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Boston Conservatory's Karl Paulnack Reaches Thousands with Speech

Paulnack Quoted by Linda Ronstadt in Congressional Testimony on Arts Advocacy

BOSTON–The Boston Conservatory’s Music Division Director Karl Paulnack is reaching a worldwide audience of thousands via the internet, with his inspirational speech about the nature and ultimate power of music. First delivered in September 2004 to about 100 parents of incoming freshman at the Conservatory, the speech has recently become an internet sensation, reprinted and posted to hundreds of websites. An internet search of “Paulnack” and “freshman” now returns more than 1000 results, and links to the speech have been “tweeted” extensively via Twitter. Most recently, singer and producer Linda Ronstadt quoted Paulnack’s speech extensively in her testimony to Congress earlier this week. Ronstadt joined fellow arts leaders, including Wynton Marsalis and Josh Groban, in a joint effort to press the U.S. House Subcommittee on Interior and the Environment for better arts funding.

Paulnack’s rapidly circulating speech details his own journey through music education and makes a strong, impassioned case for the absolutely indisputable power of music. He cites the ancient Greeks’ belief that “music is the understanding of the relationship between invisible and internal objects.”

According to Paulnack, the speech, sent in text form to only one parent in 2004, began to surface on blogs and websites in January 2009. Since then, he has received hundreds of letters and emails from as far away as Australia and the Andes. He has delivered a modified version of the 2004 speech each September since 2005.

The full text of Paulnack’s speech is available

Ronstadt’s Congressional testimony can be viewed here:


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