Arvo Pärt Panel Discussion

The Arvo Pärt project celebrates the renowned Estonian composer through a series of performances at the Phillips collection, the Kenney Center, and at Carnegie Hall this May. As part of the Leading European Composers program through The Phillips Collection and the George Washington University, an Arvo Pärt Project panel discussion between St. Vladimir’s Seminary, Catholic University of America, and GW faculty will be taking place on GW’s campus. Discussion leaders include: Dr. Peter Bouteneff, SVS faculty member with degrees in music and theology; Dr. Nicholas Reeves, SVS faculty member with degrees in music; Dr. Douglas Boyce, GW faculty member and composer with degrees in music and physics; Dr. Paul Duff, GW faculty member with degrees in religion and biblical literature; and Dr. Andrew Simpson, Catholic faculty member and composer of opera, silent film, orchestral, chamber, and choral music. Topics to be discussed include: the spiritual foundations of Pärt’s signature compositional style; the spiritual in music and the relationship between affect and devotion; and history and historicity in musical material.

After establishing himself as an important Eastern European composer with a series of influential works to his name in the 1960s, Estonian Arvo Pärt was politically centered, and disappeared from the musical world for seven years.  When he returned from exile, Pärt’s music emerged as a completely new form of musical composition. This new music was “pure,” “uncluttered,” and unmistakably spiritual. Musicians credit this spiritually to the composer’s deep immersion in the Orthodox Christian Church. Pärt, now considered a world-renowned composer, and recently given the title Archon Protomaïstoros, or “First Maestro,” by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholemew I recognizing his extraordinary contribution in the field of music, describes his work as two interweaving currents – suffering and consolation, sin and forgiveness, human and divine. These musical influences and complexities piqued the interest of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, one of the world’s leading institutions of higher Orthodox Christian learning, and the Arvo Pärt Project was born. Their goal is to “get to the purest heart of Pärt’s oeuvre, by plumbing the depths of Eastern Christianity.”   

This event is free and open to the public. For more information about the Arvo Pärt Project, please visit: