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A Celebration: Robert Burns – Friend of Freedom

Robert Burns – Friend of Freedom
Join us for a birthday celebration.
Sunday, January 24th, 6:00 pm EST

As the story goes, in 1793, at a private dinner in England, when the host proposed the health of William Pitt [first prime minister of Great Britain], the poet said, sharply, “Let us drink the health of a greater and better man – George Washington.” As the Schiller Institute Chorus takes its name from the Poet of Freedom, Friedrich Schiller, let us celebrate another friend of the human freedom, Robert Burns, born on January 25, 1759. 

English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, in his essay, “A Defense of Poetry,” established  that, in fact, it is the poets, who are the unacknowledged legislators of the world. In a moment as tumultuous as our present time, it is ever more important that we understand and develop in ourselves that poetic power capable of changing the course of human history for the better. 

Join us in a celebration of the immortal life of Robert Burns through his own works and those of others; to help demonstrate that power of poetry and culture in strengthening the human spirit, to not only face adversity, but to overcome it with a greater good.


We plan to demonstrate how Burns fulfilled the great German poet, Friedrich Schiller’s demand, that a poet be both a patriot of his nation and citizen of the world.  Please join us for an evening of song, poetry, and history, to advance the cause and the joy of true human freedom.

“A great poet is the most precious jewel of a nation.
Ludwig van Beethoven


Lift Every Voice: Towards a Renaissance of Classical Culture

On Friday, January 25, the Schiller Institute Houston Community Chorus invited members of the community to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at an event in southwest Houston.

Texas Schiller Institute spokesman Brian Lantz opened the event highlighting the shifts occurring globally towards greater cooperation, and that Dr. King knew the only way to create a durable peace was through the reconciliation of differences and non-violent cooperation, even if some attempt to stifle it. He described how King saw cooperation through the idea of agapic, unconditional love for humanity, as expressed in the first Corinthians. Dr. King was an avid lover of classical music and opera, as was his wife, Coretta Scott King, a trained pianist and classical singer.

bl-opening

Texas Schiller Institute head Brian Lantz’s opening remarks on Dr. King.

The chorus opened the concert with a four part polyphony of the anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, followed by a collage of short audio speeches by Dr. King. The program continued with four selections from the Mozart Vespers, Mozart’s “Ave Verum Corpus”, a traditional Chinese folk song, “Jasmine flower” (Mo Li Hua), and a number of spiritual selections, one of which was led by tenor Brian Lantz.  Among the highlights of the evening were the solo spiritual performances of  “Go Down Moses” sung by Maestro Dorceal Duckens, and “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” sung by Kesha Rogers.

Maestro Dorceal Duckens singing 'Go Down Moses'.

Maestro Dorceal Duckens singing ‘Go Down Moses’.

The audience was truly transformed by the power of the music and the selection of clips from Dr. King intertwined. At the end of the event the audience was asked to stand and cross arms and join in in singing “We Shall Overcome.”

The Houston Schiller Institute Community Chorus.

The Houston Schiller Institute Community Chorus.

Newer members to the chorus expressed how happy they were to sing with the chorus.  Everyone was overjoyed by the experience and you had a sense that the concert had a transforming quality on everyone. It was not just entertainment, and no one left the room as the same person they were when they entered.


Virginia Schiller Institute Chorus Rings in the New Year

On January 1st, the Virginia Schiller Institute Community Chorus continued its tradition of ringing in the New Year with a concert of Classical music in Leesburg, VA. Megan Beets, director of the chorus, opened the concert quoting Friedrich Schiller, “Live with your century, but be not its creature; give to your contemporaries, but what they need, not what they praise…. Your own nobility will awaken theirs, and their unworthiness will not defeat your purpose.”  She challenged the audience with Schiller’s maxim that a beautiful culture is not an option, but that beauty and the beautiful character is a necessary condition for mankind. She also reminded the audience of the true context in which we welcome the new year,

Virginia Schiller Institute Choral Director, Megan Beets

Virginia Schiller Institute Choral Director, Megan Beets

“…we are in a period of great change and transformation for all mankind. The old order of empire and war is collapsing as we speak, and new possibilities for the future of humanity are coming to the fore–for example, the fact that a little over 12 hours ago, a little space craft from planet Earth called “New Horizons”  flew by and gathered data from an an object in the farthest reaches of our solar system, over 4 billion miles away. Or that in the next day or two, a little spacecraft from planet Earth called “Chang’e 4”, launched by China, will attempt the first-ever landing on the far side of the Moon.”

With this introduction, the 90+ minute program began, a lively mix of offerings by the chorus and musician friends, including vocal and instrumental soloists. The chorus performed Spirituals, two pieces from Handel’s Messiah, and two “Glorias”—one a chorale from Bach’s Wachet Auf and the other from Beethoven’s Mass in C. Other offerings included Bach solo strings—one each for violin, viola, and cello; the first movement of Dvorak’s “American” string quartet; a Mozart trio from Cosi fan tutte; a trumpet air from a Bach cantata; and vocal solos including a Schumann lied, Russian folk songs, and Burleigh’s “Honor! Honor!”

The audience, 100 people (with roughly 50 musicians on top of that) was diverse mix of teachers, musicians, students, former local politicians, friends of the church, and others who had seen the concert advertised in shops and in newspapers. Attentive and engaged throughout the entire 90+ minute event, the general response from the audience was one of awe. Many attendees, coming to hear music, were struck by the directors opening remarks and how fitting they are for today’s times. “I can’t believe what I heard and saw, this was wonderful, I could hardly keep from crying!”, reported a local businesswoman and former federal government employee who came off a weekly paper ad. “Awesome! Such diverse talents! Diverse community too!” “Wonderful way to begin the year. Thank you so much!”

audience

Several of the soloists who performed also reiterated their appreciation for the opportunity to work the Schiller Institute. One soloist, inspired by the Schiller Institute’s “top-down” approach to thinking about global events and culture, and moved by Michelle Fuchs’ two Russian pieces, decided she would also start working on Russian songs as a way to share their culture with Americans. Another soloist said, “I wouldn’t miss these concerts for anything, they have become very special to me.” And a third soloist, “I’ve been watching this group; the tone of it is improving every time I hear it, it’s getting pretty good.”

The reception afterwards was festive and celebratory, with audience members expressing their gratitude towards the Schiller chorus for uplifting their state of mind, and creating such a memorable cultural impact in their community.

For more information on the Virginia Schiller Institute Community Chorus, contact va.chorus@schillerinstitute.org.


Friedrich Schiller Birthday Celebration Concert

On November 18, 2018, the Schiller Institute NYC Chorus performed a concert at St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York City in celebration of Friedrich Schiller’s birthday. The concert included performances of Bach, Brahms, spirituals, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasia, Op. 80, and Beethoven’s Mass in C, Op. 86.

“It is my view that only if we reinstate a beautiful image of Man and celebrate this in the highest forms of Classical music, Classical poetry, beautiful painting, that we can get Mankind back its dignity. And therefore, at this joyful occasion of Schiller’s birthday, in a very tumultuous environment, and very tumultuous situation, the world is more in need of a Classical Renaissance than ever. So join the Schiller Institute, and the chorus, and let us create a better human civilization.”
Helga Zepp-LaRouche, excerpt from concert program

We hope you enjoy and are inspired to act with us by this beautiful performance.

Part One

Part Two


Songs of the New Silk Road Concert in Quincy, Massachusetts

On Sunday, December 9th, 2018, the Schiller Boston Community Chorus hosted a classical music concert at Christ Church in Quincy, MA, which featured music from Russia, China, the United States, Europe and more.  The intention of this concert was to bring together the cultures that are involved in, or should be involved in, the Belt and Road Initiative, and to demonstrate the universality of beauty and the principle of Classical composition.

Ana Maria Ugarte and Brian Landry.

Ana Maria Ugarte and Brian Landry.

The musical program was a beautiful mix of pieces and was introduced by Director of the Boston Schiller Community Chorus, Jen Pearl, who spoke of the urgent need for a Classical Renaissance, challenging people to think big, referencing the Chang e-4 launch (China’s latest mission to land a rover on the far side of the Moon).

The concert was opened by operatic tenor Brian Landry, who drew people in with Messiah’s “Comfort ye” and “Every Valley.”  The program included Brian and his wife, contralto, Ana Maria Ugarte, performing the duet “Gesu Bambino”and solos including “Deep River,” “Oh Holy Night,” and “Ave Maria”. The chorus and New Paradigm octet performed several Spirituals, Schumann’s Bankelsanger Willie, and Dem Dunkeln Schoss der heilge Erde, by Brahms. Other soloists included Michelle Erin Fuchs from the Schiller NYC Chorus performing a hauntingly beautiful rendition of “I wonder as I wander,” the Appalachian spiritual by John Jacob Niles and two beautiful Russian folk songs.  Also a performance by a Jinghu player and a special treat, a Chinese soprano who performed two beautiful Chinese songs in her very light and high trained bel canto voice.

Among the 65 or so attendees were old friends, new friends just met at various Tree Lighting ceremonies and Christmas markets, members and leaders of the church congregations and networks with whom we have collaborated in various Chinese organizations, who expressed interest in our work on the New Silk Road and their strong wish for Americans to get on board with this optimistic and future oriented perspective. One attendee, upon realizing that some of the chorus member’s young children were able to sit through the entire concert and enjoy it, offered to bring their grandchildren to the next concert.

Donna Liao sings Chinese folk songs with bel canto technique.

Donna Liao sings Chinese folk songs with bel canto technique.

The mother of one of our members said our concert was much better and more high quality than a recent professional group she saw perform Faure’s Requiem (which she hated).  One very new chorus member brought five family members. The Chinese Jinghu player expressed disbelieve in how in-tune our chorus was, and how difficult it is for the opera group he performs with to stay in tune.  One woman in the audience said “you all are a real asset to this community.”  A Chinese father, who generally supports Xi Jinping, but also has been a bit skeptical, brought his young daughter to the concert and was moved by how passionately some of our chorus members conveyed the ideas of the music. He has been at a few events, read up on the Schiller Institute, and after the concert expressed renewed optimism saying the Belt and Road Initiative is having a very positive effect on the world.

Jinghu player.

Dr. Qingen Ke playing the Jinghu.

A number of people were curious about the New Silk Road and one woman collected extra concert programs to send to her son in South Carolina, who’s a minister.  A group of three old friends who worked with the LaRouche movement in the 1990s and resurfaced for this event, expressed what many in the audience and chorus was sensing, that in these difficult times events like these are essential to uplift the minds and spirits of our people.

The reverberations are still coming in from this concert.   Our chorus here is committed to grow and spread the rays of great classical ideas throughout our community. The potential for growth is massive, as there is a real hunger for profundity out there and a desire to connect our very diverse population, with a large Asian component, through that creative potential which is universally human.

 

For more information about the Boston Schiller Institute Chorus, contact schillerbostonchorus@gmail.com.

 


Friedrich Schiller Birthday Concert: Awakening the Mind and Heart

by Dennis Speed

When the G-20 meeting opens in Buenos Aires on November 30, will Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fantasia for Piano, Orchestra and Chorus, Op. 80, be the piece chosen for the opening ceremony? It would be well recommended. That piece was the center of the Schiller Institute’s Friedrich Schiller Birthday Celebration Concert, held in New York City on Sunday, November 18.

The Fantasia, Beethoven’s earlier study for what he would later compose as the Ninth Symphony, also referred to as the “Choral” Symphony, would prompt a far different, far more productive political deliberation at that upcoming conference—involving Presidents Putin, Trump and Xi Jinping, among others—than was sadly witnessed at the Nov. 11 Paris Summit. In Paris, despite the gravity and importance of the occasion—the commemoration of the end of World War I, a conflict resulting in 40 million deaths and casualties, followed by another 50 million deaths in the ensuing Great Flu Epidemic of 1918-1920—the pre-pubescent snit of the erstwhile host, President Emmanuel “Micron” Macron, prevented any war-avoidance discussions from taking place.

