The University of Chicago News Office
Mar. 20, 2002 Press Contact: Lorraine Brochu
(773) 702-7059

Michael Pfleger, Martin Marty to speak at Vermeer Quartet’s Seven Last Words of Christ performance Mar. 27

The majesty of live music and the wonder of the spoken word will combine in a stirring performance of Haydn’s The Seven Last Words of Christ. The piece will be presented by the internationally renowned Vermeer String Quartet, with original meditations by eight distinguished theologians, at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 27, at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, 5850 S. Woodlawn Ave., on the University of Chicago campus.

Composed in 1786, The Seven Last Words of Christ was first presented on Good Friday in 1787 in Cadiz, Spain. The work’s seven main sections, each based upon one of Jesus’ final phrases, were prefaced by brief spoken homilies by the Bishop of Cadiz.

Rockefeller Chapel’s Holy Week presentation will revive this unique format, bringing together in this one piece a diverse group of respected speakers. The performance will include homilies presented by the following speakers:

  • Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Church in Chicago

  • Rev. Addie L. Wyatt, pastor of Vernon Park Church of God

  • Dr. Martin Marty, the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago and Scholar-in-Residence at Chicago’s Park Ride Center for Health, Faith and Ethics

  • Dr. Jean Bethke Elshtain, the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor in the Divinity School at the University of Chicago

  • Dr. John Shea of the Park Ridge Center for Health, Faith and Ethics

  • Rev. Alison Boden, Dean of Rockefeller Memorial Chapel

  • Chaplain Landis McAlpin of the Chicago Fire Department

  • Rev. Donald Parson, pastor of Logos Baptist Assembly in Chicago

The Vermeer Quartet makes its home in the Chicago area, where it annually presents The Seven Last Words of Christ. The group’s recording of this work was nominated for a Grammy award in 1996.

Beyond the music, a unique vitality is given to each performance of The Seven Last Words of Christ as each of the presenters brings his or her unique reflections upon the final words of Christ on the cross. Haydn wanted the piece to be accessible to all, regardless of one’s musical or religious background: “Each sonata, or movement, is expressed by purely instrumental music in such a way that even the most uninitiated listener will be moved to the very depths of his soul,” he wrote.

A pre-performance discussion with members of the Vermeer Quartet will begin at 7 p.m. in the chapel. The performance will be broadcast on WFMT radio (98.7 FM) on Good Friday, April 13.

Admission for adults is $10. The performance is free for youth 17 and under. For advance tickets, group rates and further information, call (773) 702-7059.

Named for University of Chicago founder John D. Rockefeller, Rockefeller Memorial Chapel is the center of religious activity for the University of Chicago. Events range from worship services and religious education classes to community outreach and performances by world-renowned musicians. The chapel also serves as the ceremonial center of the University, hosting many official University functions. Its E. M. Skinner organ and Laura Spelman Rockefeller carillon are among the great instruments of their kind in the country. Rockefeller Memorial Chapel is located at 5850 S. Woodlawn Ave., with plentiful free parking nearby. For more information, call (773) 702-2100.
Last modified at 04:58 PM CST on Tuesday, March 19, 2002.

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