lost income or a professional fee. I’ve come to think of this as an issue of justice or more appropriately injustice. There are real expenses involved for a musician or an artist to serve the Bahá’í Faith. It is not in the spirit of the Bahá’í Faith for someone or some institution to decide for you what your contributions are going to be. It’s simply not honest to expect the performer to in effect subsidize community events by absorbing the greatest portion of the expenses, which should be shared by the community. If the performer is properly reimbursed, he or she is in a position to contribute something back to the community if it seems appropriate. It’s a question of maintaining the dignity of the Faith and giving due respect to the artists, as Bahá’u’lláh stated, ‘It hath been revealed and is now repeated that the true worth of artists and craftsmen should be appreciated, for they advance the affairs of mankind.’ (From a Tablet translated from the Persian)

The best situations that I’ve been in are when members of National Spiritual Assemblies recognize the teaching benefits of my concerts or see the value of the arts in presenting the Bahá’í Faith to leaders or people in prominent positions. And when they say, ‘Yes, you’re teaching the Faith but you’re also giving a concert and you need to be paid for this, and this is what our national fund is for. To sponsor events like this.’ So sometimes I get some payment above my travel costs. It’s a question of unity. Unity of the artist’s needs and the community’s, including a unity of a spirit of sacrifice. It’s interesting that the communities where I’m given the most professional respect are also where the teaching is most successful.

It’s also important to say that I don’t expect the Bahá’í Community to subsidize my life either, but just as Social and Economic Development projects use non-Bahá’í money, I think it should be possible to find non-Bahá’í money for Cultural Development as well, either through ticket sales, corporate grants, individual guarantors or co-sponsorships. We must creatively find ways to have some professional integrity as a community in how we treat artists. This in itself is a sign to others of our maturity and our authenticity as the basis of a new world civilization and culture.

SvK: Do you generally inform communities how much it would cost for you to come?

Yes, now I do but it’s really difficult, because every community is different. My minimum is to have somewhere to sleep, meals, and my travel paid and that has only been a problem a few times. I’ve only had to sleep in an airport once! I don’t want to place a demand on a community, but rather to rely on the maturity of the community to be sensitive to what my needs are.

SvK: However you are not only providing a teaching opportunity but also a concert! I guess one reason I am careful about offering my artistic services to the Bahá’í is because in offering something free and in the artistic area, I don’t have the confidence that it would be appreciated.

Roger White said that artists must become the centre of Bahá’í community life and that they should be valued because Bahá’u’lláh said so. It’s simple, to value the artist is being faithful to the Covenant. We pay lawyers when an Assembly is to be incorporated, or an architect for a plan. Artists aren’t valued in the Bahá’í community because art isn’t valued in society in general. This must change.

SvK: When do you decide to go on tour?

Sometimes I’m invited, and sometimes I decide to go somewhere. In 1993 a National Assembly invited me to the Caribbean for some proclamation events giving workshops and concerts for prominent people. They were so happy with the results that they then invited and paid for me to return some months later to do a tour of the whole Caribbean region. I gave my time for 6 weeks and they arranged professional concerts for me so that I was paid, although in terms of money it was the same as if I had stayed at home. What was remarkable was that although the Bahá’í community there is poor, they were able to connect with the resources and professionals. So money was found.

SvK: Tell me something about the 1993 Music Forum at Landegg.

There were about 50 people there, mostly musicians, with a number of music educators, school teachers, music lovers and people who were just curious. This time there were a greater number of composers. Lasse Thoreson (Norway) was there and contributed a very high level of professionalism. Gwendolyn Watson is a wonderful improvisational artist on cello who studied composition with two internationally recognized composers, Darious Milhaud and Luciano Berio. She studied cello with Pablo Cassals for one summer in Puerto Rico, and also played cello for the Martha Graham Dance Company, as well as with José Limon and The Paul Taylor Dance company in New York. She has taught at The Juilliard School, at Stanford and the San Francisco Conservatory.

We met at the 1992 World Congress in New York, and because of our performance there, we were both invited to the Music Forum. She transformed the Forum because of her improvisational spirit. She sees improvisation as a way of life and as something that Bahá’ís should get used to because everything is in constant motion. At the forum she improvised with some of the most highly trained jazz musicians, even though she’s not a jazz player. She has such a good ear and responded so well that these musicians had a hard time keeping up with her. She also did improvisation with singers and other pianists and someone playing classical Persian violin. She was the bridge that brought the very strict classical performers together with the jazz, pop and folk musicians. Everyone’s defenses broke down and because of her, we really began to appreciate our diversity and saw how we could not only learn from each other but also work together. There was a formal public concert in the city of Rorschach and also at Landegg along with many informal jam sessions and even a midnight classical piano concert by Walter Delahunt from Vienna.

Excerpts from the Bahá’í Association for the Arts Newsletter, June /July 1994.

2003: Recent activities include co-founding the Jordan Institute to put into practice the idea of applying social and economic development models to ‘Cultural Development’ by producing programmes that celebrate unity in diversity and foster inspirational learning through the arts. Artistic activities include developing a programme on Islamic Contributions to Western Music, 1st performed in Kuwait in 1999 for U.N. Week.

You can contact Mark Ochu at: 801 Fourth Avenue South, St. Cloud, Minnesota 56301 U.S.A.
tel: 320-252-8683   fax: 320-252-8683   Email:

Arts Dialogue, Dintel 20, NL 7333 MC, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands