A concordat between representatives of the Arvo Pärt Centre and St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVOTS) was signed in Laulasmaa, Estonia, on June 18, 2015. The concordat agrees to continued cooperation between the Centre and SVOTS, above all in the fields of arts and theology, in mutual counseling, and in joint academic activities.
The signed document is a natural continuation of the existing collaborative relationship between the Arvo Pärt Centre and St. Vladimir’s Seminary, which had been formalized in 2011 by St. Vladimir’s professors Peter Bouteneff and Nicholas Reeves, who founded The Arvo Pärt Project. The Project aims to explore the spiritual roots of the music of famed Estonian composer and conductor Arvo Pärt, who is a devout Orthodox Christian.
The high point of the Project thus far has been a series of performances of the maestro’s music in May and June of 2014, both in New York City and in Washington, D.C. On May 31, a capacity crowd at Isaac Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall lauded the music and person of Arvo Pärt and listened to a stunning performance of five of his well-known works. Earlier that day the seminary’s Board of Trustees and faculty presented an honorary doctorate to Arvo Pärt during St. Vladimir’s Commencement ceremonies.
Another outgrowth of the Project is the SVS Press title Arvo Pärt: Out of Silence by Dr. Bouteneff, released early in 2015. Out of Silence examines the connections between Pärt’s music and the traditions of Orthodox Christianity. St. Vladimir’s is also the American distributor for the Arvo Pärt Centre publication “In principio: The Word in Arvo Pärt’s Music.”
Seminary representatives who signed the concordat were President and Board Chairman His Beatitude the Most Blessed Tikhon, archbishop of Washington and metropolitan of All America and Canada; the Very Reverend Dr. John Behr, dean; and the Very Reverend Dr. Chad Hatfield, chancellor/CEO. Signatories from the Arvo Pärt Centre included Chairman of the Board Michael Pärt, and Anu Kivilo, managing director. Professor Peter Bouteneff and his wife Patricia, as well as Tatiana Lapchuk Hoff, a trustee of the seminary and an active supporter of the Arvo Pärt Project, were part of the delegation from St. Vladimir’s Seminary to Estonia.