Soka Performing Arts Center Presents Music As A Healing Balm: A Conversation With Andrew Janss, Executive Director Of Project Music Heals Us

April 06, 2021
Andrew Janss holding cello

(Aliso Viejo, CA, April 6, 2021) – Soka Performing Arts Center is pleased to present its first event in the Manager’s Choice Series, a series designed and directed by General Manager Renee Bodie to introduce or expand upon musicians, acousticians and others who are involved in projects that take place outside the traditional performance space. On Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 7:30 (PDT), Renee Bodie speaks with Andrew Janss, founding cellist for the acclaimed Escher Quartet, current cellist for Break of Reality, about Project: Music Heals Us, the non-profit organization he co-founded and serves as Executive Director. The organization, since its founding in 2014, has presented over 1,000 free concerts and educational programs in hospitals, correctional facilities, shelters and refugee centers. The discussion will also delve into the Vital Sounds Initiative, the organization’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, how world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma became involved, and the profound impact the music has on the people hearing it and the musicians performing the concerts.

“I can personally testify that when we’re looking for meaning and purpose at a time when many of the usual avenues of expression are not open for us to explore […] this is actually one of the best things one can do as a musician during this crucial time when people need you.” — YO-YO MA

Janss will also discuss the upcoming Yamaha documentary film highlighting Project: Music Heals Us and the importance and ability of music to bring people together and provide healing for those in need.  

A question and answer session will follow the interview. 

The event is FREE but Registration is required on Zoom at https://bit.ly/3umhadV       

About Andrew Janss
Hailed by the New York Times for his “muscularity and shimmering lyricism”, “insightful musicianship”, and “sumptuous elegance”, cellist and non-profit leader Andrew Janss’ performances have been enjoyed across five continents in venues including Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, The Sydney Opera House, and the Louvre.

Mr. Janss is the Executive Director of Project: Music Heals Us, a non-profit organization that aims to democratize access to the healing potential of compassionate human connection through live arts performance, creation, and learning. Since its founding in 2014, PMHU has presented over 1,000 free concerts and interactive programs in hospitals, shelters, refugee aid centers, and prisons across the United States and abroad.

As a professional cellist, Mr. Janss has collaborated in concert with a long list of iconic classical artists, including Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Lynn Harrell, Leon Fleisher, Richard Goode, as well as chart-topping performers such as Bruce Springsteen, Lana Del Rey, Mary J. Blige, Estelle, Florence + the Machine, Erykah Badu, Kurt Elling, and The Roots. The performance of his arrangement of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon for singer and string quartet at MacArthur Park in Los Angeles was attended by over 5,000 people, to rave reviews.

Janss was the founding cellist of both the Solera Quartet, winners of the 2017 Pro Musicis International award and Chamber Music America Guarneri String Quartet-in residence; as well as the Escher Quartet, seeing that group through their initial residency at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center as part of Chamber Music Society Two from 2007-10.

He has served as Guest Principal Cellist of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and tours extensively with the Mark Morris Dance Group. Highlight performances with the company have included premieres of new choreography in Boston, Chicago, New York, Seattle, Miami, New Orleans, and internationally in China, Italy, and Australia. He was a cellist at the Marlboro Music Festival from 2010-12.

Andrew also tours and records for the groundbreaking cello rock band Break of Reality both in the United States and as cultural ambassadors for the US Department of State. Recent tours through American Music Abroad have taken the band to Eastern and Central Asia, Haiti, and Brazil, collaborating with local musicians and composers in each country they visit.

About Project: Music Heals Us
Now in its seventh season, Project: Music Heals Us aims to democratize access to the healing potential of compassionate human connection through live arts performance, creation, and learning. Since its founding in 2014, PMHU has presented over 1,000 free concerts and educational programs in hospitals, correctional facilities, shelters and refugee centers. In the midst of COVID-19, PMHU launched the Vital Sounds Initiative, providing over $100,000 in musician support to artists, arts organizations and ensembles around the country to provide live, one-on-one, digital bedside concerts to isolated hospital patients across the country. The Initiative addresses two concurrent sources of desperation affecting two seemingly unrelated groups: Isolated COVID patients and their care-givers, and performing artists who have had their livelihoods threatened by the shutdown of live arts programming.

Music as a Healing Balm: A Conversation With Andrew Janss, Executive Director Of Project: Music Heals Us
Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 7:30PM
FREE Virtual Event
Event URL: https://bit.ly/3cVuMac
Zoom Registration: https://bit.ly/3umhadV             

About Soka Performing Arts Center
Soka Performing Arts Center, now is in its ninth season of presenting the best of live performances on its extraordinary stage, is located on the campus of Soka University of America in Aliso Viejo, California. The 1,000-seat concert hall features world-class acoustics designed by Yasuhisa Toyota, acoustic designer of noted performance venues like Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and Suntory Hall in Tokyo. Designed to truly reflect the university’s commitment to sustainability, the concert hall and adjacent Maathai Hall (featuring a black box theatre and dance studio) have been built to Gold LEED standards and feature vegetated green roofs. Photo voltaic cells on the Soka Performing Arts Center roof generate approximately 15% of the facility’s electrical needs.   

About Soka University of America
Soka University of America is a private, four-year liberal arts college and graduate school in Aliso Viejo, CA. Soka University offers an 8:1 student/faculty ratio and study abroad for every undergraduate student. Founded upon the Buddhist principles of peace, human rights and the sanctity of life, SUA is open to top students of all nationalities and beliefs. About 55% of Soka University’s students come from the US and 45% have come from more than 60 other countries. Admitted students whose annual family income is $60,000 or less may be eligible for full tuition Soka Opportunity Grants. Additional grant opportunities are available for higher income levels.     

                      

# # #

 

MEDIA CONTACT
Jennifer Urbano
949.480.4014
jurbano@soka.edu