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Sydney Philharmonia Choirs | Grant Us Peace: Music of Vasks

Grant Us Peace: Music of Vasks

The past two years have taken their toll – suffering, grief, the isolation of lockdown, the anxiety of opening up.

Now, perhaps more than ever, we need the music of Pēteris Vasks, a composer who believes music shouldn’t “tell how awful things are, how bad the world is, how bad people are” but instead “how beautiful the world is, how beautiful people’s souls are”. Vasks’ music taps into our desire for beauty and for hope – even in its more anguished moments, it remains comforting, speaking to the soul with sounds more powerful than words.

In this concert we perform two musical prayers – the beautiful and moving Pater noster (Our Father) and an ecstatic cry for peace, Dona nobis pacem. These alternate with two Australian works: the optimism of Maria Lopes’ My Life Flows On and Stuart Greenbaum’s thought-provoking collaboration with poet Ross Baglin – juxtaposing a penthouse celebrity function with the burning of a museum in the streets below. And at the heart of the program is Vasks’ majestic setting of the mass – sometimes sombre, sometimes gentle, sometimes animated, as if sung by “happy little angels”.

If you love the music of Arvo Pärt or Henryk Gorecki, then you’ll recognise the spirit of “holy minimalism” in Vasks’ music. At the same time, his radiant style is completely his own – unapologetically tonal and drawing on the choral traditions of his Latvian culture.

Join the Chamber Singers in St Andrew’s Cathedral for two hours of sanctuary in a troubled world.

Saturday 9 July | 2pm
St Andrew’s Cathedral


Deborah CHEETHAM & Matthew DOYLE Tarimi Nulay – Long time living here*
Pēteris VASKS Pater noster (Our Father)
Maria LOPES My Life Flows On*
Stuart GREENBAUM The Night that the Museum Burned**
VASKS Dona nobis pacem (Grant us peace)
VASKS Missa (Mass)

* Commissioned for our 100 Minutes of New Australian Music project

This performance will run for approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes, including one 20-minute interval.


Brett Weymark conductor
Chamber Singers
Sydney Philharmonia String Ensemble


Premium $70 (Limited number of seats)
General Admission $60
A booking fee of $8.50 per transaction applies.




  • All SPC singers, musicians and staff are double vaccinated.
  • Audiences will be required to wear masks throughout the performance. If this changes we will inform patrons as soon as possible.
  • Hand sanitiser will be available.
  • A digital program book will be available on this page a week prior to the concert. A limited number of printed program books will be available for $5 each at the concert.