Known for some of the most pivotal roles in history with Professor X in X men and Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek, Patrick Stewart is a very noble actor who is well respected in the industry. In this speech at the Oxford Union, Stewart tells some compelling tales about an aspiring pianist with fearful parents and a composer in the concentration camps.
The first story was about a Pianist and now Director named Karl Paulnack and how his family (who were avid music listeners) couldn’t understand why he would want to pursue a career in the arts when he was so smart in other subjects such as science. His family’s major concern was that society wouldn’t value him and that a career in another prestige field would make him more accepted.
The second story was about Olivier Messiaen, who was a french composer that got sent to the concentration camps. Instead of only focusing his minimal energy on food and sleep, he was lucky enough to get a paper and pen, which he utilized to compose music with some other musicians in the camp for some 4,000 people. Patrick Stewart then asked the audience out loud, “why do we do all this for”?
“Art is one of the ways we say I am alive and my life has meaning.”
He finishes this integral speech by touching on how the same way as Doctor’s save lives, so do artists. When a confused and broken individual walks into a concert hall, the artist and his performance can likewise bring someone back to life depending on how well they play!