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Worldwide Concert Series to Honor Daniel Pearl - 2002-10-09

A worldwide series of concerts Thursday will honor Daniel Pearl, a journalist who was murdered by terrorists in Pakistan earlier this year. The reporter's friends and family inaugurated the concert series in Encino, California this past Sunday.

Organizers are calling it a "global jam session" to honor a man who loved both writing and music.

Daniel Pearl would have been 39 years old October 10. The reporter for The Wall Street Journal was kidnapped in January by Islamic militants and later murdered. In July, a Pakistan court convicted four men of the killing.

The concert series to honor Mr. Pearl is taking place in dozens of cities, including Hong Kong, Tel Aviv, London, and Boston.

There are half a dozen musical events in Los Angeles. In suburban Encino, where Daniel Pearl grew up, folk musicians kicked off the concert series.

Daniel's father, Judea Pearl, says the worldwide concert series makes a statement for tolerance, friendship and humanity.

"Danny loved music and he loved people. And these two loves were betrayed when he died, and that left many people helpless, betrayed," he said. "And the purpose of this music day is to empower these people, his friends, and the millions of people that he touched; and to assert that humanity will prevail."

Mr. Pearl says his son began playing piano at age seven, and later became an accomplished violinist. He says Daniel expressed his aspirations both through his writing and through his fiddle playing.

The worldwide concerts will feature the many kinds of music Daniel loved, says Judea Pearl, who is a music instructor and former conductor.

"From classical to folk to jazz to bluegrass. We have symphony orchestras, such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra," he said. "And there will be bluegrass concerts given in Jerusalem, for example, in Massachusetts, in northern California, and many more places."

Individual artists, including Itzhak Perlman, will also dedicate concerts to Daniel Pearl.

Judea Pearl said he tried very hard to get musicians in Pakistan, where Daniel was killed, to join the concert series. The efforts were not successful.

"But the number one rock group of Pakistan, Junoon, is going to dedicate a concert for Daniel on October 11 in New Jersey," he said. "And I know at least two ladies in Karachi who will be playing on their piano for Danny."

Judea Pearl says the two women are among his son's many friends around the world, people who knew him while he was alive or people who have been touched by his story since he died.

Mr. Pearl welcomed music lovers to Encino Park for the kick-off concert Sunday, then addressed some words to his late son.

"Behold, Danny, the humble trail of friendship that you carved with your pen and with your fiddle has now grown into a belt of friendship and harmony that encircles all around your beloved planet," he said. "It is your victory, Danny. It is our victory. It is a victory of humanity over savagery."

Mr. Pearl, with other friends and family members, has formed an organization called the Daniel Pearl Foundation. It is dedicated to promoting international understanding through journalism, music and innovative communications. He says that understanding is also the goal of Daniel Pearl Music Day, which he hopes will become an annual event.