Most of the time, Thierry Fischer lets the music do the talking as he conducts the Utah Symphony at Abravanel Hall.
But on Nov. 12, the maestro will deliver an educational speech at the third International Undergraduate Philosophical Conference at Salt Lake Community College.
The speech is called "The Effects of Ominpresent Noise on Our Perception and Creativity," and the conference's theme is similarly long-winded: "Friedrich Nietzsche vs, Pierre Bourdieu: Education as a Creative Production of Culture."
Yet the 90-minute speech is intended to be as accessible as possible. "I chose the title," the conductor said. "It allows me to talk about something I live with every day. I am fascinated by the notion of noise and how it affects us."
The talk will be more of an "informal chat" with a Q&A than an esoteric and high-and-mighty oration. "I'm not a speaker," he admitted.
Alexander Izrailevsky, associate professor of philosophy at SLCC and director of the conference, is delighted that Fischer accepted the invitation to speak. As it happens, Izrailevsky, who emigrated from Siberia a dozen years ago, always makes a point to attend Fischer's preconcert talks in Abravanel Hall. "I deeply admire and respect him," Izrailevsky said, adding that no one can explain Russian music better than Fischer.
While the conference's program title could be seen as intimidating, Izrailevsky said it isn't meant to be. Speakers and students from around the world will discuss the merits of Nietzsche and Bourdieu's differing views on culture. To Nietzsche, the shallowness of mass culture, as perpetuated by the ruling bourgeoisie, should be rejected in favor of what the philosopher considered a more authentic culture. On the other hand, Bourdieu saw the value of culture's inclusive power and wanted more democratization of ideas.
If I got those wrong, blame me, not Izrailevsky.
About the noise of music and philosophy
Salt Lake Community College co-sponsors the Third International Undergraduate Student Philosophical Conference along with The Netherlands' Radboud University.
Friday • Nov. 9, 8 a.m. to noon, Student Center Oak Room on the Taylorsville-Redwood Campus, 4600 S. Redwood Road, Taylorsville; speakers are James E. Faulconer, philosophy professor at Brigham Young University; Paul van Tongeren, philosophical ethics professor at Radboud University; Hent deVries, director of humanities center at Johns Hopkins University
Monday • Nov. 12, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Grand Theatre at the State Street Campus, 1575 S. State St., Salt Lake City; speaker is Utah Symphony music director Thierry Fischer
Admission • Free