Yale Concert to Reflect Apocalyptic Themes

A concert based on visions of the apocalypse will be held at Yale University in Davenport College, 248 York St., at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12. The concert, titled “The Fermented Fermata,” is sponsored by the year-long Sawyer/Mellon Seminar on Millennialism, under the direction of the Middle East Studies Council at the Yale Center for International and Area Studies. The concert is free and the public is welcome.

Magnus Bernhardsson, seminar coordinator, explains “Fermented Fermata”: “Most people associate the apocalypse with some sort of catastrophe in which the world will erupt and burst asunder. Leading up to the apocalypse, the times will, therefore, be fermented. The fermata gives a musician discretion to hold the note longer, i.e. to break up the rhythm and disrupt the beat. In our seminar, we have seen examples of people who want to take matters in their own hands, to disrupt time and change the rules – similar to what the fermata allows the musician to do.”

The program will include Haydn’s “The Seven Last Words of Christ,” Brahms’ Piano Trio op. 8, Messiaen’s “Quartet from the End of Time” and a world premiere, “Thor and the Serpent,” by Michael Kelly. This new work incorporates ancient Icelandic and Nordic apocalyptic myths into an exploration of contemporary millennial angst. A brief introduction to the history of apocalyptic music will be given to place the pieces in context.

Instrumentalists will be the Iceland Trio, with Nina-Margret Grimsdottir (piano), Sigurdur Bjarki Gunnarsson (cello) and Sibbi Bernhardsson (violin). The Iceland Trio was founded in New York in 1998 and has performed both in the United States and Iceland. The trio will be joined by Yale School of Music student Sarah Kim (violin) and Juilliard student Michael Kelly (viola, computer and composer). Kim is a student of Peter Oundjian, professor of music at Yale.

Abbas Amanat, professor of Middle Eastern history and chair of the Council on Middle East Studies at the Yale Center for International and Area Studies, is director of the Seminar on Millennialism. Graduate student Magnus Bernhardsson is coordinator. For further information on the seminar or the concert, contact the Middle East Studies Council at (203) 432-5596 or send e-mail to magnus.bernhardsson@yale.edu.

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Media Contact

Gila Reinstein: gila.reinstein@yale.edu, 203-432-1325