Washington University and Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra Community Partnership Program to celebrate music of Olivier Messiaen March 3

Concert to highlight *Quartet for the End of Time*

Musicians from Washington University and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra will join forces to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of French composer Olivier Messiaen.

The concert — sponsored by the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences, the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra’s Community Partnership Program and KWUR 90.3FM — is free and open to the public and begins at 8 p.m. Monday, March 3, in the 560 Music Center’s E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall.

Seth Carlin
Seth Carlin

The 560 Music Center is located at 560 Trinity Ave., at the intersection with Delmar Boulevard. For more information, call (314) 935-5566 or email kschultz@artsci.wustl.edu.

Messiaen (1908-1992) was one of the 20th century’s most influential composers, known for his use of nontraditional modal scales and for his interest in non-Western traditions, such as the Indian raga system. His thematic material was inspired primarily by his Catholic faith and by the natural world, especially bird song.

Messiaen began composing at age seven and at age 11 enrolled at the Paris Conservatoire. After completing his studies, in 1931, Messiaen was appointed organist at the Sainte Trinite Cathedral, a position he would maintain for the rest of his life. However, with the outbreak of World War II, Messiaen was drafted into the French army and, in June 1940, was captured by the Nazis and interned as a prisoner of war at camp Stalag 8A in Gorlitz, Poland.

It was during his time in the camp that Messiaen composed what would become his signature work: Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time). Discovering that his fellow prisoners included a clarinetist, a violinist and a violoncellist, Messiaen wrote a short trio, the success of which led him to add a piano and seven additional movements. The completed quartet debuted Jan. 15, 1941, for an audience of Messiaen’s fellow prisoners.

The March 3 program will highlight Quartet for the End of Time. Performers are pianist Seth Carlin, professor of music in Arts & Sciences; Jooyeon Kong, violinist for the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra; St. Louis cellist Ken Kulosa; and clarinetist Paul Garritson, teacher of applied music in Arts & Sciences.

Also on the program is Thème et variations for violin and piano, which Messiaen composed in 1932 as a wedding present for his first wife. Performers are Carlin and Silvian Iticovici, violinist for the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra as well as a teacher of applied music.

Rounding out the program is Aaron Copland’s Vitebsk (1928), a trio for piano, violin and cello that captures the drama of Jewish life in a White Russian village.

Calendar Summary

WHO: Pianist Seth Carlin, cellist Ken Kulosa, clarinetist Paul Garritson and violinists Silvian Iticovici and Jooyeon Kong.

WHAT: Concert celebrating 100th anniversary of the birth of Olivier Messiaen

WHEN: 8 p.m. Monday, March 3

WHERE: E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall, 560 Music Center, 560 Trinity Ave., near the intersection of Trinity and Delmar Boulevard

COST: Free and open to the public

SPONSORS: Washington University’s Department of Music in Arts & Sciences, the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra’s Community Partnership Program and KWUR 90.3FM.

INFORMATION: (314) 935-5566 or email kschultz@artsci.wustl.edu.