The Arvo Part Project at St. Vladimir's Seminary to Present Carnegie Hall Concert, 5/31
The Arvo Pärt Project at St. Vladimir's Seminary presents a concert in Carnegie Hall devoted to the music of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. The concert will take place on Saturday, May 31 at 8:00 p.m. in Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium, and will feature performers closely associated with Mr. Pärt's music. An additional performance of Kanon Pokajanen will be performed in The Temple of Dendur at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Monday, June 2, and a lecture based on Mr. Pärt and his music will be held in The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Wednesday, June 11. 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 program at Carnegie Hall includes the works Fratres, Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten, Adam's Lament, and Te Deum. The Met Museum Presents program features the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir performing Kanon Pokajanen in The Temple of Dendur. 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 with Tõnu Kaljuste conducting, have been recording Mr. Pärt's music for ECM for more than two decades, and their recent ECM recording Arvo Pärt: Adam's Lament (together with Latvian Radio Choir, Sinfonietta R?ga and Vox Clamantis) won the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance. In 2013, 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 6:00 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.
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 modernist styles and techniques as part of the "Soviet avant-garde" movement. He worked as a sound engineer for Estonian Radio from 1958-67, 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, among other early music. In this time he created a new compositional principle 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. Pärt's compositions 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. The Arvo Pärt Centre was founded in 2010 and is slated to include an archive of Mr. Pärt's works, a research institute, and a performance and lecture venue.
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 cooperating with the seminary on this project which includes these concerts and lectures as well as planned publications devoted to Mr. Pärt's personal spiritual narrative. Also under development is 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 1993-95 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.