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Houston Chorus Performs Mozart’s Vespers & Spirituals

The Houston Schiller Institute Community Chorus invites you to their performance of

Mozart’s Solemn Vespers, K.339 & Selections from African American Spirituals

Sunday, May 5th, 2019

Riverside United Methodist Church, 4920 Cullen Blvd, Houston, TX 77004
Conducted by Maestro Dorceal Duckens

Both pieces performed at the Verdi tuning of c=256 Hz.

Admission is free, suggested donation $10.00

RSVP


Conference: Let Us Create a New, More Human Epoch for Mankind

The Schiller Institute held the first U.S. national conference in over fifteen years on President’s Day weekend, yielding a tremendous success in respects to the quality of presentations and the participation by supporters around the world attending the conference. The conference, now presented in full below, conveys a truthful and optimistic view of the potential for mankind as a whole to overcome the crisis facing the world as the previously reigning, now dying, British Empire fights for its survival against the new world order taking hold in the vision of Lyndon and Helga Zepp-LaRouche.

Panel I — Let Us Create a New, More Human Epoch for Mankind

Lyndon LaRouche Speaks: A Talent Well Spent

Jacques Cheminade, President of Solidarité & Progrès, The coming world of Lyndon LaRouche

John Gong, Professor of Economics at the University of International Business and Economics, Beijing, Chinese Investment and American Infrastructure under the new Sino-US relations

H.E. Ambassador Vassily A. Nebenzia, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, Presented by Counsellor Theodore Strzhizhovskiy, Mission of The Russian Federation to the UN, Prospects for East-West Collaboration: The Russian Federation’s View (transcript)

William Binney, Former Technical Director, NSA

Jason Ross, Schiller Institute co-author “Extending the New Silk Road to West Asia and Africa”, The Urgent Need for a New Paradigm in Africa

Dennis Small, EIR Ibero-America Editor, Justice for the World: Why Donald Trump Must Exonerate Lyndon LaRouche Now



Panel II — The Aesthetic Education of Man for the Beauty of the Mind and Soul

Schiller Institute combined chorus:
Benjamin Lylloff, arr: “Mo Li Hua” (“Jasmine Flower”)
Benjamin Lylloff, director

H.T. Burleigh, arr: “Deep River”

William L. Dawson, arr: “Ev’ry Time I Feel the Spirit”
Diane Sare, director

Megan Beets, LaRouchePAC Scientific Research Team, “Artistic and Moral Beauty“

Bruce Director, Secretary-Treasurer, US Schiller Institute
“On LaRouche’s concept of significance of Art for Science and Science for Art”

Diane Sare, Managing Director of the Schiller Institute NYC Chorus, “The Choral Principle”

Johannes Brahms: “Dem dunkeln Schoß der Heil’gen Erde”
(text from Schiller’s “Song of the Bell”)
Schiller Institute Chorus
John Sigerson, director

Johann Sebastian Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D Major, BWV 1050
I. Allegro
Schiller Institute Orchestra
John Sigerson, director
Soloists: Gregor Kitzis, violin; Laura Thompson, flute; My-Hoa Steger, piano

Ludwig van Beethoven: Choral Fantasia, Op. 80
Schiller Institute Orchestra, Chorus, and Soloists
John Sigerson, director
My-Hoa Steger, piano

Q&A Session



Panel III — The Frontiers of Science

Yuting Zhou, piano, Johannes Brahms: Rhapsody, Op. 79, No. 1 in B minor

Kesha Rogers, LaRouchePAC Policy Committee, Former candidate for U.S. Congress, The Frontier of Space: Fulfilling Mankind’s Destiny as Man in the Universe

Thomas Wysmuller, Founding member of The Right Climate Stuff, What NASA has Done and Where NASA is Going

Larry Bell, Founder, Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture, College of Engineering, University of Houston, What Makes People Exceptional

Benjamin Deniston, LaRouchePAC Scientific Research Team, LaRouche’s Strategic Defense of Earth

Hal BH Cooper, Jr. PhD PE, Infrastructure needs for the Rail, Energy and Water Systems to Promote Future Economic Development of Africa

 


Prospects for East-West Collaboration: The Russian Federation’s View

Message to the Schiller Institute national conference, Feb. 16, 2019 by H.E. Ambassador Vassily A. Nebenzia, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, presented by Counsellor Theodore Strzhizhovskiy: “Prospects for East-West Collaboration: The Russian Federation’s View”

[This transcription was created by the Schiller Institute]

DENNIS SPEED: Next we have a statement from His Excellency Ambassador Vassily A. Nebenzia, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations. It will be presented by Counsellor Theodore Strzhizhovskiy of the Mission of the Russian Federation to the UN: “Prospects for East-West Collaboration: The Russian Federation’s View.”

