On December 28, 2019 the Schiller Institute participated in the third annual memorial in honor of the Alexandrov Ensemble, at the Tear Drop Memorial in Bayonne, New Jersey. In 2016, 64 members of the Alexandrov Ensemble, along with 24 others, perished when their plane crashed into the Black Sea en route to Syria. What follows is a transcript of the memorial including remarks from Capt. Donald Haiber, Father John Fencik, Chief Keith Weaver, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation Mission to the United Nations Mr. Dmitry Chumakov, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic Mission Dr. Louay Falouh, Schiller Institute Founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder and Co-Director of the Schiller Institute New York City Chorus, Diane Sare, and Mr. Kevin Maynor.
Transcript of ceremony:
Capt. Donald Haiber, Bayonne, N.J. Fire Department: First I want to wish everyone a belated Merry Christmas. Secondly, for those of you that have been with us for the last few years, it looks like we lucked out with some balmy weather. I know it’s been cold and snowing in the past, but today looks like a beautiful day, and it’s a nice way for a remembrance.
Some of the people who are here today, we have our Office of Emergency Management Director Mr. Ferantay [ph], the chief of the department Keith Weaver; we also have the Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation Mr. Dmitry Chumakov; and also, I’d like to recognize the Deputy Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic, Dr. Fallouh. And also a very special thank to Mr. Kevin Maynor, who’s behind me. I also want to recognize Father Fencik: He’s been here every year with us, braving the cold. And the last person I want to thank is the Co-Director of the Schiller Institute New York Chorus Diane Sare, who, without her, none of this happens.
On behalf of the Bayonne Fire Department and the City of Bayonne, we welcome you all to today’s ceremony. Father Fencik, would you please do the invocation?
Father John Fencik: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. O Heavenly King, the Comforter, O Spirit of Truth, Who everywhere present through all things, Treasury of Blessings and Giver of Life, come into all within us, cleanse us of all stain, and save our souls, O Gracious Lord.
This is the prayer that is traditionally said at the beginning of any type of function that involves the Russian people. We pray that we who are gathered here today, in memory of those departed members of the Alexandrov Choirs, those who departed with them this life in December of 2016. We pray that God give them eternal rest in His heavenly mansion. We pray that this ceremony retains their memory, and brings them all to life everlasting. Amen.
Color Guard posts colors. Chorus presents the Russian Federation National Anthem and United States of America National Anthem.
Captain Haiber: Thank you all very much. That was beautiful. I’m going to introduce Chief Weaver who wants to say a few words as well. Professionally, he is my chief, he’s my boss, but I’m honored, personally, to say that he is my friend — Chief Weaver.
Chief Keith Weaver: Good morning to everyone in attendance today. I’m grateful for this opportunity to say a few words in honor of the lives lost on Christmas Day 2016. Today, we pause to remember and honor the tragic loss of Alexandrov Ensemble. The loss of this extremely talented group was a loss for the entire globe. I’m honored to be speaking at this fitting site, as this Tear Drop Memorial was donated to our city from our world neighbors in Russia. The gift is a reminder that although we may be separated by nationality, we are united in humanity. As brothers and sisters, we share in your grief, and also share in your hope for a brighter future for all mankind. May the lives lost on that tragic day, three years ago, rest in peace. Thank you.
Captain Haiber: Thank you, Chief. Mr. Chumakov will have a few words to say.
Dmitry Chumakov: Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends: We are very pleased to welcome all those of you who have joined us today in the memory of the Alexandrov Ensemble, and the victims of the plane crash that happened on the 26th December 2016, just a couple of days from today, three years ago. It was a legendary ensemble, media workers from Russian TV channels, and the famous philanthropist Elizaveta Glinka: They were bringing to Syria, the Christmas mood, they were bringing into a war-torn country, and it was a big tragedy and loss.
The Russian Mission is grateful to the Schiller Institute, to the Fire Department of the City of Bayonne: without you, this event would not be possible. It’s becoming a tradition. We are getting together for the third time now, and this is a great honor for us to share these human feelings and share with you the losses and compassion. This memorial event is a great example [inaudible] honor and solidarity between our countries. The Alexandrov Ensemble has been reinstated, and I just want you to know that the new performers [inaudible] we also want you to know that that humanitarian projects started by Elizaveta Glinka are implemented by her followers. And it’s also important to say that we’re still making a lot of efforts to bring peace to Syria, and to help Syria, and to help the political settlement in this country. So, it is only with political settlement that the problems can be solved.
We once again must give tribute to these brave and merciful people who are our modern-day heroes. They are symbols of patriotism and humanity are given to us today: May their souls rest in peace. And thank you very much for joining us today.
Captain Haiber: Thank you Mr. Chumakov. We are here once again to give our condolences and sympathy to the families of the Alexandrov Ensemble and to the people of Russia. Everyone here proves, I believe, that this small remembrance shows our humanity towards one another — and God knows, we could use more of that.
Once again, it’s fitting that we’re here at the Tear Drop, because the creator of this structure was the Russian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli. In the darkness after 9/11, this monument helped to bring peace and the light of hope to the many people [inaudible] here. We now wish to pay that forward, back to the Russian people and the families of the Alexandrov Ensemble.
May the serenity and hope that I feel when I am here be conveyed back to the people of Russia. Music has meaning, and this quote from Billy Joel conveys that better than anything I could ever say: “I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by, no matter where we are from, everyone loves music.” It is times like this that we are neither Americans nor Russians, nor Syrians, but we are just human beings who genuinely wish peace and happiness to one another.
