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Open Letter to Germany’s Classical Music Lovers in the Year of Beethoven: The Bounds of Decency Have Been Breached

The first thing one can say about the performance of Beethoven’s Fidelio at the Darmstadt Theater, in a production of Paul-Georg Dittrich with a musical adaptation of the finale by Annette Schlünz, is: It’s god-awful! It couldn’t be worse. God-awful from a musical, artistic, philosophical and human standpoint. Of the long series of stupid, crude, repetitive Regietheater [fn1] performances, that have been staged for over half a century(!)—limited at first to theater, but then also inflicted on the opera—this performance was the absolute low point.

In the summer of 1966, when Hans Neuenfels—then a 25-year-old dramatist at the Trier Theater—had a leaflet distributed to promote the “First Happening in Rheinland-Palatinate,” in which he even asked, “Why don’t you rape little girls?” he was expressing the convictions of the 1968 movement, as we have known it since at least Daniel Cohn-Bendit. Since then—for 53 years now!—various nudes, rock bands, schizophrenics, or actors in Nazi costumes have been copulating on stage, and have succeeded in distorting beyond recognition the plays and compositions of Classical poets and composers. This is definitely not originality.

A scene from the Darmstadt performance of Beethoven’s Fidelio.

A scene from the Darmstadt performance of Beethoven’s Fidelio.

The Fidelio staging in Darmstadt presents a multimedia mixture of aesthetic vulgarity, Brechtian alienation effects, and the intrusion during the first part’s musical scenes of a screen filling the entire stage, on which photos and film clips are projected. They are supposed to illustrate the historical background of eight productions from 1805 until today. The overall impression is chaotic, and you begin to feel sorry for the singers who have to sing against this storm of clips, and for the heroine Leonore, who has to run around the stage the whole time like a headless chicken.

But the real monstrosity comes in the second part, when the Finale, the opera’s magnificent hymn to freedom, is literally chopped up in martial manner by the insertion of compositions in the New Music style of Annette Schlünz. In the program notes, Schlünz describes her insertions:

Annette Schlünz

Annette Schlünz

Little by little, a “chorus of hails” emerged, which becomes silent in part, or in which only individual voices or words remain. Sometimes I radicalize Beethoven’s instrumentation to reinforce his ideas or I repeat individual bars and then suddenly stop. I very much wanted to weave in external sounds and to color the music in some places. The trumpet fanfare, which is heard from the balcony of the State Theater before the performance begins, is something I take up and expand. It’s the signal that summons to a departure: Some instruments and musicians that drop out of the sound of the orchestra become, so to speak, rebellious, and bring in something new. The F major ensemble piece—a fantastic piece with a sacredness and coherence that I would never dare to approach—I leave untouched like a gem. The subsequent interlude with my music, in which different sounds, including the voices of eight vocalists, are sent throughout the room, completely breaks up Beethoven’s world of sound.

From the standpoint of the maltreated spectator, the noise that Schlünz inserted, during which the singers and instrumentalists trumpeted their deafening rubbish from the middle of the audience and from all sides, has nothing to do with music: It clearly crosses the line to bodily harm.

Just how emotionally damaged Schlünz is, becomes clear in the next sentences:

When listening, I often imagined that I was sitting at the controls of a mixer console and turned up the speed. And then I would just assume that Beethoven, when he composed, almost intended to go too far and fast. It’s really exulting! It reminds me of children who go crazy with excitement because they don’t know how to keep their emotions under control.

If there is anything crazy here, it is the pitiful state shown by Schlünz, in her emotional impotence to understand the sublime nature of the victory of the love between Leonore and Florestan. Moreover, she obviously cannot stand such greatness; her idea of wanting to speed up the music by adjusting a mixer console, represents the same uncontrollable freak-out that led the murderers of Ibykus [fn2] to betray themselves after the choir of the Erinyes had called forth the higher power of poetry in the theater of Corinth. Small, base minds cannot stand great ideas nor sublime feelings.

The magnificent Finale of Fidelio, in which Beethoven celebrates the defeat of tyranny through the courage of conjugal love is an expression of the noblest humanity, where love, courage and the desire for freedom are expressed in music. In Leonore’s preceding aria, she sings: “I shall not waver, I am strengthened by my duty of marital love.” Beethoven chose as subject for the opera the idealization, in Schiller’s sense, of a historical event, namely the liberation of the hero of the American Revolution, the Marquis de Lafayette, the French Republican, by his wife Adrienne. This reflects Beethoven’s own republican sentiments, which included at that time of feudal structures and Napoleonic campaigns, both personal courage and the desire for freedom.

