Music and Markings fills the United Nations

In the evening of 27 October, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, the stream of regular UN meetings gave way to a very different event in the great ECOSOC chamber.

The Foundation, together with the United Nations and the Swedish Representation to the UN, organised the special event in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations and in honour of the late legendary Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld. The event, entitled “Markings and Music” featured Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson and internationally renowned Swedish pianist Per Tengstrand at the stage as they celebrated Hammarskjöld’s extraordinary life with words and harmony.

For more than one hour, magic filled the room. Readings from Hammarskjöld’s book “Markings” of 1963 and personal anecdotes from the Deputy Secretary-General were alternating with interludes of music inspired by Markings. Tengstrand started forcefully with “Appassionata” by Ludwig van Beethoven, representing a world in turmoil, after which Eliasson spoke about the man Hammarskjöld, who he was, where he came from and his career before becoming Secretary-General. “He was a man of conviction and a man of action,” said Eliasson who then reflected on Hammarskjöld’s three “never aphorisms”:

“Never, for the sake of peace and quiet, deny your own experience or convictions.”

“Never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top. Then you will see how low it was.”

“Never look down to test the ground before taking your next step; only he who keeps his eye fixed on the far horizon will find the right road.”

Special Event: “Markings and Music"Special Event: “Markings and Music"







The two men then took turns in the spotlight, Tengstrand playing pieces from Grieg, Chopin and Bach, and Eliasson reading excerpts from Markings and sharing personal reflections on these. He spoke about Hammarskjöld’s love for culture, nature and his work and read a part of Hammarskjöld’s poem “Hudson Valley.” The evening ended with the beautiful tunes of Beethoven’s Arietta from piano sonata op. 11.