The Syriac Symphony by Armando Pierucci (2018)

The Syriac Symphony was composed in 2018 by Fr. Armando Pierucci, ofm, an Italian musician and composer specialized in sacred music. After holding the organ chair at the Conservatory of Pesaro (I) for about 10 years, Armando Pierucci has been for 26 years (1988-2014) the Organist of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, where he founded a Conservatory of Music, the Magnificat Institute (leading it to become a detached section of the Conservatory of Vicenza (I)), where all the local communities, Christian, Muslim and Jewish, were welcome. Himself a western musician, he became acquainted and was highly inspired for his compositions by Eastern sacred music, with a particular focus on the traditions of the Eastern Churches. He also arranged several hundredth of Eastern Arabic popular melodies used for celebrations or in daily life.

In 2011, he composed the “Symphony to Religious Freedom” inspired by 12 different Christian sacred music traditions pieces used in Jerusalem, with two introductions based on a Jewish, respectively a Muslim theme, which was performed in the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem on 22 September 2012, and immediately after on 26 September 2012 at the United Nations in Geneva, at a cultural side event dedicated to Religious Freedom.

His fascination with the Eastern melodies and themes also translated into him composing the Syriac Symphony, inspired by Maronite and Syriac melodies. He so describes his composition:

“This music of mine approaches with respect and amazement the Syriac tradition and these ancient melodies: They have given a voice to the prayer and to the profession of Faith of the Christians of Syria, of Iraq, of Lebanon. My composition puts them into a polyphonic choral context, with an orchestral sonority that is intended to help a western ear appreciating them.

This is not to spoil the divine simplicity of the ancient songs, but to show that particular beauty which should be given back to the festive liturgies of all Churches.”

Armando Pierucci and the Laus Plena Foundation decided to make the Syriac Symphony available on the website of the Musicological Conference as an example of interactions and influences between traditions.

The Syriac Symphony was published by the Laus Plena Foundation in 2019. Armando Pierucci is the President of the Laus Plena Foundation.