Monday, April 14, 2014


Premiered January 24 & 25 2014

Breaking Ground Dance & Film Festival

Tempe Center for the Arts

Choreography | Carley Conder

Dancers | CONDER/Dance

Sculpture | "Urchin Spine" by Pete Deise

Music | R. Michael Wahlquist, sampling Son Lux's "Speak"

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Schnittke's rejection letter to the Lenin Prize Committee

In 1990, Russia was changing fast. The single-party system of communism was giving way to a multi-party system. Gorbachev's glasnost and perestroika were proving the undoing of the Soviet Union - its dissolution was less than a year away.

From composer Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998), one of the most unique Russian composers since Shostakovich, we get an interesting glimpse into the change in attitude sweeping into Russia - emboldened, cautiously optimistic, and at last free to speak one's mind.
Composer Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
image courtesy Wikimedia Commons
In the following letter to the Lenin Prize Committee, Schnittke gives his faith-based reasoning for rejecting the Soviet Union's most prestigious musical prize (This would have been the equivalent of rejecting the Pulitzer Prize!). His thoughtful argument presupposes the idea, all too easily forgotten in our permissive time, that religious voices deserve representation and recognition. As a convert to Christianity from the early 1980s, Schnittke here performs the verbal equivalent of toppling Lenin from the pedestals on which he was so literally and ubiquitously exalted in the Soviet Union.