Portrayal of Leonora in the Darmstadt performance of Fidelio.

Portrayal of Leonora in the Darmstadt performance of Fidelio.

Such deeply human feelings, however, are no longer accessible to the disturbed emotionality of the representatives of the Frankfurt School and the liberal Zeitgeist. Stage director Paul-Georg Dittrich states most tellingly in his interview in the program notes, that the Finale seems to him “like a celebration where you don’t even know what is actually being celebrated.” While Dittrich and Schlünz may not know it, that in no way gives them the right to destroy ordinary people’s access to it by deconstructing Beethoven’s composition.

But precisely that was the intention from the very beginning of the diverse currents that formed the tradition in which Dittrich, Schlünz and the entire production in Darmstadt stand, in an amalgam of Theodor Adorno, the Eisler-Brecht School, and the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF).

In a noteworthy touch of truthful reporting, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reported on November 12, 2017, in an article titled, “The CIA and Culture: How to Steal the Big Words,” about the exhibition organized on the 50th anniversary of a scandal that erupted in 1967, when it was reported that the entire gigantic operation of the Congress for Cultural Freedom was a CIA-funded operation as part of the Cold War effort. The FAZ added an admission about the whole thing that was tantamount to sensational for that daily:

The worrying point is that the secret service did not simply promote sinister reaction [i.e. the right wing], but it helped achieve the breakthrough of that same left-wing liberalism that still forms the mainstream standard of Western intellectuals.

The Fidelio production in Darmstadt is, so to speak, the terminal moraine of this process. It began with the change in U.S. post-war politics. After Roosevelt’s untimely death, under whose leadership the United States was allied with the Soviet Union in the fight against fascism in the Second World War, the intellectually much smaller Harry Truman quickly came under Churchill’s influence. The latter, in his notorious Fulton, Missouri speech on March 5, 1946, ushered in the Cold War. Thus the forerunners of those elements in the U.S. security apparatus, which Eisenhower later warned were the military-industrial complex and which are often called the “deep state” for short today, gained the upper hand. The Cold War thus proclaimed—demanded—that the deep emotions linking Americans and Russians together through the war experience, culminating in the meeting of the armies on the Elbe River in Torgau, be replaced by an anti-Russian sentiment. A new image of the enemy had to be built up and the population’s entire axiomatics of thought had to be changed accordingly. For the United States, this meant changing the basic beliefs that had contributed to the support for Roosevelt’s policies. For Europe, and especially Germany, the roots of European humanist culture, which constituted its cultural identity despite twelve years of a reign of terror, had to be destroyed and replaced by a construct—the deconstruction of Classical culture.

The Evil of the Congress for Cultural Freedom

The instrument that was created for this purpose was the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF), a gigantic psychological warfare operation launched by secret service circles around Allen Dulles under the direction of Frank Wisner, then head of the Office for Political Coordination of the State Department. The CCF was later moved to the covert operations department. The operation officially lasted from 1950 to 1967, when the New York Times published on April 27 the news that the CCF was a CIA operation. That revelation became the biggest cultural scandal of the 20th century. The CCF operated in 35 countries and published 20 magazines, and the CIA controlled virtually every art exhibition and cultural event. At that time, there was virtually no writer, musician, painter, critic, or journalist in Europe who was not in some way connected to this project—some knowingly, some with no inkling.

The first Congress for Cultural Freedom convention, Berlin, 1950.

The first Congress for Cultural Freedom convention, Berlin, 1950.

The orientation of these cultural projects was essentially the same as that of the Frankfurt School, which was exiled to the United States during the National Socialist period and whose individual representatives were in the pay of the American secret services, such as Herbert Marcuse. In any case, the views of the Frankfurt School fit perfectly into the CCF’s program. Theodor Adorno, for example, defended the absurd and ignorant view that Friedrich Schiller’s idealism led directly to National Socialism, because he took a radical point of view. Therefore, Adorno claimed, beauty must be eradicated from art. In his essay “Cultural Criticism and Society,” written in 1949, his misanthropic view culminated in the much-quoted phrase: “To write a poem after Auschwitz is barbaric.”

