Sadao Watanabe, Japanese artist, whose prints are finding their way not only into the Christian homes and churches of his own country but into top galleries in the United States like New York’s Museum of Modern Art. His entry in an exhibition of contemporary Japanese prints held in New York a few years ago won first prize. When James Michener was preparing a book of 10 original Japanese prints, Watanabe’s head of Christ was one of those chosen from hundreds of entries. Such achievement is even more impressive when one realizes the keen competition that exists among Japan’s art-oriented people. Tokyo alone boasts 25,000 professional artists. (READ MORE)
Teodor Currentzis, the artistic director of the Perm Theatre of Opera and Ballet, keeps an office on the theatre’s belle étage, a compact space made all the more intimate by the dense musk of perfume and the dark tones of the velvet couch and heavy carpets. The room has the air, entirely intentional, of the sacred: an Orthodox icon hangs on one wall, watching over the proceedings, and the scent that wafts out of the room is reminiscent of the woody and dank interiors of a Russian church. The office is at once a sanctuary for Currentzis and his reception hall, a place where old friends and fellow musicians and admirers — there are plenty of them in Perm — come after a concert to share a word or a compliment with the maestro.
Currentzis has said his mission is to make classical music a relevant and understandable artistic language for the current day, while returning to pieces that can feel beautifully and enigmatically ancient — Requiem among them, having been written under a cloud of mystery in the 1790s, begun by Mozart as a commission for an eccentric count and finished by other composers after his death. “If you want to open the door to the eternal, you have to be present in the here and now,” Currentzis told me. “It may sound like a paradox, but it’s absolutely true: you have to be here, part of the moment, a conscious participant in life — and that’s what makes you part of this eternal link.”
Currentzis builds this bridge between the quotidian inner world of the listener and the timeless portal offered by the music itself through an entire architecture of exploration and discussion in which the concert is only one part. In Perm, Currentzis holds a series of open workshops, during which he explains the history of the piece he and musicAeterna are preparing, offering his own thoughts on its meaning and context, while encouraging those in the audience to ask questions and offer thoughts.
Courtesy of Teodor Currentzis © Olya Runyova
Abeyta graduated from New York University and being awarded an honorary doctorate from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. Additionally, in 2012 he was a recipient of the New Mexico Governor’s Excellence in the Arts award and was soon accepted as a Native treasure by the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture. Currently, he is based in Santa Fe, NM and Berkley, CA. His work has been included in a number of prestigious museums and private collections throughout the U.S