THEODORE STRZHIZHOVSKIY: Ladies and Gents, it’s a real pleasure for me to be here, giving the tribute to the role which Russian-American relations plays in the modern world, and the contribution of the Schiller Institute to that relation, we prepared a statement which I will read now.

First of all, I welcome the organizers, participants and guests of this conference. The Schiller Institute is known for its valuable contribution to the understanding of international political processes, and development of new approaches to the global challenges. The conferences held under your auspices are respectful platforms, where the most urgent present-day issues can be discussed without politicizing and ideological clichés.

We were very saddened by the bitter news about the passing of Lyndon LaRouche, the founder and inspirer of the Schiller Institute. We would like to express our deepest condolences to Helga Zepp-LaRouche, as well as to the relatives and colleagues.

We are convinced that the paradigm of international, political, and economical intervention that he had proposed will be further developed by his apprentices and associates. [applause]

We believe that the assent of a more human epoch is only possible when the world enjoys a more equitable, polycentric model of governance. However, recently we have become witnesses of the attempts to shatter the world security architecture, substitute agreed universal norms by some rules-based order, where rules are invented, depending on the geopolitical interest to concrete countries. Nonetheless, dangerous for the global stability is the striving of the governments of some countries to unilaterally impose their will on the global community, or on specific sovereign states, or even to interfere in their domestic affairs. In the same light, we should view the use of sanctions as a tool to execute pressure and punish the countries that implement an independent policy.

Russia is proud to be located between West and East. Historically, we have been implementing multitask foreign policy and developing relations with other countries in the spirit of mutual respect. Russia comprehensively helps to search for, based on international law, collective decisions to the global problems which all the countries face today. We consecutively engage in the activities of the UN and Group of 20, to contribute to the relevant forms of interaction, for example, Collective Security Treaty Organization, Eurasian Economic Union, Commonwealth of Independent States, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, BRICS. One of the conceptual pillars of developing this sort of cooperation was proposed by President Putin in his initiative called, “Greater Eurasian Partnership.” It would bring together member states of the Eurasian Economic Union, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Probably one day, it would encompass the European Union. The previous year was marked by a number of significant steps to implement this project: The Eurasian Economic Commission and ASEAN signed a Memorandum of Understanding which was crucial for the extension of the geography and economy of the Eurasian Partnership. Adoption of the declaration on further development in integrational process in the Eurasian Economic Union made it possible to extend the establishment of common markets and add to it such areas of cooperation as education, research, health care, and trade. The Eurasian Economic Union and Chinese initiative, One Belt, One Road, joined the integration and transportation projects on contractual and legal basis of the agreement on trade and economic cooperation.

Bilateral cooperation of Russia and China also takes on global dimension. Our effective foreign policy coordination, including the UN platform, has become a significant factor of stabilization in global policy.

We are also committed to foster our relations with another privileged strategic partner: India. This commitment was reiterated in the joint declaration “Russia-India Reliable Partnership in a Changing World,” adopted at the bilateral summit in October.

We cannot but mention an unofficial summit, Russia-India-China, that took place in December in Buenos Aires after a 12-year pause.

Relations between Russia and the U.S. are also crucially important for global stability, because we are two states, major nuclear powers and UN Security Council permanent members. We face shared challenges: international terrorism, military and humanitarian crises, drug trafficking, transnational crime, and others. The success of our joint efforts of these and many other tracks is that both Moscow and Washington are interested in what is needed in the sustainable development of all countries. Russia understands the increased responsibility of both states for global peace and security. We have repeatedly expressed our readiness to normalize the relations between our countries. We hope that systemic political dialogue with our American partners, based on mutual respect and consideration of each other’s national interests, will be resumed.

We are convinced that the present-day world has no alternative to cooperation and merge of potentials. Only this path may lead to the assent of a more human epoch.

We wish for this conference to be creative, and contribute to mutual trust and confidence of global affairs. We wish you every success and hope we will have meaningful discussions.

Thank you. [applause]


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.

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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.


Schiller Institute Participates in Alexandrov Choir Commemoration

On January 3rd, 2019, for the third year in a row, a memorial was held in Bayonne, New Jersey for the victims of the December 25th, 2016 plane crash which took the lives of the many members of Russia’s famous Alexandrov Ensemble, journalists, philanthropist Elizaveta Glinka, and others.  This memorial, organized by the Schiller Institute, took place at the foot of the “Tear Drop Memorial,” a 100-foot statue gifted to the United States by the Russian Federation in 2005 in honor of the victims of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Members of the Schiller Institute and the Schiller Institute NYC Chorus, led by Diane Sare, Founder and Co-Director, were joined by the Bayonne Fire Department Honor Guard, Captain Haiber and Chief Weaver of the Bayonne Fire Department, Dmitry Chumakov, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation, Dr. Louay Falouh, Minister Counselor of the Syrian UN Mission, Father John Fencik of Saint Mary’s Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Church, and others in the ceremony. In opening the ceremony, the Chorus sang both the Russian national anthem (in Russian) and the US national anthem.  The Bayonne Fire Department Honor Guard stood at attention throughout the forty five minute ceremony.

