Special Interviews

The Noblest Ideal

Bill Conti, an Oscar and Emmy Award winner, is the most sought-after conductor and composer in Hollywood today. During the concert, he conducted a 60-piece orchestra playing his own well-known movie themes, and the song "I Will Forever Love You" by Supreme Master Ching Hai.

Excerpt of a video interview with Bill Conti, conducted by Katherine Hudson
on December 8, 1998. (Originally in English)

KH: So tell us about this benefit concert coming up.

BC: Well, the idea is using music as a voice for peace. Of course, it's so much better than the use of music for war. Historically, music can be used for either because it affects your emotions. Music has always been used to calm you down and let you seek the more spiritual side of yourself. However, they can beat the drums, and it also evokes this feeling of going to take another country. It's a terrible thing, but music has the ability to change you, because music is the ultimate fantasy; it is not literal. It's not something that you can touch or you can feel or you can see. It enters into you through your ears and you're affected emotionally by the music. So, the idea of using music for peace is so much better than the other way that we use music.

KH: You're going to be conducting a very special piece from Supreme Master Ching Hai's poetry, so tell us a little bit more about that.

BC: Well, this special piece that was written by Supreme Master Ching Hai is a piece of music that I have arranged, I think, in a very special way to present both the music and the lyrics and try to evoke something in the audience when it's being performed, because that is the secret of music. When Beethoven is being played, when you hear Beethoven, his soul, actually his spirit, is in the room with you. Now if the Beethoven's symphony stops or anyone's piece of music stops, it's like they left the room. But while it's being played, not like this (points to the angel statue) that you can touch and you can break and you can admire. When the music is playing, that person, in this case, Supreme Master Ching Hai is just like being with you. During my music, that will be how I feel about music, about life, about love, about everything. And when you hear any composer live in the hall, if it's done very well, which I intend to do there, something very special should happen.

KH: Exactly right. So how did you come to be involved with the Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association?

BC: Well, a phone call, and I was asked whether I was interested in participating. I was, of course. It seems to me like a worthy cause. And then, it grew and grew and grew as the event was planned. I'm only a part of the event, but as it came together, at least I came to understand more of it, it became much more exciting for me to be a part of a concert for a cause that is more than worthy. I mean, I do concerts regularly and the cause is to play music. This one is to play music with the tremendous intention of bringing peace to the world. I cannot think of anything better.

Words from the Musicians' Hearts A Beautiful Parable
There is So Much Music in the Words of the Poems The Noblest Ideal
How Many Miles to Paradise? This Song Really Sings Itself