Imagine Spring Residency: The Intertwined Relationship between Music and Politics

Wadad Sabbagh Khoury Student Center, Hall 201, Beirut campus

The Imagine Workshop and Concert Series (IWCS) is organizing a lecture by American performing violist and educator Chris Jenkins on The Intertwined Relationship between Music and Politics, as part of its Spring 2020 Residency: From Far Away. 

The talk is free and open to the public.


Music is often seen as an important tool to build bridges, foster relationships, and connect across divides. The emotional and social communication skills developed through chamber music are essential personal qualities. Music has also been used as a political tool by totalitarian regimes to enforce solidarity and to divide groups, and even as a weapon of torture. Are there limits on music’s ability to bridge political divides? Through what physiological mechanisms does music enhance social connection and even create friendships? A chamber music masterclass follows this discussion of music’s role in creating connections.


Chris Jenkins is associate dean for academic support at the Oberlin College and Conservatory in the United States. Jenkins is a performing violist, educator, and administrator with an interest in the theory and practice of human rights, especially as they relate to equal access to music performance and education. He was deputy director and professor of viola and violin at the Barenboim-Said Foundation in Ramallah, West Bank, from 2013-14, and served as dean of the Sphinx Performance Academy (SPA), the Sphinx Organization’s summer music program for minority youth, for seven years. Jenkins was the founding violist of SPA’s resident chamber ensemble, the Catalyst Quartet. In 2010, he was honored by Sphinx with the Sanford Allen Award in recognition of his professional achievements as dean.

As a performer, Jenkins has played with the New York Philharmonic and St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, toured with Diana Ross, and played on Broadway shows such as The Lion King and Les Miserables.

About Imagine Workshop and Concert Series:

IWCS is a series of concerts, workshops, lectures, panel discussions, exhibitions, outreach and education programs. IWCS strives to contribute to the cultural richness of our community by promoting top quality performances to a diverse local audience; welcoming internationally acclaimed guest artists to collaborate with LAU’s faculty, students and a diverse community; cultivating young artists and new audiences through traditional and innovative educational outreach initiatives, and introducing underprivileged communities to the power of arts.

Full program here

For more info contact Assistant Professor of Music Seba Ali:

For more info about IWCS visit the Facebook page.