Dennis Speed, speaking on behalf of the Schiller Institute at the beginning of the Schiller Birthday Celebration Concert, began:

Ludwig van Beethoven once made the statement: “If people understood my music better, there would be no war.” Confucius is sometimes quoted to the same effect. He stated, “When music and courtesy are better understood and appreciated, there will be no war.” One week ago today, an opportunity to commit humanity to a new vision of a world without war was lost. The gathering last week in Paris, on the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, bringing together 60 heads of state, failed to focus humanity on the common aims of mankind, as it might have. Friedrich Schiller’s famous comment regarding the French Revolution, that a great moment has found a little people, need not have been applicable to that occasion. [And] It need not be applicable to this moment, or any future moment in time. Man, as Schiller tells us, is greater than his destiny.

Speed also referred to a passage in The Federalist, No. 1, written by Alexander Hamilton. After the American Revolution successfully challenged and beat the British Empire, Hamilton wrote, in The Federalist, No. 1:

It has been frequently remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force. If there be any truth in the remark, the crisis at which we are arrived may with propriety be regarded as the era in which that decision is to be made; and a wrong election of the part we shall act may, in this view, deserve to be considered as the general misfortune of mankind.

The New York Concert

Many comments received from the more than 400-person audience and the 160-strong orchestra and chorus indicate that the process of dialogue about the nature and function of great ideas in a time of crisis, conveyed through great drama and music, has taken a significant step forward among those continuously involved in this enterprise in recent months.

While political partisanship has made serious discussion in New York City very difficult, the highly diverse audience that assembled at St. Bartholomew’s Church to hear African-American Spirituals, Johannes Brahms’ “Dem dunkeln Schoss,” and the Beethoven Mass in C Major, op. 86 and Choral Fantasia, op. 80, were able collectively to listen to the results—as composed by Beethoven—of a 70-year dialogue involving J.S. Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, about the nature and future of not only music, but the nature and future of mankind. It was this “musical masters in dialogue” principle, including Schiller as part of that dialogue, that was presented as the model for what might be recommended, if not replicated as the standard of discourse required in this most divisive time in our nation.

concert-2

One observation, communicated by an audience member the following day, usefully characterized, not merely the recent concerts performed by the Schiller Institute New York City Chorus, but the three-year long succession of such performances given, more than fifteen in all, throughout the city:

One aspect of … something which has now become characteristic of these NY concerts … is, presenting in a manner that catches the audience off-guard. From the [June 2017 Schiller Chorus performance at the Foundation for the Revival of Classical Culture-sponsored] Carnegie Hall concert, begun with a singer singing her way slowly across the stage, to last night’s provocative opening presentation followed by the quiet entrance of the pianist who simply began playing, a variety of such surprises, sometimes leaving the audience wondering whether or not it should applaud, and rather preferring not to, have been well employed.

Readings from Friedrich Schiller’s works, recited by actor Dikran Tulaine, were interspersed with the musical selections throughout. The program began with Schiller, followed by Bach, then two Spirituals—each separated by the words of Schiller and William Shakespeare, then Brahms’ “Dem dunkeln Schoss der Heil’gen Erde,” and the Choral Fantasia, also preceded by a reading from Schiller. Following the intermission, the entire Beethoven Mass in C Major, prefaced by Schiller, was performed. As always, the Schiller Institute performed at the Verdi tuning of C=256 cycles, the proper tuning for Classical composition, sometimes erroneously characterized as “lower” tuning.

Remembering Maestro Morss

Importantly, the concert was dedicated to the memory of Maestro Anthony Morss, who had worked with the Schiller institute for thirty years, before his death in August of this year. Morss, who had served as the Music Director for the New York State Opera Company, the Verismo Opera, the Eastern Opera Theater of New York, the Lubo Opera Company of New Jersey and other companies, was one of the earliest proponents of returning to the Verdi tuning. In 1990 he conducted a concert performance of the Beethoven opera Fidelio at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, which definitively proved that the modern opera orchestra could accommodate the proper tuning.

