World AIDS Day 2013: A Conversation with Producer Ross Jutsum, D.M.A.

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September 30 2013

Ross JutsumOn Saturday, November 30, 2013, AIDS Research Alliance will celebrate World AIDS Day by hosting a free commemorative concert at The Colburn School. This will be the second edition of ARA’s World AIDS Day Concert, but the first time that conductor and musical producer Dr. Jutsum will produce the program.

Ross Jutsum, Doctor of Musical Arts, has over 35 years of experience in researching, performing, and teaching music. He is an accomplished pianist, composer, and conductor. After more than 20 years in higher education, Ross founded “State of the Heart.” For the past 15 years Ross has presented concerts in over 500 cities in the U.S., Canada, Caribbean, Western Europe, South Africa, and Australia. He is also a music consultant to Martha Williamson, best known as executive producer of the series “Touched By An Angel.”

Here, Ross Jutsum, speaks with us about what motivated him to get involved with ARA’s World AIDS Day Concert, and what he envisions for the evening at The Colburn School.

Why is it important that we continue to honor World AIDS Day, more than 30 years after the first AIDS cases were identified?

This is World AIDS Day. It serves as a reminder that there are places in the world (and some here in the United States) where people don’t have access to treatment. It is important that we have a day, honored around the world, where the challenges we have faced, as well as our accomplishments, are recorded.

Why a concert? What role does music play in World AIDS Day?

Music is often referred to as the “universal language.” Spoken language can present barriers, which are circumnavigated by music. Similarly, people say a picture is worth a thousand words; I think a musical composition can be worth 10,000 words. It can touch hearts and minds in different ways. My task as the musical producer is to develop a program to follow up on last year’s very successful program, and emphasize the global scope even more.

What inspired you to work with AIDS Research Alliance on World AIDS Day 2013 at The Colburn School?

I came to this project through my longtime friendship with ARA’s CEO Carolyn Carlburg. We met when working on producing the Pasadena Centennial Celebration in 1986 – 27 years ago!

What are your hopes for this concert?

My hope is that those who participate will be uplifted and encouraged by some wonderful music performed by students of The Colburn School, working with Laura Liepins, The Colburn School’s Director of Artistic Administration.

The program will be eclectic. We have plans for a jazz trio or quartet, a percussion ensemble, and a rendition of Rachmaninoff’s Vespers. The program should be poignant and introspective. I hope that each person who attends will leave with a sense of remembrance and reflection, and a sense of being uplifted and comforted by the beauty of music.

Get more information about our World AIDS Day Concert 2013.

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