Once again, I will try to convey my thoughts in Russian. I’ve been practicing and hopefully this gets it through: [Russian remark].
It is now my honor to introduce Mr. Kevin Maynor. He has sung with the Metropolitan Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and many others. Mr. Maynor was the first apprentice artist from the West to study at the Bolshoi in Moscow, where he studied and sang. He will now also share a few words with you.
Kevin Maynor: Thank you. [Sings Russian folk song “Still One Star”] I don’t think anybody can talk about the Alexandrov Ensemble, the great Russian Army Chorus, and not think of the great [inaudible] that was meant to encourage, sung by the Volga boatmen. I think of the Volga boatmen and the Volga River, which I had the pleasure of seeing in the year 2000-2001 upon my return to Russia. My first experience of 1979-1980, and the Russian people embraced me with a certain kind of love that I will never, ever forget. I love them dearly, from the bottom of my heart. There’s no bass in the world — no bass in the world — no singing bass, that does not admire the training and the beauty of the great Russian basses and the great Russian singers. I think these people and the contributions they have made to the world, regardless of the confusions and the politics that might be involved between countries, one thing for sure, music, it is true, it is the healing source. It is the language that we all speak and understand. And when we don’t understand one another, we learn to appreciate, which is the key, actually, to bringing people closer together, appreciation for one another.
I want to take the time to sing for you a spiritual, one that was sung by the great Paul Robeson, who was a great singer, one that many admire — certainly the Russian people admire. He sang this song amongst them, and I want to sing it for you all: It’s called There Is a Balm in Gilead.
God bless the Alexandrov Ensemble. God bless their mission. God bless all of you who are gathered here, today.
Captain Haiber: Thank you Mr. Maynor. I do have to say, that is probably the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard. Thank you.
Helga Zepp-LaRouche: I extend my greetings to all of you gathered today to commemorate the lives of the 92 passengers and crew, who died when the Russian TU 154 crashed into the Black Sea on December 25th, 2016. Sixty-four singers of the Alexandrov Ensemble, plus the crew of the plane, members of the Russian military, Russian journalists and the beloved relief worker Dr. Elizaveta Glinka all perished that winter night, while flying to give Christmas comfort and cheer to soldiers who were battling to liberate Syria from the terrorist scourge of ISIS.
Each of the people on that plane was like the Good Samaritan that Schiller writes about in his Kallias essays On the Beautiful. In Schiller’s story, several people stopped by the side of the road to help the injured man, but some asked for money, some wanted recognition, and to put down others who didn’t stop; but only one person stopped, and very naturally and happily put down his own load, to carry the injured man without a second thought for himself.
In 2020, the world will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the defeat of the Nazi terror in May of 1945. At that time, people vowed, “Never Again!” And now, 75 years later, mankind again is threatened with the danger of cultural decadence and even potentially a great war. As Schiller said, it is only through aesthetic education through great classical art that the ennoblement of man can occur. It is time that mankind grew into a new paradigm where, as Shelley and Schiller proposed, the poets and artists become the natural leaders of the age.
Diane Sare: Good morning, now speaking on behalf of the Schiller Institute NYC Chorus, I would like to say that a chorus is a very special thing. It is a group of diverse individuals, who discover through the art of a great composer that their diversity becomes their strength.
Our chorus had existed for just two years when I received the news on Christmas Day 2016 of the crash of the Red Army Chorus, and it was like getting punched in the stomach. Some of us quickly enlisted the help of a Russian-American chorus member to pronounce the words to the Russian National Anthem, and we went to the Consulate and sang it outside on the sidewalk.
I learned that the NYPD Ceremonial Unit had been deeply moved by the Ensemble at the Military Bands Tattoo in Quebec City in 2011, which had happened to fall on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. A wonderful baritone, Grigory Osipov sang God Bless America, which they performed as a gift to the NYPD Ceremonial Unit, and a young boy came and presented the director, Lt. Tony Giorgio, with a single white rose. You will see Osipov’s name on the list of those who perished in that terrible crash.
The United States, Russia, and Syria have all suffered the devastating effects of terrorism, but I am optimistic that perhaps the warm weather here this year may be a sign of the warmth of the friendship that our nations and peoples may share in our musical dialogue.
Father Fencik: The Church teaches us that as long as we keep a person’s memory alive, they are still with us. It is traditional at the end of any memorial service that the hymn Eternal Memory is sung, and the Russian hymn. So we will conclude this memorial service with the prayer for the departed and the singing of the memorial hymn.
O God of spirits and all flesh, who has conquered Satan and vanquished death, and granted life to your world, Lord give rest to the souls of your faithfully departed servants. in a peaceful, serene place, from which all pain and sorrow and sighing are absent. As the good and gracious God Who loves mankind, forgive all transgressions committed by them in word or in thought, voluntarily as a human frailty. There is no man living who does not sin. You alone are without sin. Your truth is truth for eternity, your word alone reality. For you are the Resurrection, the Life and the Repose for your departed servants, Oh Christ, our God. We rend You glory together, Eternal Father, holy gracious and life-creating Spirit, always now and ever, and forever. Amen.
In blessed repose grant eternal rest, Oh Lord, to the souls of Your departed servants. Make eternal their memories, Vechnaya pamyat! [Eternal memory!]
On November 9th, Schiller Institute activists and supporters in Houston, Texas came together to celebrate Friedrich Schiller’s 260th Birthday. In what has become an annual tradition in Houston, the afternoon of music, poetry and drama welcomed many participants, and was again held at Houston’s beautiful and cozy French language and cultural center.