Morss spoke at many Schiller Institute events, and in the 1990s was a vocal defender of the then-incarcerated Lyndon LaRouche, whose writings, particularly LaRouche’s musical writings, Morss closely read. Maestro Morss’ weekly presence at the Schiller Institute choral rehearsals was an essential component of giving the chorus the confidence that an amateur grouping could aspire to, and achieve, the highest standards of musical performance. Conductor John Sigerson’s tribute to Morss at the concert is presented below.

The performance of the Choral Fantasia was a first for the Schiller Institute in the United States. While associates of LaRouche had performed the piece in Detroit in December of 1979, a return to presentation of the piece, one of the best possible introductions to the Ninth Symphony, had only recently become possible. Beethoven himself conducted the piece in its premiere on December 22, 1808, at a fundraising concert that he had organized for himself. Other pieces first performed at the same concert were the Fourth Piano Concerto, Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, and sections of the Mass in C Major. Beethoven saved the Fantasia for the concert’s end and improvised the entire piano opening to the piece on the spot. Its final words, “Only when Love and Power are wed / Does Man deserve God’s favor” resonated deeply with the audience, both then, and now.

Several attendees, in messages sent to the Schiller Institute the day after the concert, remarked on the “pin-drop quiet” concentration in the audience throughout the entire first part of the concert. One person commented:

Piano soloist MyHoa Steger during Beethoven's Choral Fantasia.

Piano soloist MyHoa Steger during Beethoven’s Choral Fantasia.

The highlights in the music were [the Spiritual,] “Anyhow,” and the Choral Fantasia … [Pianist My-Hoa Steger] “aced” it. The difference in the orchestra was clear. You could turn off the sound, and just watch them, and tell it was a great performance … The Bach [played by pianist Yuting Zhou] was very well done. The prelude contains the chromatic scale used in the 3-year-later Musical Offering. The fugue features the diminished 7th leap of the same King’s theme. The fugue subject is similar to Handel’s “And with his Stripes” and “Kyrie” from Mozart’s Requiem…

And this short message gives another window into the effect of the performance:

Even though we had to slip out between acts (my daughter and I came straight to the concert from a film shoot that ran long, and we very much needed to feed her!)—we all felt so uplifted by both the beautiful music and the uncanny timeliness of Schiller’s poetry.

It was also so moving to witness a volunteer chorus—to think that so much talent lies in so many people in this town, who one likely passes by on the street, in the subway, etc. without knowing. ….. It was astonishing…. last evening’s beautiful show has shifted my perception in ways I am still very much processing.

Bringing Schiller to Americans

Those that have followed the evolution of the Schiller Institute New York City Chorus since it was founded (following the death by strangulation of New Yorker Eric Garner in 2014), or have been part of the chorus’ growth from its first December 20, 2014 performance of excerpts of G.W.F. Handel’s Messiah, know that there are hundreds of people, almost all of them non-professionals, who have been involved in the subsequent performances. Some of the coordinators of the chorus, however, remarked that there seemed to be a greater depth of seriousness in the group than before.

In part, this may have been due to an insistence, beginning five weeks before the concert, that choral members must get to know the up-to-then unstudied Schiller. So, readings of Schiller’s poetry and a few of his prose pieces were organized. Additionally, some of New York’s many cultural organizations became excited to know that a Schiller celebration was occurring, and that the idea of promoting the generalized reading of Classical literature as a way of rejuvenating competent language-usage in general, was being advanced. The idea that an enthusiastic, voluntary return to literacy could be promoted through a fifteen-hundred-person citywide chorus, captured their imagination.

This approach seemed to provoke particularly “deep thinking” on the question of aesthetical education from younger persons in attendance.

One young student wrote:

[ 1 ] ( Zhi Hui) refers to “wisdom” in Chinese. But the two characters each have different meanings. [ 2 ] is intelligence, while [ 3 ] means wise. It’s easy to get [ 4 ]. Everybody at my school has it. But not everyone has [ 5 ]. It’s like a seed buried in one’s heart since we are born, and needs to be inspired and discovered, as we grow up. We call it [ 6 ] (Hui Gen). [ 7 ] means root, but it’s also reasonable to interpret it as seed, because they each have roots deep in each person’s mind, and they sprout when they feel like it. Some people have [ 8 ], some do not; some [ 9 ] can bloom, some do not.

Actually, the word [ 10 ] is a Buddhist word, but it has been adopted into Chinese language and has become an important part of us. To better interpret this word, one can read a small story about the difference between people with it and those without it. The story is in the “Succession of Sixth Patriarch.”

This thinking is reminiscent of considerations concerning the differences between thought and language, and the power of the ironic juxtaposition of thought to text, of notes to music, and the higher unity of poetry and music that was required for Beethoven, or any composer, to usefully add anything to the poetry of Schiller. Brahms’ “Dem dunkeln Schoss” uses eight lines taken from Schiller’s “Song of the Bell,” but in an apparently completely different way than they are used in the broader context of that poem, in order to commemorate the death of his great friend, Robert Schumann. In this way, Brahms demonstrates that, while no poem is ever able to actually be translated into another language, no great poem is ever limited to a single meaning.

It is also possible to take a section of a poem, find the music contained within it, and voice that music in the service of purposes not anticipated by the poet, but yet in full accordance with the substance of the Idea for which the poem’s words are but a shadow-echo.

The conceptual resonance of the chorus was notable in the complete Beethoven Mass in C Major, a piece infrequently performed, which is, however, an essential work for understanding his spiritual development. One listener remarked:

From a purely musical point of view I found the performance to be astounding. There are simply no words to describe the feelings that I had regarding Beethoven’s music. The interpretation was flawless, although a bit on the scholarly and spiritual/religious side. The last most likely being influenced by the spirituality of Schiller’s work.

Indeed.

As has happened before in the Schiller Institute Chorus performances of this piece, the last section, the Agnus Dei’s “Dona nobis pacem” brought together all that had been presented through the entirety of the program. Soloists Indira Mahajan, Linda Childs, Everett Suttle, and Costas Tsourakis received many compliments from the audience, many of whom have seen them perform at other of the Schiller concerts, or in other musical programs around the city.

Schiller Institute Chorus Directors Diane Sare and John Sigerson, post concert.

Schiller Institute Chorus Directors Diane Sare and John Sigerson, post concert.

The conductors, John Sigerson and Diane Sare, have succeeded in creating a core ensemble of 70-80 singers, all of whom are increasingly clear that the mission of the chorus is to destroy the idea of “entertainment” as the primary focus of art. It is the re-creation of the intent of the composer, as conveyed through the medium of Chorus, which is the mission of the chorus. Re-creation of great ideas, whether in scientific or in artistic experiment, not entertainment, is the cultural backbone, the heartbeat, of social change in our time. Their participation in these artistic experiments qualifies the members of the chorus to “lift ev’ry voice” of deliberation on all things, including the immediate direction of this country as a force for good in history, to the world-historical stage, rather than petty gossip.

It is the aesthetical education of the population and its Presidential process that is the indispensable mission which the Schiller Institute has taken another important step forward in performing. That is not the pursuit of entertainment, but, rather, the pursuit of Happiness, as the Founders would have understood that principle.

A Schiller Institute version of the concert is under production and will be available soon. Other coverage of the concert can be found here.


Sylvia Olden Lee – A Musical Tribute To A Beautiful Soul.

The Schiller Boston Chorus hosted a centennial celebration concert honoring master musician and teacher, Sylvia Olden Lee.  We also marked the birthdays of patriots President’s John F. Kennedy (100th) and John Quincy Adams (250th) in this concert of African-American Spirituals, Verdi, Mozart, solo, ensemble, choral music and more held on October 15th in Dorchester, Mass, at the St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. Thank you to the Boston Neighborhood Network for filming the concert. All performances were at the Verdi tuning of C=256.

The program included selections from Life of Christ by Roland Hayes, Robert Schumann’s entire Dichterliebe and operatic arias performed by local artists, Brian and Ana Landry and Christina DeVaughn among others.

Program PDF

Find out more about the Schiller Boston Chorus!


