Vuorinen to Give Lecture on Witnessing Passion

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

2019 Eby Lecture - Witnessing PassionWATERLOO, ON – On October 10, 2019, Professor Mark Vuorinen, Chair of Music at Conrad Grebel University College and the University of Waterloo, will speak on “Witnessing Passion: Musical Depiction of Minor Characters in Passion Music by Bach, Ešenvalds, MacMillan, and Pärt” as the 2019 Benjamin Eby Lecturer.

The Passion accounts in the four canonical gospels are full of witnesses to the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Christ. Often, their presence is distilled into a few menial words, yet their presence as eyewitnesses is absolutely essential. With the help of some guest vocalists, Vuorinen’s lecture-demonstration will explore ways through which J.S. Bach, Ēriks Ešenvalds, James MacMillan, and Arvo Pärt note, musically, the presence of these biblical by-standers.

“As a conductor,” explained Vuorinen, “I’ve encountered these works with open eyes and ears, finding new relationships in the music each time. I’ve been struck by the way in which Bach pays attention to how the passers-by in the Passion account relate to the action. It illuminates the human side of the story, which I think helps listeners relate in a more personal way.”

Ēriks Ešenvalds and James MacMillan have both visited Grebel in the past—Ešenvalds as a choral music workshop leader and MacMillan as the 2016 Sawatsky Visiting Scholar. “I’ve been very fortunate to have spent time with the three living composers whose music I’ll discuss,” reflected Vuorinen. “Each of them, in their own way, are carrying on the traditions of Bach’s Passion settings in their own works. These works are very personal accounts, as they were for Bach.  It’s striking to me that in a largely secular age, these composers, whose own faith is deeply palpable in their work, follow in this old tradition of setting the Passion. ”

“The annual Benjamin Eby Lecture is an occasion to showcase Grebel faculty research in the wider community,” explained Dean Troy Osborne. “For faculty, it is a chance to share the ideas and topics that we are most passionate about. We hope that the public will catch some of our excitement and interest and continue the conversation beyond the lecture.”

In addition to his role as Chair of the Music Department, Vuorinen is Associate Professor of Music at Grebel, where he teaches courses in conducting and choral music. Vuorinen conducts the University of Waterloo Chamber Choir and is also the Artistic Director of Kitchener-Waterloo’s Grand Philharmonic Choir and The Elora Singers.

___________________________________
Thursday, October 10, 2019 at 7:30 PM
Free Public Lecture
Witnessing Passion: Musical depiction of minor characters
in Passion music by Bach, Ešenvalds, MacMillan and Pärt

Conrad Grebel University College, Chapel
140 Westmount Rd.  Waterloo, ON
Registration requested

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