Here again, there was nothing new about the Fidelio performance in Darmstadt. In the program notes, George Steiner expresses the exactly the same opinion:

Is it possible that classical humanism itself contains a radical failure in its tendency towards abstraction and aesthetic judgment? Can it be that mass murder and that indifference to the atrocities that abetted Nazism are not enemies or negations of civilization, but rather their hideous but natural accomplice?

What is expressed here in very clear terms is the psychological warfare carried out by the CIA-steered CCF, which was intended to eradicate the roots of the humanist identity of the German population, in favor of an Anglo-American cultural value scale.

To restate the point concisely: There can be no greater contrast than that between the sublime image of man presented in humanism and Classical art, and the barbaric image of man of the National Socialists. The Classical image of man sees man as being good in principle, as the only creature endowed with reason, who is able, through aesthetic education, to develop the potential within himself to a harmonious whole, to a beautiful character, as Wilhelm von Humboldt expressed it. Classical works of art in poetry, the visual arts, and music celebrate this beautiful humanity, and inspire in turn the creative powers of the readers, viewers, and listeners.

In contrast, the National Socialists’ image of man, with its blood-and-soil ideology, is based on a racist, chauvinistic, and Social Darwinist conception of the superiority of the “Aryan” race. To claim that because both the classics and National Socialism occurred in Germany, there is an inner connection between these diametrically opposed ideas, is just as absurd as to assert that the United States Constitution directly gave rise to the interventionist wars of the Bush and Obama Administrations, or that Joan of Arc’s convictions were the basis for French colonial policy. That claim actually came from the CIA’s devil’s kitchen, which included such recipes as “necessary lies” and “staunch denial” since at least the time of the CCF. In the recent period, the world has again been treated to an ample taste of them in the ongoing coup against President Trump by British intelligence in cooperation with the “deep state.”

The question of how it was possible to go from the ideal of the German classics to the abyss of Nazi rule, is one of the most important questions there is. To answer it, one has to consider the entire history of ideas from the Romantics’ attack on the classics, and the dissolution of the classic form it began to spawn, to the beginning of cultural pessimism, which set in with the Conservative Revolution in response to the ideas of 1789 and the political restoration under the Congress of Vienna, down to Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, the youth movement prior to World War I, and finally to World War I and its consequences.

Inducing Cultural Pessimism

Inducing cultural pessimism was also the goal of various music projects of the CCF. In 1952, it held a month-long music festival in Paris titled: “Masterpieces of the 20th Century,” during which over 100 symphonies, concerts, operas, and ballets of more than seventy 20th-century composers were performed. The Boston Symphony, which was to play a leading role in other CCF projects, opened the festival with a more-than-strange performance of Stravinsky’s Sacre du Printemps (Rite of Spring). Other pieces were performed from the atonalists Ar­nold Schoenberg (one of Adorno’s teachers) and Alban Berg, as well as Paul Hindemith, Claude Debussy, and Benjamin Britten, to name but a few. Further conferences for the propagation of atonal and twelve-tone music followed in Prato and Rome, which were exclusively devoted to avant-garde music. At all of these well-funded events, it was taken for granted that everyone would pretend to enjoy ugly music.

Theodor Adorno

Theodor Adorno

The Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music, which were also supported by the American military government and the CCF, performed Schoenberg, Anton Webern, and Béla Bartók. Lecturers such as Adorno, Olivier Messiaen, and John Cage gave lectures on their music theory. In an official assessment of these courses, Ralph Burns, head of the Office of Military Government, United States (OMGUS) Cultural Affairs Branch’s “Review of Activities,” wrote:

It was generally conceded that much of this music was worthless and had better been left unplayed. The over-emphasis on twelve-tone music was regretted. One critic described the concerts as the “triumph of Dilettantism.”

The issue here is not about stopping anyone from composing or listening to atonal or twelve-tone music, or other forms of avant-garde music. To each his own taste. The point is, that the idea of the equality of all tones of the tempered chromatic scale massively reduces the much higher degrees of freedom flowing from the polyphonic harmonic and countrapuntal composition, as it was developed from Bach to Hadyn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, and Brahms. It eliminates the ambiguity of the notes and the relationships between the keys, and the possibility of enharmonic confusion: Motivführung is a form of composition that, out of a single musical idea, develops further themes, movements, and ultimately the entire composition. This technique of composition, as elaborated and rigorously demonstrated in various master classes by Norbert Brainin, the first violinist of the Amadeus Quartet, was developed into greater complexity and perfection from Haydn’s “Russian” quartets Op. 33, to Mozart’s “Haydn” quartets, and then to Beethoven’s late quartets.