This year some 60 people joined in our celebration, including those who were brought by friends or family. The number of new guests was striking, and many expressing their happiness at finding something that lifted them above the ugliness of everyday events.
In preparation, there had been a discussion as to how we could make this year’s celebration a means, providing our friends and activists with the tools they need, to also help elevate others above the ugliness and banality of the culture we are otherwise surrounded by. As a result, our Schillerfest was organized as a thoroughly composed afternoon of music, poetry and drama (not to mention good food), with this idea in mind. Among the highlights were classical poems in Russian, German, and Chinese presented by native speakers, who have become active with the Schiller Institute.
The afternoon began with an introduction by Houston Schiller Institute representative Brian Lantz, noting the triple anniversary of the 260th birthday of Friedrich Schiller, the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the 35th anniversary of the founding of the Schiller Institute. Schiller himself had embarked upon a vigorous organizing campaign, to provide an aesthetic education of his fellow men and women, recruiting allies and collaborators, a process that continues today. His writings – such as “On the Aesthetic Education of Man” and “Theatre as a Moral Institution” reached around the globe, as did his plays, poems and histories. They were taken to heart by Pushkins’s circles in Russia, the circles of Keats and Shelly in England, and influencing education reform in China from the beginning of the 20th century down to today. Fredrick Douglas, the great American abolitionist, former slave, orator, author, diplomat and friend of Abraham Lincoln, writing in his newspaper, North Star, named Schiller “the poet of freedom,” and “one of us.” It was then Beethoven’s 9th symphony, set to Schiller’s poem “Ode to Joy” that was performed in Berlin, in celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall 30 years ago. So the world has indeed been moved, shaped and made better by a poet, through “mere words.” So we are reminded that we are not animals, wedded to sense perception. We communicate instead in terms of discovered great ideas and principles which we apply willfully and freely to transform the world.
Houston Schiller Institute Community Chorus.
The Houston Schiller Chorus opened the music program with two four-part choral pieces by Haydn, and a chorale by Bach. This was followed by a very moving aria from Verdi’s setting of Schiller’s “Don Carlo” by our maestro Dorceal Duckens. Dan Leach then introduced a program of poetic works, provoking all to understand—as Shelly and Lyndon LaRouche developed—that what is poetic is not always in verse. This section began with excerpts from Shelley’s ‘A Defense of Poetry”. This was followed by “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty,” Schiller’s “Columbus” in English and German, and “Tree of Fate” by Pushkin in Russian. The first half of the program was closed by the Schiller/Schubert piece “Dithyrambe” and two spirituals, Burleigh’s setting of “Deep River” and “Every Time I Feel the Spirit,” performed by the chorus.
Dorceal Duckens, left, and Dan Leach, right.
After a short intermission, the entire audience reassembled. Everyone indeed stayed to the end of the full program which was about four hours in total. The second half of the program was opened with Schubert’s “Staendchen.” Then were presented two contrasting scenes from Schiller’s dramas. The first scene was the meeting between Queen Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart from the play “Mary Stuart.” In this scene, neither of the main protagonists is able to overcome their own pride and rage and the future of England which could have been secured is lost. The second scene is from “William Tell,” where Gertrude Stauffacher organizes her husband Walter to put freedom before material possessions and to stand up to dictatorship. Both scenes were fully staged, with costumes and memorized dialogue.
Scenes from Schiller’s dramas.
The final part of the program then began with a trio singing Beethoven’s beautiful canon setting of the final words of Schiller’s Maid of Orleans—”Kurz ist der Schmerz; ewig is die Freude”. This was followed by a very moving reading of Beethoven’s “Heiligstadt Testament,” followed by Shakespeare’s Sonnet 66. A Chinese activist then read a poem from the Tang dynasty period of China with the beautiful Chinese characters projected behind her and a classical Chinese instrument playing in the background. The poetry program was completed by a poem by Dan Leach, “Song of the Crab Nebula” with a beautiful image of the Crab Nebula projected behind on the screen.
Throughout, members of the audience were being provoked to recall what they actually already knew: the power of metaphor and of the beautiful. As when experiences and stories are recalled from our childhood, or when we remind ourselves of beautiful parables from the Bible or drawn from secular writings. Or when we recount a few profound lines from the Gettysburg Address of Abraham Lincoln. (Even his name has become a metaphor of sublime.) Or even a snippet of a profound speech by Martin Luther King. These metaphors are the means by which we touch one another, prompting recognition of a higher, unseen principles in a powerful way. Consider the words, “One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.” These ‘mere words’ echoed around the world, and inspire Mankind today!
The beautiful afternoon program was closed by the Houston Schiller Chorus performance of three spirituals, conducted by Maestro Dorceal Duckins. Those spirituals were “Soon Ah Will Be done,” “Give Me Jesus,” and a song which Helga Zepp-LaRouche suggested several years ago for the Belt and Road Initiative, “Get on Board.” That spiritual has become the virtual theme song of the Houston Schiller Institute chorus.
Indeed, as Friedrich Schiller advocated, the individual is awakened to truth through beauty. All the participants in the Houston event experienced that in a some fresh way, as the beauty, metaphors and ironies of great artists were brought to life. As Schiller said of his plays, the intent is that the audience leave the theater better, uplifted persons, and so with poetry and song. So it was with the Houston Schillerfest. So encouraged, these awakening capacities may become subject to the will, to ennoble, and thereby for the exercise of true freedom.
