“From the first lullaby sung to us as newborn babies, music provides the ‘soundtrack’ of our lives,” Mr. Annan said in introducing Prof. Leon Botstein, principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra in New York, as the featured speaker on “Why Music Matters.” “So much so that I think many of us take it for granted – just as we do the soundtrack of a film, which we often hear without listening to it. That is, we enjoy the film without realizing how much the music conditions our reaction,” he added. Believing that music both shapes and reflects society, the UN chief described the art of music as a gift from God, saying: “Dancers follow its beat; protesters use it to find their voice. It can promote ideals – like peace and solidarity – but it can also prepare armies for battle. It is part of almost every important personal and collective moment.” The Secretary-General said in a world of diversity where often values clash, music “leaps across language barriers and unites people of quite different cultural backgrounds.” Previous lectures hosted by Mr. Annan dealt with such topics as human rights, cloning, Islam, globalization and climate change.