Given the heights that Classical composition had achieved with Beethoven, so-called modern music, if it throws these principles out the window—and there are undoubtedly good modern compositions—represents a decline comparable to reducing an anti-entropically developing universe of two trillion galaxies known so far, to a flat earth.

Classical Music Ennobles

Virtually all truly creative people, from Confucius to Albert Einstein, recognized and used the effects of good or Classical music to foster their own creative abilities and the aesthetic ennoblement of the population. Confucius rightly observed that the state of a country can be seen in the quality of its music. Immersion in the works of great Classical composers opens the deepest access to the creative faculties of the human soul and spirit. Where else, other than in Classical music, can one strengthen and deepen the passion needed to look beyond one’s own concerns and to address the great objects of humanity? Or where can one educate the sensibility needed to fulfill Schiller’s demand, as stated in his speech on universal history:

A noble longing must glow within us to add from our own resources our contribution to the rich legacy of truth, morality and freedom, which we have received from former ages, and must deliver richly increased to the ages to come; and to fasten to this imperishable chain, which winds through all the generations of men, our own fleeting existence.

It is precisely this emotionality of love, as expressed in the Finale of Fidelio, love for one’s spouse, love for humanity, and the idea of freedom in necessity, the idea of fulfilling one’s duty with passion, and thereby becoming free, that Schiller defines as the qualities of his ideal of the beautiful soul and of genius. It is the quintessence of the entire aesthetic method of the classics and of Friedrich Schiller in particular: “It is through beauty that one achieves freedom.”

This notion of freedom is what all the proponents of Regietheater, disharmonious music, and postmodern deconstruction attack, because it goes against their liberal concept of “freedoms,” rather than freedom.

Therefore, they dip unrestrainedly into the mothballed box of Brechtian alienation effects: interruptions, film clips, banners, cameras pointed to the audience, etc., so as to “shock” the viewers out of their habits of hearing and thinking. What came out of that in Darmstadt was a mixture of “Clockwork Orange” (recall the violence-ridden atrocity from Stanley Kubrick, accompanied by Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony), and the intellectual depth of pop star Helene Fischer. When Helene Fischer, in a red latex outfit and with orgiastic movements, belts out her song “Tell Me, Do You Feel That?” to an enthralled audience, it’s about as subtle as when the question, “Does it move you?” lights up the stage in large neon letters during the entire Finale of Fidelio. Obviously, the director Dittrich thinks the intellectually challenged audience needs to be awakened with a two-by-four. On top of that came the previously mentioned bombardment of deafening noise from the instrumentalists and chorus members scattered throughout the opera house.

The audience expressed its thanks for the din with a tormented mini-applause. If the goal of the staging was to summon the audience to political action in the present or to open contemporary music to a “broader audience” (Dittrich), one has to say in both cases: Mission failed. The well-known (to German speakers) “Hurz” skit by Hape Kerkeling describes quite aptly the reaction of most viewers, who have apparently grown accustomed for much too long to the outrageous demands of Regietheater and to the CCF’s cultural war, which is still ongoing.

Finally, a quote is in order from Alma Deutscher, who really can compose: “If the world is so ugly, why should we make it even uglier with ugly music?”

Before the example of Annette Schlünz is followed and other compositions of classical music are “raped,” in the spirit of Hans Neuenfels, this review should serve to launch a debate in the year of Beethoven on how to defend the classics against such assaults.

Celebrate This Year of Beethoven!

This Year of Beethoven, which will feature performances of many of the master’s compositions not only in Germany, but around the world, offers a wonderful opportunity for us to recall our better cultural tradition in Germany, to resist the moral decline of the past decades, and to find within ourselves, by consciously listening to Beethoven’s music, the inner strength to have our own creativity come alive.

The world is now in the midst of an epochal change, in which the era dominated by the Atlantic countries is clearly coming to an end, and the focus of development is shifting to Asia, where there are many nations and peoples who are very proud of their civilizations, and nourish their classical culture. Some of these civilizations are more than 5,000 years old. If Europe has anything to contribute to shaping in a humanistic spirit the new paradigm emerging in the world, then it is our lofty culture of the Renaissance and the Classics.

