APU Celebrates Mozart Festival Week

by Emily Shirk '10

As Azusa Pacific students escaped the cool evening weather and piled in to the auditorium slightly tardy to the 4:20 p.m. lecture, relating their lives to a musical prodigy who lived more than 250 years ago seemed to be the last thing on their minds. However, the social buzzing and fidgeting vanished when Professor Mark Humphrey took the stage with hopes of enlightening the students with a study of history that was not only inspiring, but also applicable to their lives and faith.

“I will never know the exact faith of Mozart, but I do know that the same God who inspired Mozart, inspires Tommy,” Humphrey said as he grinned at a familiar music student sitting near the auditorium stage.

Nearly a year ago, School of Music faculty, alumni, and current students began the preparation for the celebration of renowned composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's 251st birthday, as part of the second annual "Celebrate the Masters" concert series. To celebrate his life and influence on the history of music, these dedicated members of APU collaborated to create a program combining instrumental chamber music, choral music, opera, and symphonies composed by Mozart.

On January 29, Humphrey kicked off the Mozart Festival Week with his witty lecture, “In, Not Of: Mozart and the Salzburg Cathedral.” Humphrey used a thought-provoking analogy that allowed his audience to find relevance to God’s unique sense of timing in Mozart’s life.

“How will God use your Salzburg?” Humphrey boldly inquired his spectators.

The Salzburg Cathedral, where Mozart was born, was a great imposition on his ability to create, because it was ruled at that time by the church and strongly lacked any cosmopolitan influence. Mozart struggled to create something “rational” and “proper” to fit the needs of the church, and deeply desired to be rid of the restrictions that stifled his innovations. He made several trips to Italy, Munich, and Mannheim, but was offered no positions and found little success. In spite of this, Humphrey explained that although Mozart was physically in Salzburg, his eyes and soul were everywhere else, and God used this time to instigate many of his greatest masterpieces, still unmatched in purity and elegance.

“While he may have many peer in some areas, he has no superiors, and none of these others have ever combined so many aspects of musical greatness,” Professor Robert Sage, Ph.D., said admiringly about Mozart.

The events for Mozart Festival Week lasted from January 29-February 2, purposefully placed at different times of the day to give everyone an opportunity to experience a performance. Whether students actively participated as performers, or listened critically as audience members, the presentations enriched the lives of many at Azusa Pacific in different ways.

However, each student involved came away from this week realizing that they have the ability to create a masterpiece anywhere, even in a world that often places limitations and expectations upon them. Just as Mozart was “in, not of” the Salzburg Cathedral, as Christians, they are in the world—not of it.