Project Summary

A recording of Ahimsa by the Czech Chamber Orchestra Pardubice, conducted by Maestro Marek Štilec. Scheduled for May 2022.

The donation goal for this project is $5,000.00.

Project Description

The older I get, the more I find myself thinking about the concept of ahimsa, which in its simplest sense, means not to inflict harm on others through thought, word or action. An ancient concept, yet one which has not caught on sufficiently in our troubled world. Humankind is not only in endless violent conflict within itself, but by and large we fail to recognize that we are part of all of life on this earth and all that life is a part of us. Thus, we inflict the same violence, if not worse, on the innocent lives of all Earth’s creatures, as we do upon ourselves.

As I thought about it recently, I decided to write music that reflects this basic principle for living, in sections honoring those who, for me, were guiding lights for how to live your life in this way. The words that introduce each movement are meant to be read aloud before the music sounds if or when this music is performed before an audience. It begins with my maternal grandfather, who although I doubt he would have ever run across the word, taught me the same precepts in his own way, sitting around the dinner table in the Bronx. Live your life, pursue your dreams, but never at the expense of others. This introduction is followed by the words of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and John Lennon – all of whom died while in the pursuit of holding up the candle of ahimsa for all to see. Writing this in 2021, it is hard to think of any who are their match today, but those with their intensity are sorely needed.

Ahimsa is one of many compositions that make up my personal Music for Peace Project. A passionate advocate for world peace since, as a young impressionable child, I stood at the site of Pickett’s infamous charge at the Gettysburg battlefield and had an epiphany that men who could commit such horrors were insane and that there had to be better way to resolve our conflicts, I had early hopes that humanity would, little by little over time, find a way. While those youthful, naïve hopes, have faded, my music has become an important vehicle for me to express my life-long belief that peace is possible, in spite of everything, if only enough people desire it and refuse to follow those who would lead us into war. The music is intended to evoke that desire in the minds and hearts of those who hear it.

I consider Ahimsa to be my most important work to date and a recording of this work, along with videos of the recording with readings of the words by some of history’s most eloquent advocates for peace, a critical means to reach as wide an audience as possible with its message of peace.

The Artists

Stanley Grill is a classical composer whose passion for medieval and Renaissance music has greatly influenced his writing. Two main themes permeate many of his works – music composed in an attempt to translate something about the nature of the physical world, and music composed to inspire and promote world peace.

Marek Štilec. A protege of San Francisco Symphony and New World Symphony conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, Marek Štilec is a rising star among the younger generation of Czech conductors. At the age of 17, he founded his own ensemble, the Quattro Chamber Orchestra. A breakthrough came in 2010 in the form of an invitation from Tilson Thomas to study with him under the San Francisco Symphony’s auspices; that led to a stint conducting the New World Symphony in 2014. Marek Štilec is known as an interpreter of Classical orchestral repertoire and is a specialist in Czech Romantic and contemporary music. He has collaborated with orchestras the world over, including the New World Symphony, Ulster Orchestra, London Classical Soloists, The Orchestra of the Swan, Berlin Camerata, Kammerphilharmonie Graz and Sinfonietta Bratislava.

The Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice is one of the leading Czech orchestras; it is a small symphonic “Mozart-Haydnesque” body. As the only professional orchestra in the Pardubice region it plays a highly important role in the musical life of this region. It organises a series of cycles in Pardubice, performs in other cities in the region and around the country, regularly appears at the most important festivals in the Czech Republic and is also recognised by audiences in many prestigious concert halls in Europe and beyond.


A recording of Ahimsa by the Czech Chamber Orchestra Pardubice, conducted by Maestro Marek Štilec. Scheduled for May 2022.

The donation goal for this project is $5,000.00.