Wednesday, July 15, 2009
In July 1949, Robert Maynard Hutchins, Chancellor of the University of Chicago and his friend Walter Paepcke, also of Chicago, held a unique event of words and music to mark the 200th birthday of Johann von Goethe. The Goethe Bicentennial Celebration, held in the small mining town of Aspen, Colorado featured music inspired by Goethe performed by the Minneapolis Symphony under Dimitri Mitropoulos and speeches by great humanists of the time, including Dr. Albert Schweitzer.
This event was so successful that the tradition of gathering great music and great thought leaders in Aspen was begun that very year resulting in the founding of The Aspen Institute and Aspen Festival.
On July 11, 2009, the Aspen Chapel, the Aspen Music Festival and School presented “An Albert Schweitzer Portrait” which featured performances of Bach and the Aspen premiere of our Albert Schweitzer Portrait in its organ version.
The musical program was organized and performed by Aspen Chapel organist Susan Nicholson. The narrator was Irene Gubrud, who has been on the Aspen School voice faculty for 30 years.
Ms. Gubrud was eloquent in her reading of Schweitzer’s inspiring words. In 2008, Ms. Gubrud founded the Aspen Musician Peace Project, which “advocates using the unifying power of music to help bring peace and harmony to this world.”
Dr. Lachlan Forrow, President of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, Dr. Lisa Wong of LSO, Alan Fletcher, President of the Aspen Festival and School, soprano Irene Gubrud and organist Susan Nicholson gathered following the performance.
On Sunday, Dr. Forrow and Dr. Wong returned to Aspen Chapel to discuss Schweitzer and his legacy of music, medicine and service with a congregation of 50 Aspen residents. Dr. Wong offered solo viola works by Bach. The remarkable weekend ended with a visit to Dr. Albert Schweitzer's statue, prominently displayed in Paepcke Park.