Beginning January 15, 2013, Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary will offer an extension course for the public, “The Music and Faith of Arvo Pärt,” taught by Dr. Peter C. Bouteneff, associate professor of Systematic Theology.
Arvo Pärt, whose works rank him as the third most performed composer globally, is an Orthodox Christian of Estonian nationality, and the course will intriguingly combine the study of music with the spirituality and dogma of the Orthodox Christian faith.
“Arvo Pärt draws on his Orthodox Christian roots to compose music that seizes people of all faiths and of none,” observed Dr. Bouteneff. “Through an in-depth study of his music and the sources that directly influence it, this course seeks to deepen appreciation of Pärt’s oeuvre as well as give insight into seminal questions about Orthodox tradition and contemporary culture.”
The course is part of the seminary’s Arvo Pärt Project, an extensive collaboration between the school and the composer that focuses on discerning the Orthodox Christian underpinnings of his work. In his classroom, Dr. Bouteneff will be drawing on two decades of personal study of Pärt’s compositions and his recent intimate conversations with the composer himself.
“This 10-week journey will uncover the composer’s personal history, his musical influences, and his compositions,” continued Dr. Bouteneff. “His works will be studied in terms of his signature technique of tintinnabuli, a system that Pärt himself describes in terms of “suffering and consolation, sins and their forgiveness, human and divine.”
Arvo Pärt’s body of work has resulted in hundreds of CDs, set the mood for major motion pictures, and filled concert halls across the globe. Even non-religious listeners revere his unique compositions, sensing their innate transcendence. Though spiritually rooted in the Orthodox Christian tradition, Pärt’s creations have a universal reach, as music critic Arthur Lubow noted: “His compositions resonate profoundly for the unconverted as well as the faithful” (The New York Times).
The one-credit course, formally titled Liturgical Music 360, will meet on Tuesday evenings (7:30 p.m.–8:45 p.m.), beginning January 15, 2013, and it will run for 10 sessions. Students have the option of taking the course for credit ($438) or audit ($219).
The general public will hae the option to register until January 22, 2013. Currently enrolled students at Saint Vladimir’s must follow normal seminary procedures and deadlines when registering.