These performances were followed by comments from Deputy Permanent Representative Chumakov, who paid tribute to the victims of the 2016 tragedy and spoke to the continuation of the efforts of both the reconstituted Alexandrov Ensemble and the Charity Foundation of Elizaveta Glinka. He concluded with significant statement of Russian policy in Syria: “Considerable progress has been made on Syria in 2018. Now we need to step up joint efforts to launch the Constitutional Committee in Geneva, that would enjoy support of the Syrian parties, in accordance with the decisions of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi. Syria’s future must be determined by the Syrians themselves in a political process they conduct and control with international mediation. Such an approach would contribute to settling and overcoming the consequences of the war; re-establishing the country’s full sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Mr. Chumakov’s full statement is available on the Russian Federation UN Mission’s website.

Then spoke Dr. Louay Falouh, Minister Counselor of the Syrian UN Mission, who thanked the government of the Russian Federation for their work to support Syria, and expressed his deep condolences for the losses of December 25th, 2016.  Chief Weaver and Captain Haiber of the Bayonne Fire Department separately gave profound remarks expressing their condolences, as well as their thanks to Russia for the comfort they personally felt when visiting the Tear Drop Memorial. Bayonne first responders received enormous numbers of people fleeing by boat from Manhattan on 9/11. Captain Haiber told the audience, “At times like this, we are neither Russian nor American—we are human.” He also spoke in Russian, expressing his wishes for peace and friendship.

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Father Fencik, whose close relative had been the translator at the famous meeting on the Elbe River between Soviet and American forces, gave an invocation saying that these dead will never be forgotten, and then gave a sung prayer in Russian.

At the conclusion, Diane Sare, Founder and Co-Director of the Schiller Institute NYC Chorus, spoke on behalf of the Schiller Institute and the Schiller Institute NYC Chorus, and read aloud the written message from Schiller Institute President Helga Zepp-LaRouche.

Two years after the tragic death of 64 members of the Alexandrov Choir Ensemble on their way to Syria on December 25th, 2016, that country is now almost entirely freed from the terror of ISIS due to the determined intervention of Russia in collaboration with the Syrian army. This liberation demonstrates what human beings can do when they unite with a good plan and for a just cause, and that, as Friedrich Schiller would say, even the most tyrannical foe can be subdued. As now there will be a more hopeful period in the history of Syria, with the economic reconstruction and the return of millions of refugees, the memory of the Alexandrov Choir Ensemble will be written into the history of Syria and should be celebrated every year with beautiful concerts in many cities, celebrating the Russian-Syrian friendship and the immortality of great art and the artists, who devote their lives to the ennoblement of mankind.

— Helga Zepp-LaRouche, Founder, Schiller Institute

Diane concluded her remarks by saying that this moment called to mind to words that Handel had immortalized the his Messiah “Death is Swallowed up in Victory.”

Each of the speakers made a special point of thanking the Schiller Institute for organizing the event. Russian news service TASS, as well as TV stations Russia 1 and RT were present.

Participation in this event had a profound effect on our activists and choir members who joined in.  Patrick from Connecticut said, “I was so glad to be there and be a part of this. As I looked around and saw who was gathered here, I felt like we were on a kind of different planet from the rest of the population – and how important is that we do this.”

View more pictures from the event.


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.

 


Sputnik News Interviews Schiller Institute About US Defense Policy

On November 21 Sputnik published a full and strategically “meaty” interview with Harley Schlanger (representing the Schiller Institute as the U.S. Vice Chairman). Headlined “U.S. Must End `Divide and Conquer’ Mindset for Mankind’s Benefit,” the immediate subject of the interview was the U.S. National Defense Strategy Commission report issued on Nov. 13, which declares Russia and China to be aggressive adversaries and “authoritarian competitors.” Schlanger noted the difference between President Donald Trump’s advocacy of peaceful cooperation with Russia and China, and this “outlook of unhinged neo-conservatives and their commitment to geopolitical confrontation, as a means of defending an imperial policy which has failed, and is collapsing in the face of a global rejection of this policy.”

Read the full interview here: U.S. Must End `Divide and Conquer’ Mindset for Mankind’s Benefit

 

Image credit: Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw


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.


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