THE ARVO PÄRT PROJECT AT ST. VLADIMIR’S SEMINARY PRESENTS
THE MUSIC OF ARVO PÄRT IN FOUR CONCERTS IN NEW YORK CITY AND WASHINGTON, D.C. FROM MAY 27 TO JUNE 2
Concerts include performances at Carnegie Hall and the
Kennedy Center featuring the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the
Tallinn Chamber Orchestra conducted by Tõnu Kaljuste
Concert at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. includes
the world premiere of a new arrangement of My Heart’s in the Highlands
Kanon Pokajanen to be performed in The Temple of Dendur,
and Spirit in Sound and Space: A Conversation Inspired by Arvo Pärt to be held
in The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium at The Metropolitan Museum of Art
A panel discussion organized by The Phillips Collection
to take place at The George Washington University
NEW YORK, NY (February 24, 2014) – The Arvo Pärt Project at St. Vladimir’s Seminary presents four concerts from May 27 to June 2 devoted to the music of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. The concerts take place in Washington, D.C. at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Theater (May 27) and The Phillips Collection (May 29) and in New York City at Carnegie Hall (May 31) and The Metropolitan Museum of Art (June 2), and will feature performers closely associated with Pärt’s music. Traveling from Estonia for these events are the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra with their conductor Tõnu Kaljuste.
During this tour the ensembles will perform repertoire specially selected by Mr. Pärt and the seminary to evoke the spirituality of Mr. Pärt’s music. The all-Pärt programs at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center include the works Fratres, Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten, Adam’s Lament, Salve Regina, and Te Deum. The concert at The Phillips Collection is part of the museum’s Leading European Composers series and will feature musicians from the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the Tallinn Chamber performing chamber music including the world premiere of a new arrangement of My Heart’s in the Highlands. The Met Museum Presents program features the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir performing Kanon Pokajanen in The Temple of Dendur on Monday, June 2. This performance will be live streamed beginning at 7:00 p.m. by Q2 Music at q2music.org.
The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra have been recording Mr. Pärt’s music for ECM for more than two decades, and the recent ECM recording Arvo Pärt: Adam’s Lament won the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance. In the same year, the orchestra was awarded the Estonian Music Council Prize. Mr. Kaljuste, who is a long-time associate of Mr. Pärt and noted interpreter of his work, has conducted the choir for twenty years and the orchestra for seven seasons and now works with the ensemble on tours and recordings.
As part of the new SPARK conversation series, Met Museum Presents will host a lecture titled Spirit in Sound and Space: A Conversation Inspired by Arvo Pärt, with Robert Zatorre, a neuroscientist at the Montreal Neurological Institute, architect Steven Holl, and Peter Bouteneff, a musician and professor of theology at St. Vladimir’s Seminary in The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium on Wednesday, June 11 at 6 p.m. The conversation, led by Julie Burstein author and Peabody Award–winning creator of public radio’s Studio 360, will explore the spiritual content of Mr. Pärt’s music as well as how different spaces can impact how his music is perceived. A panel discussion at the George Washington University led by Chair of the GWU Department of Music, Dr. Douglas Boyce, with Dr. Peter Bouteneff and other GWU faculty is also planned for May 28.
Mr. Pärt’s work, which ranges from choral to orchestral to solo instrumental compositions, has for the past three years been the most-performed of any living composer. Born in 1935 in Paide, Estonia, Mr. Pärt first began composing using a variety of neo-classical styles as part of the “Soviet Avant-garde” movement. He worked as director and composer in residence for Estonian Radio from 1958-1967, produced nearly 50 film scores, and wrote Estonia’s very first 12-tone composition, Nekrolog, in 1960. But in the late 1960s, following the ban of his work Credo by Soviet officials, the search for his own voice drove Mr. Pärt into near-withdrawal for eight years during which he studied Gregorian chant. In this time he created a new compositional principal he called “tintinnabuli” (Latin for “little bells”), a method that keeps sound structure to its bare essentials. It is a musical style that first emerged in 1976, and has defined Mr. Part’s music to this day.
The power and purity of Mr. Pärt’s music was introduced to the Western world 30 years ago in 1984 when Manfred Eicher launched ECM’s New Series with recording Tabula Rasa. ECM has since released more than 40 of Mr. Pärt’s compositions on 14 recordings. Between 1989 and 2011 Mr. Pärt was nominated for eight Grammy Awards, most of which were for Best Classical Contemporary Composition. In 1996 he was awarded honorary membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was named Musical America’s Composer of the Year in 2005. Mr. Pärt is also currently a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture at the Vatican. An International Arvo Pärt Centre, built close to Mr. Pärt’s hometown, was founded in 2010 and is slated to include a research institute, a museum, a publishing house, and an archive of Mr. Pärt’s works.
Developed by St. Vladimir’s Seminary faculty members Dr. Nicholas Reeves and Dr. Peter Bouteneff, The Arvo Pärt Project was inaugurated in 2011 to explore the spiritual roots of Mr. Pärt’s music. Mr. Pärt, who is an Orthodox Christian, is collaborating with the seminary on this project which includes these concerts and lectures, planned publications devoted to Mr. Pärt’s personal spiritual narrative, and a long-term academic partnership between the Arvo Pärt Centre in Estonia and St. Vladimir’s Seminary
“Mr. Pärt’s music is universally accessible, and revered for its ‘spiritual’ quality by people of all faiths and of none,” said Project co-director Peter Bouteneff. “But the composer has a particular spiritual home in the Orthodox Christian tradition. As an institution that researches and explicates that tradition, we may be of help in shedding new light on what gives his music its transcendent character.”
The Tallinn Chamber Orchestra (TCO) was founded in 1993 by conductor Tõnu Kaljuste, who led the orchestra from 1993-1995 and from 1996-2001. The group began as a string orchestra, founded by professor Jüri Gerretz in 1989, of students from the Tallinn Conservatoire. Mr. Kaljuste organized a professional chamber orchestra from the core members of this group, and though it is a string orchestra, wind players from the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and the Estonian National Opera participate regularly in the ensemble.
Particularly in the early years, the TCO was very tightly connected with the work of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir. In 1993 the critically acclaimed CD Te Deum was released by ECM, followed later by several more records on the same label: Erkki-Sven Tüür’s Crystallisatio, Arvo Pärt’s Litany, In Principio, and Adam’s Lament, Heino Eller’s Neenia, and others.
The TCO has been shaped by many important figures throughout its history including Finnish conductor Juha Kangas, who was the chief conductor from 1995-1996 and the artistic advisor from 2001-2003. During later years the TCO was supervised by the Artistic Director of the Tallinn Philharmonic Society Eri Klas, and Risto Joost has acted as chief conductor for the TCO since September 2013.
The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (EPCC) is one of the best known Estonian music groups in the world. The EPCC was founded in 1981 by Tõnu Kaljuste, who was the Artistic Director and Chief Conductor for 20 years. During 2001–2007 Mr. Kaljuste’s work was continued by British musician Paul Hillier who became Artistic Director and Chief Conductor, and since 2008 the Artistic Director and Chief Conductor has been Daniel Reuss from Holland.
Each season the choir gives 60–70 concerts in Estonia and abroad, and the repertoire of the choir ranges from Gregorian chant to late Baroque and the music of the 21st century with special focus on work by Estonian composers including Pärt, Tormis, Tüür, Grigoryeva, Tulev, Kõrvits, and Tulve.
The choir has been invited to perform at many renowned festivals including the BBC Proms, Edinburgh International Festival, Abu Gosh music festival, Moscow Easter Festival, Bergen International Festival, The Salzburg Festival, Musikfest Bremen, Salzburg Mozartwoche, and Festival Aix-en-Provence.
The EPCC has recorded for ECM, Virgin Classics, Carus, and Harmonia Mundi resulting in award-winning CDs, including Arvo Pärt’s Da Pacem (Harmonia Mundi 2006, conductor Paul Hillier), which won the Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance.
Estonian conductor Tõnu Kaljuste is recognized for his work with contemporary composers such as Kurtág, Penderecki, Kancheli, and Schnittke and as a specialist of Estonian composers like Arvo Pärt, Erkki-Sven Tüür, Veljo Tormis, Heino Eller, and Tõnu Korvits. Mr. Kaljuste is the founder of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, and continues to work with the ensembles on recordings and special projects, and has also been Chief Conductor and First Guest Conductor of the Swedish Radio Choir and Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Chamber Choir.
Since 2001 Mr. Kaljuste has concentrated on conducting symphonic repertoire, opera, and oratorios. Numerous invitations led him to appearances with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, Danish Radio Symphony, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken, Bremen Philharmonic, Tonkünstlerorchester, BBC National Symphony Orchestra of Wales, Japan Century Symphony Orchestra, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Camerata Salzburg, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Swedish National Youth Orchestra, Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, and Irish Chamber Orchestra, among others.
His discography includes many recordings with ECM Records, Virgin Classic, and Caprice Records. His recordings have been Grammy nominees and have won a number of prizes including the Diapason d’Or, the Cannes Classical Award, the Edison Prize, and the Brit Award.
Mr. Kaljuste has been appointed a member of the Royal Music Academy of Sweden and was awarded the Japanese ABC Music Award and Robert Edler Prize. Since 2004 he has been Artistic Director of the Nargen Opera in Estonia.
St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Yonkers, NY, is a graduate school of 50-75 full and part time students founded in 1938 and accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the U.S. and Canada. For several decades it has enjoyed a worldwide reputation in teaching, research, and publication in the areas of theology, church history, and music. The seminary prepares clergy and lay ministers and educators for service in Orthodox Christian churches and the greater community worldwide by offering Master of Divinity, Master of Arts and Master of Theology programs. SVS Press is the largest publisher of Orthodox Christian books in the English language, and the seminary’s library houses a collection of 140,000 titles including a collection of rare books. To find out more, please visit www.svots.edu.
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