30 years ago 0n November 9, 1989, the Berlin wall came down. The anniversary marks a profound moment today where the irreconcilable differences between the hope expressed in 1989, which is embodied now by the New Paradigm, and the doom of geopolitics are coming to odds. The Schiller Institute in NYC celebrated the coincidence of the Fall of the Wall, Schiller’s birthday and the 35 anniversary of the founding of the Schiller Institute with a triumphant demonstration of beauty, outflanking the degenerate culture still dominating political discourse in the United States and Europe. Helga Zepp-LaRouche keynotes the event, followed by musical offerings from Schubert and Brahms and poetry by Schiller and Shakespeare.
A Three-Fold Anniversary
Address by Helga Zepp-LaRouche
Excerpt from video: “The Lost Chance of 1989”
Schubert/Schiller: Die Hoffnung
Michelle Erin, soprano – Margaret Greenspan, piano – Elliot Greenspan, speaker
Schubert/Schiller: An Emma
John Sigerson, tenor – Margaret Greenspan, piano
Shakespeare: Luciana’s Monologue from Comedy of Errors, Act 3, Scene 2
Max Caspar on Kepler as a Philosophical Mind
Schiller: “Die Teilung der Erde”
Schubert/Schober: “An die Musik”
Lisa Bryce, soprano – Richard Cordova, piano
On Sunday July 28th, the Schiller Institute NYC Chorus gave a concert at the Church of St Anselm and St Roch in the South Bronx. The chorus of about 60, performed four Negro Spirituals (one was an encore) a couple of Spanish hymns (including a popular setting of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” from his Ninth Symphony), two movements from Schubert’s Mass in G, the Sicut Locutus Est from Bach’s Magnificat, and Gradual by Afro-Brazilian composer Jose Mauricio Nunes Garcia. This concert was unique because it came together as a result of a real collaboration between the chorus and the church, which serves a largely Spanish-speaking population from the nearby neighborhood, as well as English-speaking immigrants from various European nations.
The approximately 100 people in attendance rose to their feet in a standing ovation after the chorus performed the William Dawson arrangement of “Soon Ah Will be Done” as an encore. The fact that we included music of an Afro-Brazilian Classical composer in the program, was of particular interest to the priest, who stressed that in his Sunday announcements. The church also prepared an amazing reception. Many members of the church expressed interest in joining the chorus, but hesitation because of difficulty speaking English.
Founder and Co-Director of the Schiller Institute Chorus, Diane Sare.
We look forward to future endeavors in collaboration with this historic church. Here is a story about the church, which, unlike many city churches, is packed with hundreds of people at its 11 am Spanish-language mass. It has an earlier mass in English which is attended by 70-100 people as well. It is related by design to a Byzantine church in Turkey, and has been home to many immigrants for over a century.
A Concert Celebration of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing in Leesburg, Virginia
Close to 100 guests joined the Virginia Schiller Institute Community Chorus for a concert in Leesburg, Virginia on July 21st, to mark the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The event was not just a commemoration of that momentous achievement so many decades ago, but a celebration of and commitment to the next 50 years of human progress.
The chorus opened the concert with an arrangement of Beethoven’s “Die Himmel rühmen des Ewigen Ehre,” (“The Heavens Praise the Glory of Eternity”), after which conductor Megan Beets welcomed the audience, and emphasized that what we celebrate is an event of universal importance—mankind’s first step onto another planetary body, and its establishment as an extraterrestrial species. Humanity’s upcoming return to the Moon with Project Artemis must be the beginning of a new era of our exploration and development of the solar system; one of optimism about our limitless potential for progress. In that context, she referenced NASA’s recently retired Kepler Telescope, which in its 10 years of service surveyed 530,506 stars, and found 2,662 exoplanets, all within our galaxy. Think of the practically infinite potential for humanity’s development given that there are 2 trillion galaxies in our universe! She concluded by telling those gathered that such progress in science must be accompanied by a return to a culture of beauty, which celebrates and advances the creative spark inherent in every individual.
Bass Aaron Leathers.
The first half of the concert began with a poem written and recited by Paul Gallagher, “The Sensitive Plant on the Moon,” followed by a number of solo offerings, including songs aboutthe moon and the heavens: “Song to the Moon” by Dvořák, “Mondnacht” (Moonlit Night) by Robert Schumann, “My Lord, What a Mornin’” arr. by H.T. Burleigh; a movement of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14, known as the “Moonlight Sonata”; other offerings included “Da, chas nastal” by Tsaikovsky with text by Schiller, and a number of songs which have a relationship to mankind’s exploration of space: “Goin’ Home” the melody of which is from Dvořák’s “New World Symphony,” which Neil Armstrong took to the Moon; the famous “Queen of the Night” aria from Mozart’s Magic Flute,” which has traveled 3.6 billion miles from Earth on the Voyager 1 and 2 Golden Records; and the first and fourth movements of Mozart’s String Quartet No. 19 in C Major (“Dissonance”) which opened Lyndon LaRouche’s famous 1988 presidential campaign broadcast, “The Woman on Mars.”
The second half of the concert featured the chorus and a small string ensemble performing Mozart’s “Solemn Vespers,” K.339.
