Portion of an image by Anna Hepler from her show at the Portland Museum of Art this summer

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This unexpected report from the New York Times: Jane Moss, vice president for programming at Lincoln Center, talks about her ideas behind the 3 week long White Light Festival, an event that is explicitly based on a primary theme of spirituality: “Many if not all of the answers to one’s own life actually lie inside ourselves. I believe deeply in having access to, and spending time with, one’s interior life.”

From Steve Smith’s article:

Insisting that she is no Luddite, Ms. Moss singled out the omnipresent siren call of cellphones, BlackBerries and similar electronic gadgets as a possible barrier to inner contemplation and artistic communion. “If you’ve got 423 e-mails to answer or you’ve got 12 texts coming in, there is enormous seduction in that,” she said. “You’re being productive. You’re busy. You’re important.”

Breaking with that incessant barrage, Ms. Moss suggested, is an increasingly urgent objective for many harried professionals, herself included. That she conceived of this festival during a yoga class sounds too good to be true, but is.

“It was in those classes that I just had this moment,” Ms. Moss said, “and it sounds really ridiculous, but it was this moment of thinking, ‘Beethoven can do this for you too,’ and that we were somehow not articulating the ultimate power of what music is.” Conceiving a festival meant to illustrate and support that idea required a shift in curatorial philosophy…

Uniting it all is Ms. Moss’s fervent belief that beyond aesthetic concerns, music has a distinct capacity for offering transcendence.

“To me the ultimate success, I suppose, would be that you, the listener, fall in love the way I do every day of my life,” she said. “If I were able to give that to people — that, ‘Oh my God, this music makes me feel whole,’ for maybe only two hours — that would feel good to be able to do that.”

Jane Moss’ credo from the White Light Festival website:

The White Light Festival is our new annual fall festival focused on music’s transcendent capacity to illuminate our larger interior universe. In this inaugural season, we explore the spiritual dimension of music as manifested in different cultural and musical traditions, from masterpieces of the Western classical canon to Muslim and Hindu musical linkages in northern India and the mystical minimalism of the Baltic region.

We invite you to extend your White Light experience through a variety of free events, including discussions with the participating artists, in-depth explorations of festival themes, and informal post-performance parties. We hope these musical encounters will enable you, if only for the course of an evening, to experience moments of connection and wholeness in an increasingly frenetic and fragmented world.

The Festival will run from October 28 through November 18.

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