Gift Concerts for San Miniato’s Anniversary

San Miniato Al Monte church

The hidden, hilltop beauty of basilica di San Miniato can be experienced during this week’s musical celebrations of the church and monastery’s 1,000th birthday. On Thursday, Sept. 27 and Friday, Sept. 28 at 9 pm free of entrance, the Orchestra della Toscana will be concluding their summer season with free performances: the world premier of Tigran Mansurian’s Seven PrayersThe works of a contemporary Armenian composer were selected in view of the fact that San Miniato was founded thanks to an Armenian saint of the same name.   Mansurian’s music blends traditional Armenian art music and traditions with medieval, contemporary, and expressive melodies. The style of music is meant to emphasize the relationship between San Miniato al Monte and Armenia.

The evenings will open with Confessing with Faith (1994) and after the Seven Prayers performance, a new composition commissioned by the Abbey to pay tribute to St. Minias (San Miniato), Armenian by birth and Florentine by adoption in addition to St. Nerses Shnorhal (1102-73), a Florentine bishop of Armenian origin. Mansurian was inspired for this composition by the 12th century poet San Nersete’s group of 24 prayers which have been translated over the centuries into Greek, Latin, Italian, and 29 other languages. For this composition, Mansurian used prayers 8 to 14, creating a piece for baritone, choir, and orchestra.

In addition to the Orchestra della Toscana, protagonists of the concerts include: Stefano Zanobini, first viola of the ORT; Armenian baritone Gurgen Baveyan, singers Giulia Peri, Giovanni Biswas, Paolo Fanciullacci, Gabriele Lombardi of L’Homme Armé ensemble: and the”Guido Saracini” Chorus of the Siena Cathedral.  Conducting the show will be George Pehlivanian, the Lebanese musician who grew up in Los Angeles, and was mentored by Pierre Boulez and Lorin Maazel.

These free concerts are subject to limited seating and no reservations are available.  (beatrice paolucci)