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Joy and creativity can’t be held down forever, especially when we can draw from music and art and each other to overcome hardship and start again. It’s appropriate then that ACO’s 2021 Season begins with a reconnection to the first program cancelled in the sudden 2020 shutdown.

Estonian Arvo Pärt is one of the most performed and influential living composers. Written while Estonia was under Soviet-control, his Tabula Rasa – Latin for a clean slate – seeks spirituality and independence.

As with Tabula Rasa, Wojciech Kilar’s Orawa, written during Poland’s long confinement behind the Iron Curtain, expresses the beauty of freedom and the natural world, while Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony in C minor is a lament for victims of fascism and war, but also an act of self-reflection. Moving through elegy and brutal force into acceptance and farewell it reminds us once more that creativity, art and music do prevail.


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