A Joint Concert with Germany’s Jena Jubilee Singers

On October 8th, 2019 the Schiller Boston Community Chorus joined voices with the Jena Jubilee Singers of Germany in a rousing concert entitled “Walk Together Children” which featured African-American Spirituals and German Art Songs.  The joyous musical dialogue that ensued between the German singers, the American singers, and the audience, in this concert, was a true example of the necessity of and long-lasting affect of Classical culture. Quincy access TV were there to capture the event.

 

October_8_2019_WALK_TOGETHER_CHILDREN_Jena_Jubilee_Singers_and_Schiller_Boston_Chorus

 


Schiller Institute Concert in Denmark: Musical Dialogue of Cultures

They came from around the world. They came bearing gifts. Not gifts you could touch with your hands. But gifts that touched your soul. Gifts of beautiful music, and beautiful dance.

And the people came to hear them. And they kept coming, and they kept coming till none of the 120 seats were left. And after there was no more room for extra chairs, they stood in the aisles, and they stood in the lobby, and they sat behind the curtains. They were Danes, and they were diplomats, and other people, from many nations, maybe 200 in total.

The dialogue of cultures between the sponsors of the concert, itself, led to the great success — the Schiller Institute, the Russian-Danish Dialogue organization, the Russian House in Copenhagen, and the China Culture Center of the Chinese Embassy (about to open, which also provided intermission food). And the concert was held in the Russian Center for Science and Culture of the Russian Embassy.

Firstly, the people were told by Schiller Institute chairman Tom that we have a unique moment in world history, where the potential is there for the U.S. to join the new paradigm of economic development sweeping the world. Secondly, they were told by the spokeswoman for the Russian-Danish Dialogue, that a dialogue of culture can lead to peace in the world. They were also the interchanging hosts for the evening.

Then the procession of gift-givers began.

From Russia came children playing Russian folk songs on balalaikas, and a baritone who has sung on 200 stages, performed Mozart and Gounod, together with his pianist. From China came a very musical young science student who played many flutes, and sang a Chinese love song, a duet, with Feride. From Indonesia came a traditional dancer, who filled the room with her grace. From Ghana came two young men who sang and played a religious song, and a song about when we work together, we are stronger than when we stand alone.

And from Denmark and Sweden came three outstanding female opera singers, whose tones, and dramatic intensity moved the audience profoundly. Their offerings were songs and arias from Schubert, Verdi, Dvorák and Sibelius. An international bright star of a soprano who recently retired from the Royal Danish Opera; a fantastic mezzosoprano with roots in Hungary and Turkey, who is also a member of the Middle East Peace Orchestra; and a soprano, Leena, we have heard for many years blossoming into a truly magnificent artist. The first two were accompanied by an extremely talented young Danish woman pianist, and the later by our Benjamin.

He, and his mother Anika, poignantly played Beethoven’s Romance for violin and piano, continuing the legacy bequeathed by their ancestor from Hungary.

For the finale, the musicians sang Verdi’s song of freedom, “Va, pensiero,” with the addition of four members of the Schiller Institute’s future chorus. See the program at: www.schillerinstitut.dk/si/?p=17637

And the people were uplifted, with each presentation by itself, and with the succession of one piece of music, or dance, after the other, one country after another, traditional music in dialogue with Classical music, weaving a tapestry of sound, sight and delight.

And the people were asked to be in contact with us, and to consider joining the Schiller Institute’s chorus, some of whom wrote that they would.

A musical testament to the paradox of the unity and diversity mankind, expressed by human creativity, and a powerful statement of the dialogue of cultures was declaimed.

