From the Arvo Pärt Project One year ago at a seminary event, faculty members Nicholas Reeves and Peter Bouteneff got serious about a longstanding dream: they drew out plans to approach Arvo Pärt – and the seminary’s administration – about an ambitious collaboration. Three months later, they were on a plane to Tallinn with seminary chancellor Fr Chad Hatfield to meet with Arvo and Nora Pärt. That meeting, and the collaboration that it launched, is vividly described by the staff of the International Arvo Pärt Centre, on a page that is now a permanent feature of the Centre’s official website.
As a sign of their goodwill, the Arvo Pärt Centre has given the seminary a set of 18 CD recordings of Pärt’s music, as well as a special anniversary re-issue of Tabula Rasa and the authorized Pärt documentary DVD “ 24 Preludes for a Fugue” by Dorian Supin. These materials were received and deposited in the Father Georges Florovsky Library by seminary librarian Eleana Silk.
For its part, St Vladimir’s Seminary has begun a series of book donations to the Arvo Pärt Centre’s collection, beginning with its Popular Patristics Series and its Foundations Series both published by the seminary press.
Subsequent meetings with the Pärts have occurred in England and are planned for Tallinn in the coming months. Concert venues are being explored and booked for May 2014; plans continue for lectures, publications, and a filmed documentary. And so the collaboration continues to grow.
What is this partnership about again? The Orthodox Christian tradition, in which Arvo Pärt is steeped, carries the essence of his music’s spiritual force. Pärt himself has said, “If anybody wishes to know my ‘philosophy,’ then they can read any of the Church Fathers.” Reading the Church Fathers is the life’s work of St. Vladimir’s Seminary. The Arvo Pärt Project is about tracing those connections and making them available to a wide audience.