The audience was composed of a wide variety of people from all over the region—from singers and musicians to community members looking for a way mark the Apollo 11 anniversary, to friends and family of chorus members. As a whole, the audience was clearly moved by both chorus and soloists. Two children, probably 7 and 9 years old, seemed bored and restless when they first arrived, however, much to their mother’s amazement, as soon as the Queen of the Night aria began they sat up straight and were mesmerized by the performance. Many commented on the high level of the chorus, surprised that it is a community chorus, and expressed interest in joining. A local music teacher declared that she wants to recommend the chorus to her students. A regular member of the orchestra said that he was honored to play in the event.
Our three soprano soloists, Gabriela Ramirez-Carr, Stephanie Nelson, and Susan Bowen.
Humanity’s return to human exploration and development of space means that we are embarking on a truly new era of civilization. If we want this to be successful, and to shed the anti-human characteristics of the geopolitical, colonial system, we absolutely must have a renaissance of beautiful and profound works of art. It is the mission of the Schiller Institute, and the Schiller Institute Community Choruses, to give as many people as possible access to such works of art as audiences, and even more so, as participants, by joining the chorus.
On Thursday evening, June 27, 2019, the Egyptian Consulate of Houston sponsored a symposium at the Arab American Cultural & Community Center in Houston, Texas. The Egyptian Consulate requested that the Schiller Institute co-sponsor the event with them. The theme of the Symposium was “Egypt after the Revolution.” The guests in attendance for the event included Consulates from several countries, including Mexico, Greece, and Russia. There were several friends and guest of the Schiller Institute, and representatives from the World Affairs Council, the Arab community in Houston, the Caribbean American Chamber, and a number of people representing the Houston’s energy sector.
Kesha Rogers, Egyptian Consul General Khaled Rizk, and Brian Lantz of the Schiller Institute.
Joining Houston Consul General of Egypt, the Honorable Khaled Rizk, was Brian Lantz, speaking for the Schiller Institute. Brian and the Schiller Institute’s bold perspective uplifted both the audience and the conference organizers.
Following an introduction, Consul General Rizk spoke and gave prepared remarks which reviewed the efforts of Egypt’s government, led by President El-Sisi to stabilize and rapidly grow Egypt’s economy after the “second revolution.” Consul General Rizk reviewed the ensuing rapid pace of developments since 2013, including future projects now underway, which include the new administrative capital, the industrial zones along the Suez. He also highlighted the new offshore natural gas discoveries and prospects for natural gas exports.
Brian Lantz took up the role of Egypt as a key leader in the development of the New Silk Road into West Asia and Africa—the emerging new center of world economic development. The Schiller Institute’s reports were featured. In the spirit of Egypt’s earlier role in Bandung Conference and the creation of the Non-Aligned Movement, Egypt is once again playing a leading role in south-south relations and world affairs, Lantz said. Lantz also pointed out the importance of Egypt’s diplomatic efforts, working among all the countries in West Asia and North Africa in particular, for peace and economic development. Lantz cited some of Egypt’s initiatives in Africa, and El-Sisi’s role as the new chairman of the African Union. The African Union is deeply involved in cooperation with the Belt and Road and promoting African integration. Now getting the economics right was stressed by Brian, with an outline of Lyndon LaRouche’s principles of physical economy. Africa’s emerging renaissance was thereby highlighted, with its population potential and such mega projects as Grand Inga and Transaqua.
Prior to the presentations there was a reception where people were given the opportunity to talk informally. Likewise, there was a great deal of lively discussion following the presentations. There was recognition and great respect for Lyn expressed by a number of people. A leader of the Arabic community told Brian he had been reading LaRouche’s material for years, exclaiming, “He is a genius. ” Another person, an Indian-American engineer, was very happy to hear of our work in support of the BRI and also volunteered his respect for LaRouche over the years. An Hispanic business women who saw our Silk Road report was so excited: she participated in an art contest as a student, and won first prize for a drawing of the original photograph of the Silk Road and camels, pictured on our original report.
The Schiller Institute participation in the event was very important and timely given the rapid pace of developments around the BRI and the growing recognition of Lyndon and Helga’s role in bringing about this beautiful new paradigm, as we have seen also with the recent events in San Francisco. The Schiller Institute was also an invited speaker at a Chinese consular event in Houston last week, for an audience high school students, with teachers, some media, and consular officials attending.
In the midst of a flare-up of tensions between the US and China, sparked by the Anglo-American establishment’s fierce commitment to drive a wedge between the two nations, the Schiller Institute held a forum on June 15 in the Los Angeles area to promote the idea of cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
The session was opened by a movement from a composition for unaccompanied violin by J.S. Bach, performed by a student from the Los Angeles County High School of the Arts. This was followed by a five minute video of Schiller Institute founder and chairperson Helga Zepp-LaRouche, who greeted the attendees and provided a strategic context for the meeting. She deplored the recent nasty provocations being directed at China by some notorious political factions in the US, and presented a vision of an alternative path, where the US and China lead the world into the future based on the highest cultural and scientific principles, and the most ambitious infrastructure scheme in human history, the BRI.
Zepp-LaRouche was followed by Shi Yuanqiang, deputy consul general for the People’s Republic of China in Los Angeles. Shi provided a very thorough explication of the goals and structure of the BRI, stressing that there is extensive consultation between China and the other nations participating in the project, that all parties participate as equals and share in the benefits. He provided examples of the projects that are being built with Chinese collaboration in Africa and Central Asia, and elaborated on President Xi Jinping’s vision of a “Community of Common Destiny”, a mutually beneficial, “Win-Win” relationship among nations. Shi emphasized that there was a place at the table for the United States.
