• May 4, 2010

May 16 - Art Seminar: Arvo Pärt, the sound of silence

On May 16th, the International Center for a Culture of Compassion will host "one of the most orig­inal voices of our time", a musi­cian whose pro­found humanism and engage­ment with tra­di­tion fas­ci­nates and inspires a new gen­er­a­tion of musi­cians.

Arvo Pärt, now in his 75th year, has devel­oped in his music a unique rela­tion­ship to silence and the sense of mys­tery. Paul Anel, Art Director for Heart’s Home USA, will intro­duce us to his life and music. Juilliard Graduate pianist Evan Shinners, a young emerging icon in clas­sical and pop­ular music, will lead us into, and inter­pret for us, some of Pärt’s most astounding and soulful pieces. New Yorkers from the five Boroughs, come and listen with us to the sound of silence.

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion, please upload the flyer or con­tact Rev. Paul Anel

Register Online before Thursday, May 13.


Evan Shinners

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Juilliard pianist Evan Shinners is a young emerging icon in clas­sical and pop­ular music. After starting piano at age 9, Shinners made his debut with the Utah sym­phony at age 12. He has per­formed at Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Avery Fisher Hall, the American Irish Historical Society of New York, and Verizon Hall at the Kimell Center in Philadelphia. The founder and host of an online radio show enti­tled “This is E.S.,” he has ded­i­cated time to pro­moting stu­dents at the Juilliard School and clas­sical music through a fresh new medium com­bining hip-hop music with emerging trends in clas­sical music and poetry. Shinners can play any­thing from clas­sical to jazz, rag­time to Billy Joel, and is an avid per­former of his own orig­inal music, influ­enced by Bob Dylan and Jack Kerouac, which he has per­formed throughout the United States and Ireland.

He grad­u­ated with Scholastic Distinction from Juilliard in 2008 after writing his thesis on James Joyce’s Ulysses. He studies piano with Jerome Lowenthal and poetry with Ron Price, and is enrolled in the Masters of Music pro­gram. He and com­poser/poet Derek Roberts are the co-founders of a New York based move­ment enti­tled “The New Cull,” which show­cases young painters, poets, writers, actors, dancers and musi­cians in pri­vate and public con­certs per­forming a variety of media, any­thing from punk rock to Shakespearian son­nets. Shinners and the move­ment have per­formed for such per­son­al­i­ties as Milton Babbitt, Liam Neeson and Wallace Shawn. Evan is a pub­lished poet.

Arvo Pärt

Pärt studied com­po­si­tion at the Tallinn Conservatory in Estonia after which he became recording engi­neer with Estonian Radio. During his early career he wrote music for the stage and for film and, although he had little access to con­tem­po­rary trends in Western music, he was often at the fore­front of the intro­duc­tion of new tech­niques in works such as Nekrolog of 1960, which was the first Estonian com­po­si­tion to employ serial tech­nique, a com­po­si­tional pro­cess in which the twelve tones in a scale are manip­u­lated math­e­mat­i­cally as well as musi­cally. He con­tinued with seri­alism through the mid-1960s after which he began to make use of col­lage tech­nique in works such as Collage on B-A-C-H. He caused a con­tro­versy with his Credo of 1968, which was banned in the USSR.

Pärt has occa­sion­ally engaged in periods of con­tem­pla­tive silence. The most sig­nif­i­cant of these ended in 1976 after which his music was trans­formed. His sub­se­quent com­po­si­tions use an inno­va­tive tech­nique he devised called ‘tintinnabula’. When asked about this new style Pärt declared:

I have dis­cov­ered that it is enough when a single note is beau­ti­fully played. This one note, or a silent beat, or a moment of silence, com­forts me. I work with very few ele­ments – with one voice, two voices. I build with prim­i­tive mate­rials – with the triad, with one specific tonality. The three notes of a triad are like bells and that is why I call it tintinnab­u­la­tion.

In 1977 he com­posed three works using this new tech­nique that remain among his most well-loved: Fratres, Cantus In Memoriam Benjamin Britten and Tabula Rasa. He emi­grated in 1980 even­tu­ally set­tling in Berlin with his wife Nora and their two sons. The cre­ative period after the emi­gra­tion includes many set­tings of reli­gious texts, often in Latin, and many of them on a large scale, such as Passio (1982), Te Deum (1984-86, rev. 1993) and Litany (1994). Smaller scale works such as the Magnificat (1989) and The Beatitudes (1990) have become stan­dard reper­toire for choirs all over the world and much of his music has been recorded.

Pärt has been the recip­ient of numerous honors and awards including elec­tion to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In February 2007 the Best Choral Performance Grammy was awarded to Paul Hillier, con­ductor of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, for Pärt’s Da Pacem. Most recently Pärt was described as “one of the most orig­inal voices of our time”, in a tribute which helped him to win the 2008 Léonie Sonning Music Prize.

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