Martin Nelsons, Music Director
American Symphony Orchestra
1605 Roosevelt Avenue
New England, USA
Dear Maestro Nelsons:
May this message find you well and lively in spirit!
Lutheran Arts joins others in honoring the historic 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017, and we encourage professional orchestras everywhere to participate with us. For Lutherans, 31 October 1517 marks the traditional date of Martin Luther’s writing and publishing his Ninety-five Theses in that year.
Over the centuries, music composition has been one of the richest expressions of our Lutheran faith and heritage. As you know, Bach was one of our church organists. Telemann, too! Handel was born and raised Lutheran, learned keyboard from his local organist, and attended Martin Luther University–Wittenberg. Mendelssohn, as a child, became a life long Lutheran and composed, among other great music, the Reformation Symphony. Brahms was the grandson of a Lutheran pastor, and his funeral took place at the Lutheran church in central Vienna. Grieg, Sibelius, and Nielsen were all born into the Nordic Lutheran culture.
These are big names in music history. There are others. Lutherans sing! If we add composers concentrating on organ and choral music, the registry grows exponentially. Then there is that Pulitzer Prize winning American composer, Howard Hanson, who went on to lead the Eastman School of Music for forty years. Yes, he was a graduate of a small Lutheran college in Nebraska.
As you prepare musical selections for your 2017-18 season, we invite you to join us in honoring Reformation Through the Arts. Please send us your news so we may join in announcing your special programming for this historic occasion.
With kind regards,
Douglas Koons, Executive Director