Following Shi’s presentation, there were remarks by Richard Chen, a board member of the US-China Forum who had acted as an interpreter for Chairman Deng Xiaoping during his historic visit to the US in 1979. Chen said that the two great accomplishments of the US after the end of World War II were the establishment of the United Nations, and the Marshall Plan. He compared China’s current role with respect to the developing nations, to the Marshall Plan.
The concluding presentation was by Schiller Institute representative Daniel Platt. He opened with an image that juxtaposed two historic paintings, showing Americans and Chinese fighting their respective battles against British colonialism during the American Revolution and the Opium Wars. Platt asserted that the methodology of the Empire, typified by the “Zero-Sum Game” approach of geopolitics, is an “article of faith” for today’s neoconservative movement. To this he contrasted President Xi’s concept of “Win-Win”, or Helga Zepp-LaRouche’s vision of humanity entering adulthood. He discussed the historical parallels between the US and China with Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s embrace of the economic conceptions of Abraham Lincoln, and their shared approach to infrastructure development. He then reviewed the history of the proposals made by Lyndon LaRouche in the years following the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, culminating in the World Landbridge.
Among the eminent personalities who took part in the forum were the consul generals of Kenya and Belgium, as well as consular officials from Armenia and Malaysia, and a large delegation from the PRC consulate.
On June 27, 2019, the Schiller Institute was invited to the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco to honor the life of the great American Statesman Lyndon LaRouche, and to celebrate the common aims of both nations and cultures.
Everyone who attended the Open House in Honor ofthe Schiller Institute—as each of the three large screens proudlydeclared as you walked into the hall—now know the power andimportance of exonerating Lyndon LaRouche. It was on the faces ofeveryone: a sense of joy, of optimism, of urgency, and a sense ofresponsibility towards the future because such a man, such anAmerica, such a view of the world and of humanity, and such anorganization exist, and at a moment when without a true America,without such a world view, mankind might not survive.
The idea of an event was first initiated with the passing of LaRouchethis past February 12. The consulate was informed soon after,and a meeting between SI reps and the Consul General was held thefollowing week. After an hour plus long discussion with the CGand the Deputy CG ranging from LaRouche’s life and ideas to thestrategic situation, the idea of an event between the SI and theConsulate was proposed.
So, on the very eve of the G20 summit (Putin and Trump wouldbe meeting at 10 pm PT this same night), the SchillerInstitute brought nearly 70 guests to an event hosted by theChina Consulate. To reciprocate thegenerosity of the Consulate, the Schiller Institute broughtBeethoven’s Op. 69 for a universal demonstration on the potentialcollaborative relationship between the U.S. and China with pianoand cello, played at the lower tuning. Including speeches by CGWang and SI rep Mr. Steger, the event set a new standard forcollaboration around the power of LaRouche’s ideas.
The event started with the Deputy Consul General introducingthe Consul General Ambassador Wang Donghua, Schiller Instituterep. Michael Steger, and acknowledging special guests the DCG anda Consul from Vietnam, a member of the Indonesian Consulate, amember of the East-West Accord, and the President of the RussianAmerican Congress, as well as two local Republican leaders.
The Consul General then gave a very hard hitting speechexpressing China’s frustrations on the current trade talks beforetouching on the importance of the BRI. Given the CGs overtpolitical tones, Mike was free to address the broader strategicaspects of the global dynamic, beginning with the introduction ofthe BRI by Xi, in consultation with Putin, during the chaoticcoup in Ukraine, which only indicates the role of the BRI to endthe risk of nuclear war today.
In summary, the importance of the G20, and the BRI asexemplary of a new global system, was on the minds of everyone onthe eve of this critical summit. It is also the 35th anniversaryof the SI, and the 40th anniversary of China-US diplomaticrelations, and the LaRouche view of the next 40 years has neverbeen more important. There is a long history of the U.S. andChina, from Columbus’ voyage of the Italian Renaissance (nb:Columbus is honored with massive stone statue on Telegraph Hillin S.F. looking east across the GG bridge to China), to BenFranklin printing sections of Confucius Analects in the Gazette,to Lincoln’s appointment of Ambassador Burlingame to China, toGrant’s tour of China, and his identification then of China’scoming dominance of the global economy, to FDRs insistence thatno foreign ships would enter Chinese ports after the defeat ofJapan, and this true history of the U.S. and China makes thepoint that this is the real America, the LaRouche America, and itwas this that the American people are calling for today, howeverdarkly through the mirror.
China’s development is a modern miracle and the BRI is aprecious contribution to the world that must be grasped now. FDRwanted to extend U.S. production to develop the world, but hislegacy was nearly destroyed. It was Lyndon LaRouche who picked upthis fight for global development after WWII, and today, it isChina who is making this offer, this precious gift for a newsystem of collaboration, of sovereignty, of space exploration. Asa Russian scientist once said, space exploration makes most clearthe nature of economy, that money is worthless. Energy, water,infrastructure, science and culture are paramount for a newglobal system, on Earth and on the Moon. This is the BRI, it is agreat gift to the world that must be adopted by the U.S., and itis the very essence of the true U.S. legacy of Lincoln andLaRouche.
It’s our job to organize the American people toinsist that it is adopted, otherwise the corruption in Washington willcrush any potential for a breakthrough. It is not only up to theleaders, but up to us to create a new culture of development.
There was strong applause for both speeches and the DCGwishfully referred to Mike as the representative of the Americanpeople, before introducing the music.
