Pianist to present seminar on musical tour of the Middle East

PULLMAN — Jody Graves will present a guest seminar about her tour of the Middle East on Wednesday, Nov. 12, at 7:30 p.m. in Kimbrough room 101 at WSU. The seminar is sponsored by WSU School of Music’s Pullman Chapter of the Music Teachers National Association.

Graves, associate professor of piano at Eastern Washington University, served as a cultural ambassador to the United States in the Persian Gulf in May of 2006. As an ambassador, Graves, along with her two colleagues of the Sapphire Trio, toured the Middle East. The tour included concerts, master classes and local events in Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and was listed as the No. 1 cultural exchange for 2006 by the U.S. State Department.

Graves’ session, titled “An American Pianist in the Middle East”, will include a lecture, multi-media and music presentation highlighting this tour.

The ambassadors and embassy staff from each country she visited wrote detailed accounts of her tour in reports to the U.S. State Department.  “The impact of this kind of cultural program cannot be overstated,” one of the writers said. “Since September 11, 2001 and the onset of the Global War on Terrorism, cultural programs have steadily declined in the Middle East.  Now is the time to bring cultural programs back in earnest, to remind the region that America’s strength is not just its military and political muscle, but the creativity, free-expression, and leadership qualities of its society.”

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