Who knew Socrates could play the flute?

Helge Antoni

Swedish pianist Helge Antoni delivered an unconventional lecture entitled “Socrates’ flute” in Memorial Hall Tuesday afternoon, pausing to play music periodically to demonstrate his main points.

“Through music, we can learn many things about life,” Antoni said.

Antoni said he chose “Socrates’ flute” as the title of his lecture because the philosopher was a good example of having a passion for life. Antoni told the story of Socrates’ choice to spend his final moments before his execution learning a new song on the flute.

“It’s really the most wonderful example of someone who is staying curious until the very end to learn something new,” Antoni said. “Staying curious is really the key to a wonderful life.”

His talk was part of the annual Honors College Lecture Series, a lineup of guest speakers from diverse professions invited to Baylor to share their wisdom. Although the lectures are hosted by the Honors College, all students are welcome to attend.

San Antonio freshman Precious Mkubwa, a San Antonio freshman, attended the lecture on Tuesday and also plans to see Antoni’s concert in Roxy Grove Hall tonight. She said she has played piano from a young age, and is excited to see her first live piano concert.

Mkubwa said Antoni’s message about music’s relation to life lessons reminded her of her own experience struggling to learn to play a difficult piece of music.

“You just have to push through it, and that’s how life is,” Mkubwu said. “You know what you want, and even if it’s not happening, you have to push through.”

Dr. Alden Smith, associate dean of Baylor’s Honors College, said he thought students from all areas of study could benefit from appreciating music. He said he agreed with Antoni that knowledge and information are incomplete without personal growth.

“This is music from the depths, not just from reading notes on a score,” Smith said. “This person understands these composers in an intimate way.”

Antoni will also perform a concert at 7:30 p.m. today that is titled “Romantissimo: Works of Frédéric Chopin and Edvard Grieg.” He said he encourages interested students to attend.

“If everything goes well in Roxy Grove, we will have 50 minutes where we will be on an incredible wave of emotion all together,” Antoni said, “and yet each one will have his or her own deep and personally valid feeling. And that is magic.”