Welcome by Mr Lluĺs Maria de Puig to Maestro KURT MASUR
It is a real pleasure for me to welcome here today a great artist and a major representative of European culture. Particularly of music, possibly the most universal of all forms of art.
During the course of your long career, you have not only performed in the most prestigious theatres, with the best symphonic orchestras, allowing audiences all over the world to enjoy the heritage of Europe's classical music.
You have also invested much time and energy in teaching, thus transmitting to younger generations the ability to renew that magical rite that is music performing.
You received high state honours in Germany, Poland and France, and many more distinctions. Those honours were also a recognition of your efforts for humanity and international co-operation.
The Parliamentary Assembly is today debating a report on the promotion of cultural education, as a means of improving our lives and develop our societies:
There was a time when some believed that art was superfluous, a luxury, nothing more than an ornament to the life of a lucky few. We are now aware that, on the contrary, education in arts and culture is essential to the development and the harmony of our community. It increases creativity, innovation, humanism. Music, in particular, is a key element for cultural education, not only as a subject of learning but also a means of teaching other disciplines.
If our aim is to create a society based on understanding, respect and tolerance, then we need culture, art, music. In other words, Maestro Masur, we need people like you.
You have the floor.