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Recently Estonia, the birthplace of world-renowned architect Louis I. Kahn, has been given a rare opportunity to own one of Kahn’s most unique creations, the POINT COUNTER POINT II.  When commissioned by Robert Boudreau, founder and director of the American Wind Symphony Orchestra (AWSO), Kahn worked closely with Boudreau to make his idea of a floating arts center and concert stage that integrates music, art and community a reality.  Since its cons-truction in 1975, it has covered more than 500,000 miles of the world’s waterways including the US, Canada, Caribbean, and the Baltic and Irish Seas, and commissioned over 400 new musical compositions, including that of Estonian Erkki-Sven Tüür. This still futuristic 195’ long 35’ wide steel vessel contains a 75’ wide stage and reveals a retractable acoustical shell raised by a hydraulic lift allowing the concerts to be viewed from the waterfront. Although stage performances are the most awaited events, galleries on the barge invite visitors to familiarize themselves with the work of local artists. Traditionally, musicians often mentor children of families that play the same instrument, lead workshops at local schools and perform in their the towns. Poets, artists and composers in residence lead workshops and discussions.  Continuing such a tradition could encourage a wealth of cultural exchange not only within Estonian communities but also abroad. The Estonian Architecture Union first approached Robert Boudreau about doing a tour in Estonia as part of the Cultural Capital of Europe 2011 events. Discussions developed into the possibility of Estonia becoming the new home for the vessel and Boudreau, in visiting Estonia, met with politicians and cultural heads both in Tallinn and at potential port cities for the tour, including Pärnu, Narva and Kuressaare. Although there are interested buyers in the United States, the AWSO has offered to sell the vessel to Estonia for half its cost, at $1.5 million with an additional $400,000  necessary to sponsor the project. Robert Boudreau said that conducting the AWSO and leading tours through communities has not just been about creating music, it is about “creating magic”, and this stands true to the potential sale to Estonia. He stated that, “My greatest joy would be to know that Lou Kahn lives on in his homeland”. Louis Kahn was born in Estonia and lived in Kures-saare, Saaremaa until his family immigrated to Philadelphia in 1906.  Since Boudreau’s visit to Estonia, a real desire has been created on the part of several influential Estonians to purchase the floating arts center and a Foundation in Kahn’s name is being formed to oversee and lead the project. Great strides are being made on both sides of the Atlantic to capture this fabulous opportunity and make it a reality. Individuals and organizations are welcome to support this project with a tax deductible contribution to the AWSO toward the sale of the vessel to Estonia. Possible contributions include having a plaque underneath one of 20 round windows on the vessel ($5000) or a plaque with your name or organization on one of 6 doors leading to the galley, pilot house or art gallery ($10,000). Five Commissions are available to Estonian composers, including works of poetry set to music ($10,000). All works will be published by C.F. Peters Corporation, New York and the dedication to the commissioner or his family or organization will be on the first page. A $20,000 contribution would include one week living aboard and being a crew member of the POINT CONTER POINT II during the 8- week season from the end of June through the end of the Baltic Tour in August.  In light of these developments, Robert Boudreau is planning on bringing the vessel and the AWSO to Estonia in late June to participate in festivities relating to Tallinn’s designation as the Cultural Capital of Europe for 2011. The orchestra would then perform in three additional ports – Narva, Pärnu and Kures-saare – and continue throughout the Baltic, revisiting communities in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Den-mark where the AWSO performed in 1989 and 1990.  Musicians having an interest in auditioning for this tour, or individuals or organizations wanting to support this project should contact the AWSO at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . More information can also be found on the organizations’ website at  Articles regarding this project have also been recently published in several Estonian papers, including SIRP and Eesti Ekspress and can be found on their websites.  The purchase of the Point Counterpoint II by Estonia not only would ensure the preservation and continued use of a work by a world renowned architect, it would bring a work of Louis Kahn to his birthplace and give Estonia an extraordinary vessel and venue with which to activate its waterfronts and with which to spread its great music and art at international events.   Heli Ojamaa  


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