ACMP Board Member Marjana Rutkowski receives the title of Emeritus Citizen of Porto Alegre

Marjana Rutkowski and Congresswoman Lourdes Sprenger

On March 29, 2022 ACMP’s first South American Board Member, Marjana Rutkowski (cellist from Brazil) was named an Emeritus Citizen of Porto Alegre at the municipal government’s Salão Nobre.

This is the highest award offered by the city of Porto Alegre. It was a lengthy process with many candidates, whose names were reviewed by four different commissions. The winners must receive two thirds of the vote by the final Chambers. Only sixteen people have been chosen to receive this honor over the past decades.

The award is in recognition of Marjana’s continuing work for the development of Brazil’s society and her cultural and artistic advocacy over the years. 

Read her July 16 interview in the Correio do Povo:

Marjana Rutkowski: uma vida dedicada à música de câmara

(To read the article in any other language: copy the link to the original Portuguese article; go to Google Translate; select “Websites” and paste it in; and then select your language of choice.)

And – practice your Portuguese! Watch this video of Marjana receiving the award and giving her acceptance speech:

Marjana Rutkowski accepting the Porto Alegre Emeritus Citizen Award, March 29, 2022

In case your Portuguese is rusty – here is a translation of Marjana’s speech (and you can read it in any language by using the “Translate” button on this site):

Good afternoon to all.

I am delighted to be meeting with you today, thanks to Councilwoman Lourdes Sprenger, whose sensibility made our encounter possible. 

The choice of my name reflects an intangible process of recognition of the importance of the arts for all types of society. 

How does this manifest itself, in this case, with chamber music, which is small groups of people playing together?

On an individual level, learning music develops cognitive abilities in both children and adults. 

Recent studies on neurological plasticity reveal the benefits of this approach for all ages. 

Chamber music is a music-making experience that brings people together by combining the strengths of individuals.  It allows musicians to incorporate their personal voices, which are not usually heard in a large ensemble group (such as an orchestra), and emphasizes collaboration between musicians, something that the experience of playing as a soloist cannot provide.  Chamber music promotes independent learning and fosters a unique interaction – you have to play, listen to your colleagues, recognize who has an essential part at any given time and adapt, perhaps compromise, and also recognize when it is time to take the lead. It is a visceral experience that exudes to other aspects of the participants’ lives. 

From a young age, I have appreciated this intrinsic quality offered by chamber practice. 

My involvement as a member of ACMP, the Associated Chamber Music Players, was a natural consequence. 

The ACMP is a non-profit organization based in New York City. It is the only institution in the world that offers support and grants for chamber music playing. 

For several years I have been the ambassador of Brazil to the entity. My work, in a timely and gradual manner, has expanded the ACMP’s reach beyond the northern hemisphere.

This broadening has allowed us to expand understanding and increase grants, contributing to projects in South America and Africa. 

I was recently elected to the Board of Directors at the ACMP’s headquarters, being the first South American to hold such a position in the history of the ACMP, which celebrates its seventy-fifth anniversary in 2022. 

Here I underline my gratitude to Dr. Henri van den Hombergh, director of the ACMP’s International Council, a physician beyond borders and a great humanist, who recognized my decade-long work and opened the way for us in the southern hemisphere.

Since 2020, support for Brazil has made possible meetings for all ages and levels of learning, as well as orientation for a student, bringing music closer to those who have not experienced it, strengthening the bonds of those who already know it through playing together online and in person, and making friends, all amid a pandemic. 

I thank Dr. Mauricio Souza, bass player, a native of Porto Alegre, workshop director, and the first to engage with the ACMP in Brazil to make the dream of the essential formation process come true. 

I congratulate the mentors and participants, particularly the children and parents who believe in this path.

Last week I arrived from a chamber music meeting in Prague, Czech Republic.  I was inside the perimeter of the effects of the war in Ukraine. We saw refugees coming and witnessed small and large acts of solidarity every day.  From there, I went to Vienna to visit a violist friend. Thanks to the support of the ACMP, we are organizing an encounter where participants take turns playing, the donations for which are non-perishable food items, then brought to a collection point for the refugees.

Now I would like to stress the importance of all of you as part of the aesthetic experience with the artists.

For John Dewey and Maxine Greene, two 20th century philosophers, the discussion about art and its meaning go beyond the idea of art for art’s sake. 

Instead, they consider art as a component of human experience, essentially cognizable and accessible to all. 

Dewey’s theories arose from the premise that we need to understand art not simply as an intellectual pursuit but rather by the possibility that art thrills at a deep level; some would say it thrills the soul. It is a complete engagement from an emotional, intellectual, and spiritual standpoint.  

Greene develops many of Dewey’s topics, including the conviction that we cannot attend passively to a work of art. 

But then, to fully experience the soul-thrilling quality, the person perceiving the art needs to bring an energy, an awakened energy, and an open receptivity to the possibilities likely to be surprised in the artwork. 

Aesthetic experiences require conscious participation in a work of art, an exhaustion of energy, and an ability to perceive what is to be noticed in the piece, the poem, the quartet.  

Knowing, even in the most formal academic mode, is entirely different from constituting a fictional world imaginatively and entering it perceptively, affectively, and cognitively.

Both philosophers define the aesthetic experience by suggesting it is transformative.

Now we will project a segment of the short film “Twelve Pandemic Scenes” by the artistic director Rita Zanini from Porto Alegre, which deals with twelve distinct facets that the pandemic showed as an impact on human relations in general. 

The project director invited me to choose the music and represent the artist, more specifically the performance artist, living with the vicissitudes raised by the pandemic.

Rita very kindly agreed to offer us the scene even before the film’s premiere. I also thank Pedro Castello for filming, Elaine Geissler and Carlos Henrique Ludwig for audio production at Sound Trek Music, and Voilà Conteúdos e Memórias for complementary sound and image production.

I am honored by this tribute, celebrated together with the 250th anniversary of our city, during the month dedicated to all women.

I invite you now to “thrill your soul” with the beautiful love theme from the movie Cinema Paradiso, composed by Ennio Morricone and his son, in an artistic recreation by the group of people mentioned earlier. 

May this appreciation be the continuation of a path that delights and fraternizes us through art.  

Thank you very much.

– Marjana Rutkowski

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