Symphonic Suite For Healing
March 1, 2014
In ancient times the physician and musician were one and the same. Music as an emanation — a healing elixir — transcended science and art and extended into the ethereal realm. Yet as the prescriptive healing melodies of times past progressively faded through successive generations, the essence of true musical spirit and purpose became deeply buried deeply beyond our recollection, awareness and comprehension.
Such however was not the case last evening. Mike Garson's debut of his Symphonic Suite For Healing at the Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, California resonated with the most ancient connections that remain within each of us. Fostering an awakening on both conscious and subconscious levels, Garson’s gentle improvisations blended exquisitely with spirited orchestrations enabled us to feel the essence of that which had been so deeply buried, yet hard-wired within our DNA for ages.
Garson's profound emanations flowed through the fingers, hands, angelic voices and souls of a spell-binding orchestra synchronized perfectly with the composer's intentions — a soul-felt alignment — a resoundingly powerful and effective healing elixir. Last evening was a time of awakening... and for remembering that which could not be erased by the winds of time.
From a personal perspective, Garson's symphony does not lend itself to simple analysis. Rather it lulled us into a deep state of feeling the way each of us — audience and musicians — needed to feel. Beyond brilliant, his poignant heart-felt compositions and intricately crafted arrangements guided us to a distant ethereal place deep within where every note revealed an element of that which had to be rediscovered on a personal level.
Not a dry eye remained in the hall when a Parkinsonian patient of Neurosurgeon Dr. Christopher Duma, the concert’s producer, awkwardly pushed her walker on stage, and in her husband's arms, suddenly underwent a remarkable metamorphosis as she danced El Tango de Curacion composed by Mike at her request. With the ageless grace and fluidity of generations past, she and her husband of 50 years allowed us to witness firsthand the healing power of music.
Behind stage, a collective sense of awe, respect and deep admiration for the composer inspired and unified performers and the support staff with a keen yet unstrained focus and confidence that gave birth to what we collectively knew had to be shared. A trusting sense of presence was remarkably expressed in every movement and cadenza as some of the finest musicians in the world, hand picked by Garson, seemed to simply allow the music to flow through them at the deepest level. For through such trust, each member of the orchestra and children's choir emerged as a better person.
And with every standing ovation, an inseparable sense of accolades for the performers and celebration for what we were personally experiencing and feeling seemed to be expressed more as a release than as applause. For amidst the trials and tribulations that tend to weigh upon us and govern our busy lives, the Healing Symphony was far more that a reprieve.... it was in the truest sense a timeless heart-felt expression of healing which by definition is “simply putting back into one's life what is missing.”
While the Healing Symphony is a living evolving testimony to Garson's genius as both unparalleled composer and virtuoso pianist, the true wisdom of this vessel transcends his greatest compositions. What nurtures his soul is selflessly inspiring others, especially young people. During one movement, his grandson, Max actually played the congas alongside his beaming grandpa.
And for those of you who are wondering about the man behind the scenes, Garson walks the talk. I was in awe observing him giving every member of the children's choral group a high five as they marched onto stage. He personally thanked each of them for sharing their gifts.
And in the context of sharing, The Healing Symphony is an extraordinarily brilliant gift through which Garson, with the mind of a genius and the heart of a master enables healing to begin one note at a time.
Article and photos by Barry Bittman, MD
Please note: all photos were taken at dress rehearsals.
Copyright 2014 Yamaha Music and Wellness Institute - all rights reserved.