Many scientists, artists, and people appreciative of Germany all over the world have been wondering for some time now what is wrong with the Germans, that they have distanced themselves so much from being a people of poets and thinkers. If we let the Year of Beethoven be so ruined, then Germany will likely be written off for good as a cultured nation.

More discussion of this subject is needed and welcome.

hz.zepp@schiller-institut.de


[fn1] Regietheater, or “Directors Theater,” is a mode of performance of Classical drama and opera, whereby the director arbitrarily imposes modern (and usually degenerate) costumes and staging upon the production, thereby ripping the work out of its true historical context and ironies, and degrading the audience, the performers, and the composer himself.

[fn2] See Friedrich Schiller’s poem, “Die Kraniche des Ibykus” (“The Cranes of Ibycus”). Full text available here.


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.”

 


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.


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


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 Dialogue of Cultures along the New Silk Road” held in Dresden, Germany

On April 21st, the Schiller Institute organized a cultural event in Dresden under the title “A Dialogue of Cultures along the New Silk Road,” with 150 attendees.

Lasting peace, stability and shared well-being should, of course, be at the heart of international relations. But this does not start at the negotiating table of politicians, but in all our hearts. And what could not unite the souls and hearts of our peoples better than the idea of truth, freedom and beauty. Cultural contributions, Music and poetry from different countries and cultures established a new standard of optimism among the audience

This event was a proof, that a qualitatively new world order {is} possible; that we, by seeing our own true self reflected in the beauty of other cultures, find that higher “placement,” from which that persisting nightmare of geopolitics can be overcome, once and forever!

This is the greeting from the Chinese Ambassador to Germany which was read to the audience:

Greetings from his Excellency, the Ambassador Shi of China, to the Schiller Institutes’ “Dialogue of Cultures along the New Silk Road”:
I am really pleased with the fact, that the Schiller Institute conducts a cultural dialogue centered around the implications of the New Silk Road. When the President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping, presented the historical initiative of the “One Belt, One Road,” it was met with broad approval and support by the international community. During the past several years, the New Silk Road attracted a vast attention globally as an economic and infrastructure program. Yet, it is not only an economic corridor, but a road of a cultural exchange as well.

From a historical viewpoint, the New Silk Road began as a commodities trade route, but its significance reaches far beyond trade and became a major corridor for the communication of the
different cultures of the world. Via the Silk Road, the cultural centers of mankind were able to interact with each other through large distances, and by doing so, the great civilizations like
China, India, Arabia, and Europe learned from one another and respected each other. None of these civilizations at the time lost their independence or space for their own development because of the connectivity through the Silk Road, quite the opposite. The mutual learning enabled the countries to absorb additional knowledge and to gain new potency within their own peculiarities.

In the course of worldwide globalization and digitalization, a transcultural and supra-regional exchange and cooperation became ever more important. China wants to deliberate, build, and
profit from the “One Belt, One Road” initiative in a shared manner with all the countries alongside the New Silk Road. Thus, not only the economies of the countries along the road ought to be developed, but also the cultural exchange between China and the other nations. Until the end of 2017, China already signed more than 300 agreements for cultural exchanges with the governments of the countries along the New Silk Road, and implemented plans to that effect. Multilateral cultural cooperation mechanisms within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as well as among China and countries of eastern Europe, of Arabic nations, and of the ASEAN states, have already been established. This certainly contributed to the aim of bringing the people alongside the New Silk Road closer together.

It is my hope that the participating experts and artists are able to openly and profoundly exchange their views and thoughts within this dialogue, and I wish you all success.


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

 


The Win-Win Solution: One Belt, One Road

 

Special Guest Speakers:

Helga Zepp-LaRouche, Founder and Chairwoman of the Schiller Institute (via live video hookup);
Dr. Patrick Ho, Chairman, China Energy Fund Committee; Former Secretary for Home Affairs of the Government of Hong Kong

Segment 1Dennis Speed introduces Helga Zepp-LaRouche (0:00)
Segment 2Keynote Address by Helga Zepp-LaRouche (2:15)
Segment 3Questions and Answers (38:08)
Segment 4Dennis Speed introduces Dr. Patrick Ho (52:06)
Segment 5Presentation by Dr. Patrick Ho (54:27)
Segment 6Helga Zepp LaRouche responds to Dr. Patrick Ho’s presentation (1:56:02)
Segment 7More Questions and Answers (2:03:45)

 


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