A friend of mine recently sent me a video from ted.com about a brain surgeon (or neuro-anatomist, I believe she is called) who suffered a severe stroke and lived to tell about it, in an immensely inspiring, uplifting 18-minute presentation. TED is a fascinating site that can cause one to lose more time than perhaps they can afford to, but you feel ok about it, because it’s profoundly informative and fascinating!
So I was busy losing a bit of time, browsing the site and sampling bits of quantum physics here and world hunger there, etc, and up popped a name of a good friend of mine, who also happens to be a composer and inventor and overall boy-wonder-genius: Tod Machover. (I had the enormous privilege – and challenge! – of creating the deeply satisfying role of “Katerina Maslova” in his opera Resurrection a “few” years back in Houston.)
Anyway, I obviously had to click on the video, and I expected to simply find more whacky inventions and crazy ideas for bringing music to the masses which he has done with incredible projects across the globe – but instead, I was stopped dead in my tracks with tears streaming down my smiling face. It’s a 20-minute presentation in which he chronicles some of his pioneering ideas and future projects, building to the crescendo of meeting Dan Ellsey, a man with cerebral palsy, who he and some of his students at MIT have engineered a device for DAN, who is essentially immobile, allowing him to conduct his own composition, enabling him to MAKE MUSIC. I don’t know that I’ve ever witnessed a greater example of why music is essential in our world. It’s 20 minutes – I invite you to grab a cup of coffee and maybe a kleenex, and CLICK HERE.