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Did you know that several musicians have spoken and performed at Concordia Summits? Over the years, we’ve invited artists from across the world to share their music and vision for the future. Though our convenings are nonpartisan, there is still much that divides us, and performances from these musicians have bridged those gaps, reminding us that we do indeed have common ground.

At the 2017 Annual Summit, world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma spoke on the relationship between art, science, and technology, discussing how they “can provide a different kind of solution to the world’s intractable problems.” During the session, he played a piece that tied into the panel’s discussion of questions and answers. His performance generated cheers and tangible engagement from a rapt audience.

Also at the 2017 Annual Summit, Colombian pop singer-songwriter Carlos Vives shared the origin of his foundation, Tras la Perla, emphasizing the need to re-establish cooperation and harmony with native people in his hometown. He then performed “Robarte un Beso” and “La Bicicleta,” bringing the audience to their feet and closing the two-day convening with a lively, energized crowd. You can view his remarks and performance here starting at 8:28:50.

Most recently, at the Lexington Summit in April 2022, Grammy-winning R&B legends The Temptations gave a special live performance at the Lexington Opera House to close out day one of this inaugural event. The concert honored the spirit and culture of the American Heartland, and during the event, founding member Otis Williams shared thoughts on the group’s heritage in Heartland America, underscoring its place in music’s history and culture.

The diversity of music that has graced our stage is remarkable and represents our organization’s commitment to cultural diplomacy. In fact, cultural diplomacy has been one of our primary programming themes at the last few convenings and Concordia is dedicated to fostering collaborative, open-minded, global attitudes. 

“Not only do these performances from Yo-Yo Ma, Carlos Vives, and The Temptations reflect Concordia’s global presence,” says Concordia’s CEO and Co-Founder, Matthew Swift, “they keep us hopeful, reinvigorating aspirations for a brighter future.” 

These artists―their ideas, conversations, and performances―embody the essence of cultural diplomacy, and we’ve been honored to welcome them. In these polarized times, music brings us together. Discovering shared values through music is a simple, powerful way of connecting communities around the world. 

To learn more about Concordia’s programming, email programming@concordia.net