Presented by:

The Schiller Institute in Denmark
Russian-Danish Dialogue
The Russian House
The China Culture Center

Participating artists/Medvirkende:

Anika Telmányi Lylloff, violinist
Benjamin Telmányi Lylloff, pianist, Danmark
Christine Raft, pianist, Danmark (not shown in the video. She accompanied Idil Alpsoy and Gitta-Maria Sjöberg.)
Feride Istogu Gillesberg, sopran, albansk bosat i Danmark
Fred Kwaku, pianist, Ghana
Gitta-Maria Sjöberg, sopran, Sverige/Danmark. Sweden/Denmark (not shown in the video. She sang Rusalka’s Song to the Moon by Dvořák accompanied by Christine Raft )
Idil Alpsoy, sopran, Sverig/Danmark, Sweden, Denmark (not shown in the video. She sang songs from Sibelius’ Op.37 and 88, accompanied by Christine Raft.)
Isaac Kwaku, sanger, Ghana
Kai Gao, sanger, fløjtenist, Kina
Leena Malkki, sopran, Sverige
Sarah Noor Komarudin, danser, Indonesien
Valerij Likhachev, baryton, Rusland

Svetit Mesjac, russisk børneorkester/ Russian childrens orchestra
Schiller Instituttets kor/chorus

Hosts/Værter:

Jelena Nielsen, Russisk-Dansk Dialog
Tom Gillesberg, formand, Schiller Instituttet, Danmark

Contact us:
Denmark: +45 53 57 00 51, 35 43 00 33, si@schillerinstitut.dk, www.schillerinstitut.dk, www.schillerinstitut.dk

 


Virginia Schiller Chorus Draws Its Largest Crowd New Year’s Day

On Wednesday, January 1, 2020, the Virginia Schiller Institute Community Chorus and friends, hosted their largest ever New Year’s Concert featuring timeless choral pieces from Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, Verdi, and Dvorak.

Our concerts are becoming a growing institution in the area, not just for audience members, but for local musicians who like performing with us. A talented violinist, who is a regular on the “classical music scene” in DC/Northern Virginia, remarked that he always appreciates the openness of our audiences, seeing “normal” people genuinely appreciating the beauty of the pieces, as opposed to the “professional audiences” he so often performs for, who are more concerned with “being seen” at such events, than letting the music move them.

The audience was full and diverse. Choral directors from churches across the area came to hear the concert, political contacts of the Schiller Institute attended, including an Ambassador and his family from a Southeast Asian country, music students, and others who ventured out to find something different than watch football on New Year’s Day!

The program of the event is below. Audience members were given the text and translations for each of the pieces to follow along.

Beethoven, Die Ehre Gottes aus der Natur
Haydn, Die Himmel Erzälen, from The Creation
Brahms, Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen, from German Requiem
Bach, Quia Respexit, Omnes generationes
Handel, Ombra mai fu, tenor, Reginald Bouknight
Puccini, Recondita armonia, from Tosca, tenor, Reginald Bouknight
Mozart, In uomini, in soldati, from Così fan tutte, mezzo, Pamela Butler
Beethoven, Harp String Quartet, op. 74 (1809), I. Poco adagio – Allegro

Intermission

Mendelssohn, Neujarhslied
Beethoven, Serenade, op. 25 (1796), VI. Adagio – Allegro vivace e disinvolta
Kreisler, Praeludium and Allegro (1905)
Mozart, Laudate Pueri, from Solemn Vespers
Verdi, Va Pensiero, from Nabucco
Dvorak/Fisher, Goin’ Home
Hall Johnson, Lord, I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired
Handel, Worth is the Lamb, Amen, from The Messiah
Joy to the World, Everyone sing!

The fact that these were seemingly “ordinary” people from the community performing these masterful pieces in a local church was not lost on the audience. In fact, it seemed to enrich the event for people, many who then asked themselves, “well, maybe I could sing?”

The other remarkable part of the this and other concerts the Schiller Institute hosts, was articulated best by our director, Mike Billington in remarks he made on a LaRouchePAC Fireside Chat broadcast,

“It was a concert of Beethoven, Brahms, and other great Classical choruses, with some wonderful professionals, who volunteer their time to come and play with us, because they love to work with us because of our commitment to the idea of the aesthetic education of the population. The fact that this many people from all walks of life showed up in Leesburg, Virginia to watch a Schiller Institute Community Chorus concert, I think in itself reflects the transformation that’s taken place in the United States; and the potential of the LaRouche message — the slanders and the attacks that characterized the treatment of LaRouche over these years, including his incarceration, is no longer believed.”

 


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