A concordat between representatives of the Arvo Pärt Centreand 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 cooperation between the Arvo Pärt Centre and St. Vladimir’s Seminary. This collaborative relationship was begun in 2011 through the work of 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.
The Concordat documents were created by the hand of a 2015 graduate in the Master of Arts program, Nikita Andrejev. They were made possible by the generosity of the Reverend Dr. Robert Saler, executive director of the Center for Pastoral Excellence at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, IN. In a raffle held by the Arvo Pärt Project, Robert won two tickets to the May 2014 Carnegie Hall concert featuring the composer and his music. He also journeyed from Indiana to New York in January of 2014 to attend Dr. Bouteneff’s January term class, “The Music and Faith of Arvo Pärt.”