From Los Angeles
September 11, 2002
Worldwide Concert Will Honor Slain Journalist
By Patricia Ward Biederman, Times Staff Writer
Slain journalist Daniel Pearl loved music, and to honor
him, the Daniel Pearl Foundation is launching a worldwide
concert on Oct. 10, the day he would have turned 39.
"He always carried an instrument with him wherever
he went," said Judea Pearl, Daniel's father.
Kicking off the international event will be a free
folk music festival Oct. 6 in Encino, where Pearl grew
"Every one of the artists who is coming is dedicating
a song to Danny," said Elaine Weissman, executive
director of the California Traditional Music Society,
sponsor of the festival.
Pearl, a Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped
and slain by terrorists in Pakistan in January, was
an accomplished violinist, fiddler and mandolin player.
The Daniel Pearl Foundation, established by his family
in April, "promotes cross-cultural understanding
through journalism, music and innovative communications,"
its literature states.
When the Pearl and Weissman children were growing up,
the families often celebrated Passover together, Weissman
said, "and my most poignant memory of our Passover
Seder was Danny playing the 'Four Questions' on the
Daniel switched from the violin to the fiddle and then
to the electric violin, perfectly suited for jazz improvisation.
He mastered the mandolin when he fell in love with folk
music, around the time he joined the staff of the Wall
Street Journal, his father said.
"That repertoire swept him away from classical,"
said Pearl, who plays the guitar and conducts the Los
Angeles Hebrew Choir.
"In every town he was stationed, he would form
a group or join a group," Pearl said. "I think
it was his way of making friends."
When Daniel went to a new city, even for a day or two,
he would find a local club and get on stage and perform.
He played at parties and treated his newspaper friends
to impromptu recitals when they were working late. He
also gave free violin lessons to needy youngsters.
The Encino event is an ideal way to launch the international
Daniel Pearl Music Day, his father said. The San Fernando
Valley community was where Danny went to school and
where he played soccer. And as the foundation brochure
says, "music was an essential form of expression
"He means a lot to people who grew up here in
Encino, and it's very natural to have the kickoff here,"
The free daylong festival will take place from 10 a.m.
to 5 p.m. in and around the music society's Center for
Folk Music in Encino Park on Ventura Boulevard, a block
west of Balboa Boulevard.
A 90-by-32-foot wooden dance floor will be set up under
the trees for contra dancing, a traditional form of
couples dancing that has found new popularity.
There will be nine main acts, with half-hour performances,
as well as an area for jamming that Weissman described
as "a mixture of Scottish, Irish, old-timey bluegrass
and Paraguayan harp music."
Orchestras and other ensembles in more than 50 cities
will remember Daniel Pearl on or around Oct. 10, including
groups in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Bangkok, Goa, Jerusalem,
Tel Aviv, London and Boston, his father said. More information
about the commemoration is available at www.danielpearl.org.
No particular repertoire is recommended for Daniel
Pearl Music Day, his father said. "Everything is
acceptable. Danny was very inclusive. His range was
In New York City, Pearl said, an orchestra plans to
play Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony, a piece with special
resonance for Pearl. It was performed in honor of Daniel
by the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra in Tel Aviv on
Feb. 22, after the world learned that he had been slain.
The Israeli-born Pearl said guest conductor George
Pehlivanian told him afterward: "That was the first
time I understood the triumph of hope over despair."