STONINGTON — Hartford-based Cuatro Puntos, a musical ensemble committed to making music accessible to all people — regardless of socio-economic status or ability level — will celebrate the music and culture of Afghanistan Sunday in Stonington with a concert called “The Rosegarden of Light,” a multinational collaboration aimed to make the voices of young Afghani people heard around the world.
Music was entirely banned in Afghanistan as recently as 2001, according to concert organizers, a ban that continues in some parts of the country, while musicians remain targets in other parts. “The Rosegarden of Light,” provides an opportunity for the voices to be heard on an international scale as the courageous people of Afghanistan rebuild and reaffirm their centuries-old musical and artistic culture, organizers said.
The Rosegarden of Light Project is, at its roots, a peaceful reaction to a vicious act of violence. In 2014, members of the ensemble traveled to Kabul, Afghanistan, to teach for the summer at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, where they performed side-by-side with young musicians from the music school in a groundbreaking concert.
A few months later, a similar event featuring the music students was the target of a terrorist attack intended to silence the voices of young people in Afghanistan.
In December 2014 the courageous young students of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music were performing musical accompaniment to a play in Kabul that was the target of a suicide bombing.
The explosion severely wounded Dr. Ahmad Sarmast, the institute’s founder and director.
The act of violence directed against the arts shook the students, faculty and partners but did not break their spirit.
The Rosegarden of Light Project was born in response to this tragic event, and has come to represent all that can be accomplished when people decide to respond to an atrocity with open hearts and a passion for a brighter future.
The project is a collaboration across three nations to show solidarity and support for the young musicians of Kabul.
“The Rosegarden of Light” is a 16th century title used to reference the region that is Afghanistan.
The title refers both to a specific piece of music — Sadie Harrison’s “Gulistan-e Nur: The Rosegarden of Light” for youth ensemble and string sextet — and to an ongoing series of performances, lectures and events worldwide aimed at raising awareness of Afghan music and culture.
Cuatro Puntos partnered with two of the music school’s ensembles, the Afghan Women’s Orchestra, Zohra, and the Junior Ensemble of Traditional Instruments, to release a CD that featured all three ensembles performing upbeat folk music from Afghanistan.
Since its release in 2016, “The Rosegarden of Light” album has been met with worldwide critical acclaim, been heard in several films, and has been heard on prominent media such as BBC Radio in England and NPR in the USA.
Cuatro Puntos will play music from Afghanistan, including composer Sadie Harrison’s “Gulistan-e Nur: The Rosegarden of Light,” which will feature the musicians of Cuatro Puntos alongside video performances by Zohra.
Sunday’s program will include “Three Calligraphies for string quartet,” by Reza Vali; “The Oldest Song in the World for two violas,” Sadie Harrison; “Jaunpuri” (“Morning Song”) for string quartet, Kevin Bishop; “Gulistan-e Nur: The Rosegarden of Light,” Sadie Harrison; and “Three Folk Songs from Afghanistan for quartet and zerbagali,” Kevin Bishop.
The concert will begin at 3 p.m. at Calvary Episcopal Church, 27 Church St.
The concert is free of charge, however a suggested donation of $10 per adult will be appreciated.
This concert is presented by Calvary Music School and Calvary Episcopal Church.
For more information, visit cuatropuntos.org, or call 860-333-0297.