Before the music began, we quickly asked for collaboratorson the music of China, and in the course of the evening we met amusic teacher, one of the very first students of piano after thecultural revolution, who wants to work on Chinese music for fourhands with My-Hoa! We also met a violinst/violist who plays forthe SF Ballet, a friend of one of the Consuls, so we areconspiring for future collaborations, and intend to make moreclassical Chinese pieces available in western notation.
My-Hoa and Andres then played Mo Li Hua or Jasmine Flower onkeyboard and cello, in honor of our guests,before a lively rendition (without repeats) of Op. 69. Uncertain,the audience gave a standing ovation after the first movement,but once aware, were absolutely silent after the second, allowingthe adagio cantabile of the opening of the third movement tostrike the harmonious chord of collaboration that Beethovenintended.
It was now a festive celebration, with food, discussion, andhumorous delight often brought by the DCG, our leading contact.The SI brought a cross section of people, from our more eccentriccontacts to a range of young people, blue collar Americans, manyFacebook contacts within the Chinese community in S.F., a leadingretired Pakistani journalist, and all, young and old, leftbeaming.
The Consul General, and his staff of twenty or so, mingledand talked with all of the guests for over an hour. There was along discussion with the Indonesian representative on thepolitical culture of the U.S. going back to the culturalrevolution and the importance of classical culture, where nationsadopt a profound mission. Both she and the Vietnamese DCG wereinterested in holding future events with the SI. The Russianassociated contacts who came were struck by the optimism, becamemuch more educated on who we are, and one is planning to sign forexoneration.
At the end, the Consul General said good-bye and said he was very touched. Wehad brought LaRouche’s America to the representatives of China, andthey were profoundly overwhelmed with joy. When asked by his DCGif we should do this once every two years, he said, “Once a year,at least!”
To those of us in the SI, it comes as no surprise that Lyndon’s personality and vision have such an overwhelming effect, but wealso know that it is not always so easy to convey. In this case,we feel triumphant in our attempt at such a historic moment, andintend to carry that spirit into our work, outreach, andfollow-up in the critical days and weeks ahead.
On Sunday May 5th, the Schiller Institute NYC Chorus performed the Mozart Solemn Vespers, African-American Spirituals, and Verdi at a concert dedicated to the memory of Lyndon LaRouche in Little Italy of the Bronx. The chorus was joined by five professional soloists and orchestra, and everything, except the Bach organ prelude was performed at the Verdi tuning of c=256 Hz.
250-300 people turned out in the pouring rain to hear this wonderful program, which opened with the church organist playing a Bach organ prelude, and ended with Italian Opera arias sung by the soloists. Although there were several young children in the crowd, there was not a sound, except applause, which erupted after the first amen in the Vespers. One person commented that the Vespers was performed in such a transparent way that the genius of Mozart leapt out at him—the orchestra playing counterpoint to the chorus, as another voice, and not a unison.
Having everyone’s best loved Italian Opera arias sung by African-American, Chinese, and Greek soloists definitely demonstrated the universal quality of great music, and thrilled the Italian-Americans in the audience, and several were heard to be singing along by the end.
Also in attendance was the Ambassador from Sri Lanka to the UN, who was recognized by the priest and by Dennis Speed in his welcoming remarks, who expressed a dedication to the memory of those who had perished in the Easter massacres in Sri Lanka, killing over 300 people, including children in Sunday School. In dedicating the concert to Lyndon LaRouche, Dennis quoted from LaRouche’s review of the Mozart opera La Clemenza di Tito, and spoke of Lyndon’s critical insights and support for the choral process in Manhattan.
“All Classical art speaks directly to you, as an individual personality; it addresses the question each of us must ask ourselves at some point in our lives, or perhaps even repeatedly,
‘Who am I, and what are we? Since we are all born, and shall die, what is the meaning of that individual existence we occupy between birth and death? What is the continuation of that life, even after we are dead?’ Thus, great Classical art touches the same issues as Christianity and the themes of Judaism treated by the great Moses Mendelssohn.
“So, Mozart speaks to you personally, through La Clemenza di Tito, from the operatic stage. “Mozart does not preach; he evokes the experience of the discovery of the principle of agapë within the cognitive experience of the individual member of the audience, by means of the unfolding, ironical development within the drama as a whole. In the history of Christianity, for example, it has been the similar re-experiencing of the Passion of Christ from Gethsemane through and beyond the Crucifixion, which has been the artistic quality of reliving that impassioned experience upon which the strength of Christianity has depended. There is perhaps no more conclusive demonstration of that, than is supplied by J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion.
“…At the time of his death, and earlier, Mozart was essentially a leading Christian of his time, as his Ave Verum Corpus expresses this principle of Classical artistic composition with wonderful succinctness.”
The chorus, now in its 5th year, has 80 members from Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and northern NJ, and the singers range in age from 27 to 89, and include college students, young professionals and retired people, a Chinese concert pianist, and a Bishop from a Church in Harlem, who also speaks German. They have all developed over the years, to the point that new members often flee, intimidated by the quality of the Manhattan rehearsal, and we have to call them back and assure them that many of the people they think sound so good, also couldn’t read music when they joined. (And many still can’t.)
The audience was largely from the neighborhood of the church, which is a very well-known Italian area, and has Italian shops, restaurants and bakeries which have been in the same families for over a century, in several cases. Italian-Americans from all over Westchester County, NJ and Connecticut come here to get their favorite Italian foods. These shop owners have been regular patrons of the chorus, buying ads in our programs for the last 3 years, and always asking us, “When are you going to hold a concert in the Bronx???” They were thrilled that we finally were at their church, Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
The associate priest, who is from Ghana, loved every minute of the concert and asked us to come back. When we said, “Yes, maybe next year.” He said, “I wish you could be here every day!”
