Russian, US Jazz Legends Honored With Global Peacemaker Awards At Event In Washington

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – 02nd November, 2018) Russian saxophone virtuoso Igor Butman and US nine-time Grammy winner Wynton Marsalis were honored with Global Peacemaker Awards by The Sustained Dialogue Institute (SDI) at an event in Washington.

In addition to the SDI, Thursday’s event was organized with the support of Susan Carmel, the chairperson of the American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation.

“We are encouraged to have such a like-minded partner as the Sustained Dialogue Institute, the very title of which speaks against mutual isolation in case of disagreements and promotes the idea of ‘all-weather’ dialogue even on the most contentious issues,” Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said in his speech at the event.

The ambassador noted that Marsalis last year was awarded with the Order of Friendship, by decree of Russian President Vladimir Putin, for his contribution to promoting cultural ties between Moscow and Washington. Antonov also said that Butman is one of the most prominent representatives of “cultural diplomacy.”

“Last year during the Saint Petersburg International Cultural Forum he successfully launched ‘Jazz Across Borders,’ the first jazz conference in the history of Russia. It was attended by over a thousand participants from 32 countries,” Antonov said. “This month Saint Petersburg will host the second conference. I am confident that its status will keep growing, and Russian jazz will become all the more popular both at home and abroad.”

The ambassador went on to say that Butman is deeply involved in developing the Russian jazz school and last year became head of the State College of Brass Instruments in Moscow, which will soon become a full-scale Academy of Jazz Music.

Carmel, in her remarks, said the event celebrates the power of international dialogue and cultural diplomacy by showcasing two outstanding humanitarians and world-renown legends of jazz.

“Honorees and beloved musicians Wynton Marsalis and Igor Butman embody the principles and values behind the Sustained Dialogue Institute’s prestigious award, and I applaud their work separately and cooperatively towards greater cultural understanding, dialogue and mutual respect,” Carmel said.

Butman, at the same event, said it was hard to say why he and Marsalis get these awards but speculated that it might be because they make something happen between the United States and Russia. Butman also said he has constant dialogue with Marsalis, who sends his students to the Russian “Future of Jazz,” festival, which gathers students from various countries such as China, England, Japan, Italy and France.

“We love and respect each other and have many of the same music idols,” Butman said. “By the way, some of Wynton’s idols are Russian – like Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and Rimsky-Korsakov. I also have a lot of US idols – including Marsalis himself.”

Marsalis, for his part, expressed his gratitude for the honor then explained to the audience why it meant so much to him.

“This award is even more special to me because of the presence of my brother in swing – who has travelled many kilometers to join us here tonight – Igor Butman,” Marsalis said.

The US jazz artist stressed that music can nurture common ground and bring people together in harmony.

“Jazz is the sound of freedom, born of the quest for harmonious dialogue through the resolution of conflicting perspectives – under the pressure of time,” Marsalis said. “That’s what Igor and I are truly about in our respective countries and when we come together. The human soul knows no nationality.”

The Sustained Dialogue Institute is an international organization focused on creating a world where people coexist peacefully and overcome conflicts through dialogue. The institute is currently working on three continents and has chapters in 50 college campuses.

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