On the radio yesterday I heard an interesting story. Sir Gilbert Levine, Music Director of the Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra, spoke about his seventeen year friendship with Pope John Paul II. Sir Gilbert related how his relationship to the Pontiff deepened his own Jewish faith and gave him a greater understanding of the Polish people. It was an emotional interview and Levine's eloquence did much to intrigue me. Regardless of one's faith, it is undeniable that Pope John Paul II was an iconic figure of tremendous influence in the 20th century. Levine also spoke about the book he had written which came out in 2010 called The Pope's Maestro. It is a beautiful story of the interaction of two men of faith who came together through the common bond of music. Make sure to watch the enclosed DVD that comes with the book. It contains a broadcast recording of a concert at Saint Mary's Basilica in Krakow called, "A Thousand Years of Music and Spirit".
To commemorate the first anniversary of the Pope's beatification, Sir Gilbert Levine organized a special concert in Orchestra Hall scheduled for April 23. Levine said that Chicago was the obvious choice for this concert's location, because the Pope had always loved this city so much. This Chicago Sun-Times article tells more about the concert. For tickets, call Symphony Center Box Office at 312-294-3000 or log onto www.cso.org.