Dear friends,

It is very much possible that Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States. A result that has caused many of my dearest loved ones a sense of panic and distress to levels that I have never seen before. Many of us are witnessing an immediate and glaring signal that we, as People of Color, as LGBT+ people, as artists, are not welcome in this unforgiving world of hate. I myself feel numb, having suffered a panic attack for a few hours, I suddenly stopped and felt my own soul shield up, my brain knows it’s survival time.

I’m sure many people understand this feeling, and it will spread as fear engulfs the planet. But we must stay strong. We must stick together, and be so brave as to love one another in ways radically tighter than before. I do believe that as artists we can create works that can channel the negative energy of our world and use it to create good, but that will require courage. Now that we are essentially abandoned by our government, it is up to us to reshape our own communities, and it must be as inclusive and welcoming as possible, always with the radical intent of destroying racism. We must unite to provide people of all sexual orientations, all genders, all ethnicities and all classes a safe space. We as artists can do that.

We must stop avoiding politics in our music, as if what happens in the world does not affect our art. That’s not true, stop bragging about not being political, because that hurts me as an artist whose life is political. Art cannot create social change in itself, but it can channel our frustrations and our passions and find a common ground in humanity that one can’t find through conversation.

I have been frustrated with new art in America. The best of it has been coming from People of Color, yet the classical world is so elitist, it now stings with the same hatred that elected Donald Trump. White composers have done next to nothing for composers of color, it is still Christian dominated, women in the industry are growing but barely. Meanwhile, there are still many people reluctant to write art relevant to the now infinite anxiety of our world. The disenfranchised needs more artists, and we need art that can reconnect us all as people.

Now, who wants to join me in dedicating their work towards bettering humanity? As artists, we have that power, why not use it?

With love,

Nebal Maysaud

I want to apologize for not keeping people in the loop as often as I would like. I’ve thought many times about updating my blog but I had a difficult time figuring out what I want to write about. There are cultural differences here which are strong, there’s my internship at the refugee house, my many many complaints on German grammar, and a new work has been completed! So I will try to give a brief summary of what happened these four weeks and what I learned in that time.

First off…

Berlin and Paris

A few weeks ago, I traveled to Berlin and Paris, for a week. I had family in Paris and I convinced my cousin to meet me in Berlin. It was a fabulous time with lots of food and music. The first day we arrived in the afternoon and took a walk around the city. We walked around the Brandenburg gate, got some ice-cream and took a stroll through an outdoor art sale.

Then I got to scratch off something off of my life’s goal’s list. We saw the Berlin Philharmonic perform Debussy’s Prélude à l’Après-midi d’un Faune, Arcana by Varese, and Symphonie Fantastique by our favorite Hector Berlioz. The Debussy I thought was pretty good, it wasn’t the best interpretation ever and was a bit quieter than I expected so it didn’t blow me out of the water. The Varese, by contrast, requires an orchestra so huge that it can only blow you away. I loved it but it was also very clear that this is not the orchestra’s specialty. They then proved that point with the most stunning performance I’ve heard in my life. I’m not kidding, I was in tears after about four notes into the Berlioz.

After that, I went to a few museums, and I was really impressed by Berlin’s ability to take stuff from the Middle East and put it on display. Their collections of architecture from Babylon and Mesopotamia were absolutely stunning.

And Paris was, even more, fun. Mostly because I got to celebrate Eid al-Adha with my family and they were eager to show off what the city had to offer. We went up to the Eiffel tower and saw the whole city from there! Then we took a walk through the Champs-Élysées and got back to my Aunt cooking way too much food for me. I also saw La Cathedrale de Notre Dame, the Louvre (that took an entire day), and La Palais de Versailles! The garden was gorgeous, I spent the whole afternoon just wandering through it and I only got through the very beginning!

So after this, many people have asked me about the treacherous task of creating…

Relationships with other students

After orientation, I was able to get away from the scary men and actually befriend a few of the students. I’m very much the type of person that has only a few close friends and otherwise prefer isolation. This term has been very different for me in that my relationships with people are not determined by membership in some sort of group or clique, but rather through a number of individual relationships. This has the major advantage that dangerous people cannot enter a group space and make it unsafe for everyone. Which is better than I can say for Lawrence, where abusers continually invite themselves in group spaces I’m in and force me to leave. Here safe spaces for me are not officially formed but instead arise from these individual connections I have made with POC in the city, people at my internship, and connections with people at home, who I am grateful for. This is all a longwinded way of saying that I have made friends here without compromising my safety, people that know me personally knows I’m healing from a number of abusive situations at Lawrence, and I’m proud of myself for that and grateful for those that are helping me.

On my next post, I’ll talk about my trip to Salzburg, Halstatt, and Graz, as well as what I learned in regards to healing and how issues from home will still follow you abroad. Those will be coming very soon because I’m quickly learning how to submit things on time!

Bis Spater!