Today we are honored to continue the interview with Professor Alexander Shtarkman, who speaks about the value the arts and artists bring to society, as well as how he guides young minds who have a passion in music. "Music speaks to us. Music has this ability to go directly from heart to heart. And if one opens their ears, mind, eyes, and senses to it, I think it will touch you, in one way or the other. If it’s real art, it touches everyone, even if we don’t notice it, it affects us, let’s say. Music does more than just bring enjoyment. It probably can bring joy, can bring tears, can bring elevation, can bring many, many, many different things. If you feel other powers, other layers of powers, of this language, then I think it’s a different kind of experience. I think it is as simple as this: you cannot hear two same interpretations of the same musical piece. Even from the same person, in two minutes’ difference, it will sound differently. And of course, every person, everybody’s personality is unique, and I think that’s what makes it so precious and so much alive….”“I think that art and artists, as we talk about this group of people, artists, writers, poets, composers, artists, and everybody else in that (group), I think by just doing what they're doing, they make the world better, a better place. By default, art has a divine origin, has this ideal part of it. And by bringing it to the world, it has to make the world better. It’s balancing, balancing things, by beauty, by purity, by itself."Just like how his teachers nurtured his professionalism and accomplishments through the years, Professor Alexander Shtarkman also guides young pianists to pursue excellence in performance. His professionalism, dedication, and genuine care have touched his students and inspired them to do the same. To close, let us hear Professor Alexander Shtarkman’s touching speech as he accepted the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award in 2017.