Concert and Exhibit celebrates Bertha von Suttner: A Life of Peace

Friday, May 9, 2014

Over one hundred years ago, Bertha von Suttner, an avid Austrian pacifist, became the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Born in 1843, Suttner was in many ways ahead of her time as the figurehead of a world-wide peace movement. She relentlessly fought nationalist fanaticism, aggressive militarism, anti-Semitism and recognized the dangers of hate breeding. As a writer and lecturer, she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for her most famous novel “Lay Down your Arms.” 

In 2006, the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Austria, Dr. Ursula Plassnik, commissioned a traveling historical exhibit entitled “A Life of Peace” that chronicles Suttner’s life and work. This exhibit now travels the world as the Austrian foreign policy aims to “continue to act in the spirit of Bertha von Suttner and work to promote peace and human rights in the whole world.” Plassnik explained that “Lasting peace and security is only possible if human rights are guaranteed.” This exhibit opens in the Grebel Gallery at the new MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement at Conrad Grebel University College on May 20 and will remain until August 15.

To celebrate the opening of this exhibit at Conrad Grebel, Violinist Elena Denisova and her husband, pianist Alexei Kornienko will perform a commemorative concert entitled “1914-2014”on Tuesday, May 20 at 7:30 pm in the Conrad Grebel University College Chapel. These world class musicians have been selected by the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to perform in conjunction with this exhibit. A reception and exhibit opening in the Grebel Gallery will follow the concert.

Austrian Musicians

Alexei Kornienko is an outstanding musician whose work is characterized both by an unconditional and joyful attention to text and also a boldness in interpretation. His work as a pianist of the Russian school, with his extraordinarily wide Classical and Romantic repertoire, is combined profoundly with his work as a conductor, which he has steadily expanded in recent years. Elena Denisova ranks as one of the finest and most charismatic violinists of her generation. Known for her great musical maturity, individual style of interpretation and supreme virtuosity, her performances have won critical acclaim from press and public alike.

 In addition to hosting these two fine musicians, it is a great honour for the Grebel community to welcome a representative from the Austrian Embassy at the concert and exhibit.

“This exhibit and concert is exactly what we hope will happen in the new MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement,” said Fred W. Martin, the College’s development director who is serving as the start-up manager for the CPA. “By housing an artistic exhibit in our new Grebel Gallery in the CPA, we are deliberately connecting the arts with peace-making!”

Grebel is pleased that “A Life of Peace” will be the first exhibit in the Grebel Gallery and looks forward to hosting more high calibre displays in the new MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement. The official celebration and opening of the CPA will be on September 21, 2014.

Founded in 1963 by Ontario Mennonites, Conrad Grebel University College is a Christian liberal arts college affiliated with the University of Waterloo. The College’s mission is “to seek wisdom, nurture faith and pursue justice and peace in service to church and society.” Conrad Grebel’s core values include inspired teaching, scholarly excellence, compassionate service, community building, active peacemaking and global engagement. These are expressed through the academic and student life programs.

1914-2014 Concert with Violin and Piano
Bertha von Suttner: A Life of Peace Exhibit

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - 7:30 pm
Conrad Grebel University College Chapel
140 Westmount Road North
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G6

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