Why Music Reminds Us We Are Human, Even in the Darkest Places

There was a gang member who had been in prison all his life, who said he’d never once cried in all his years. He’d buried his mother, he’d buried his father, and he saw the door to his future close when he was sentenced to be locked up for decades, maybe the rest of his life. But then, in prison, he heard a chamber music concert, and he cried.

Pianist and composer Eric Genuis (Kirsten Butler Photography)

“This one man stood up after the show, covered in tattoos, the whole nine yards, and he said: ‘I’m overcome with emotion. I’ve had no control over my tears for the last two hours during the show. I’ve never cried in my life. Never. My mom died, my father died, I was sad but I never cried. What is it?'” said Eric Genuis, the composer of the music that man heard.

“I remember being really taken by this,” said Genuis