Video coming soon!
To find out more about the NYC Schiller Institute Chorus, visit sinycchorus.com.
At the Dawn of a Musical Revolution:
Mozart’s Solemn Vespers
The following was written by Schiller Institute music director, John Sigerson, who conducted the May 5 performance in New York City.
By the time he composed the Vesperae solennes de confessore in 1780, the 24-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was already a vastly accomplished composer who had produced 14 masses and hundreds of other works. Yet in this work, a setting of one of the most ancient offices of the Catholic Church, we experience vigorous new buds of a musical and scientific revolution—a revolution that today is making it possible to raise all humanity “out of the dust, and lift the needy out of the dunghill” (Psalm 113, “Laudate pueri”).
For today, we can celebrate the fact that the nation of Italy, cradle of the high Florentine Renaissance and of the Church, has reached out to officially join with history’s greatest movement to eliminate poverty worldwide, China’s “New Silk Road” or “Belt and Road” initiative, a policy grounded in Confucian principles which resonate with those of the best of the Western Christian humanist tradition.
“But wait a minute!” you might be saying to yourself. “How could a revolution in music possibly launch an economic plan to eliminate poverty worldwide?” The answer is both simple and complex: We are all human, and unlike other animals and inanimate things, our ability to make breakthroughs in our spiritual grasp of universal principles governing the created universe, enables us physically to devise new technologies, and also new forms of culture, to harness those principles for the betterment of all mankind. Every truly great physical scientist, from Nicholas of Cusa and Kepler to Einstein and Vernadsky, every great physical economist from Gottfried Leibniz and Alexander Hamilton to Lyndon LaRouche, and every great Classical composer from J.S. Bach to Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms, well knew that connection.
The nature of what is best termed the Mozart-Haydn Revolution in Music, in fact occurred about two years after Mozart composed the Vespers, i.e. in 1781-82, when Mozart, who had just moved his family to Vienna, participated in discussions with Josef Haydn and others at the salon of Baron van Swieten, who from Berlin had brought back manuscripts of the virtually suppressed works of Johann Sebastian Bach. For both Mozart and Haydn, the explosive impact of Bach’s works such as The Musical Offering and The Art of the Fugue unleashed “a new way of composing” (in Haydn’s words), based not on melodic forms, but rather on more fundamental elements underlying those forms. This new method has been described by Norbert Brainin, the late first violinist of the legendary Amadeus Quartet, as Motivführung, or motivic thorough-composition; it frees all the voices in a composition to generate new forms in such a way, that it is not the sounds of the music—however pleasant they may be—but rather the underlying, soundless musical/poetic ideas which govern the development.
Returning to Mozart’s 1780 Vespers, in hindsight we see here the buds that bore that rich fruit, in relation both to J.S. Bach, but also to Mozart’s older friend Josef Haydn.
Take, for example, the second piece in the series, “Confitebor,” a setting of Psalm 111. Anyone who has heard J.S. Bach’s famous cantata “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme” will immediately hear this echoed in the opening bars of the “Confitebor,” which also happens to be in the same key of E-flat Major. Had Mozart seen or heard that cantata? Probably not in performance. The original Lutheran hymn with that melody was first published in 1599 by Philipp Nicolai, and stood in many Lutheran hymnals. But more likely, is that it was suggested to Mozart directly, via a member of Bach’s large family which extended throughout Europe.
Consider this: In April 1778, J.S. Bach’s fourth son, Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach, traveled along with his own son Wilhelm to London, where he met up with his brother, Johann Christian Bach. Two years later, in 1780, J.C.F. Bach composed his own cantata “Wachet auf” as a tribute to his father, further developing its theme. We can only speculate that when he met his brother in London two years earlier, his plans to compose it were already ripening, and that it formed part of their discussions.
Now pursue the trail further: Five months later, in August 1778, Johann Christian Bach traveled to France, where he met 22-year-old Mozart at the estate of Louis, Maréchal de Noailles. (France had recognized the new American republic in April 1778; de Noailles was a backer of the American war against the British Empire, and his granddaughter’s husband had joined with Lafayette in George Washington’s army.) J.C. Bach, then 42, was a long-time mentor and friend of Mozart, having first met him in 1764 when Mozart’s father took the eight-year-old prodigy to London. Much later, Mozart’s sister Nannerl recollected that
“Herr Johann Christian Bach, music master of the queen, took Wolfgang between his knees. He would play a few measures; then Wolfgang would continue. In this manner they played entire sonatas. Unless you saw it with your own eyes, you would swear that just one person was playing.”
Could J.C. Bach have suggested the “Wachet auf” theme that his brother was working on, to his younger friend? Perhaps, perhaps not, but the facts alone already give an idea of the rich interpenetration of ideas among Europe’s greatest musical minds. The Vesperae solennes, far from being a “solemn” work which its title might suggest, is bubbling with optimism and kernels of ideas which he developed in his later works, especially his operas. In fact, these little idea-lets fly by so quickly, that one scarcely has time to take one in, before yet another cascades in.
In part, this lack of time to develop ideas was an evil from which Mozart was already plotting to escape, namely from the Bishop of Salzburg’s strict edict that no work of sacred music last longer than 30 minutes! Fortunately, we today do not have to adhere to the Bishop’s arbitrary rule, and so we shall take a bit longer than that, in the hope that you may manage to take in as many snatches as possible of these great ideas.