Dushka Howarth (1924-2010)
(Cynthie, Sophia) Howarth is the daughter of G. I. Gurdjieff and Jessmin Howarth.
Musician, singer, teacher of Gurdjieff Movements, Dushka Howarth devoted much of her life to preserving the heritage of her parents, George Ivanovich Gurdjieff, the extraordinary spiritual teacher and founder of the “Work,” and Jessmin Howarth, the dancer and musician, who was entrusted by Gurdjieff to teach his Movements (sacred dances and exercises for spiritual development) in America.
Dushka worked tirelessly for many years to preserve Gurdjieff’s entire Movement collection and make it available to instructors and musicians of the various authentic Gurdjieff lineages. Immediately following Jessmin’s death, Dushka traveled for ten years—to many South American countries where she taught the Movements to groups under the direction of Natalie de Salzmann de Etievan.
Dushka’s faithful archival efforts resulted in the publication of a complete set of Gurdjieff’s harmonium music in 2005, from recordings she had made in Paris in 1948-49, the final years of his life. She was instrumental in providing the orchestral scores for the Gurdjieff/de Hartmann, “Oriental Suite,” which was performed publicly in Holland. Her continued collaboration with Gert-Jan Blom, a Dutch music producer, resulted in recordings of the Gurdjieff/de Hartman music composed for the 1923-24 Movements Demonstrations in Paris and New York issued as a full set of CDs entitled “Oriental Suite” with an accompanying book by Blom.
For decades, Dushka organized family letters, notes, and photographs. Finally, in her 70’s, she taught herself word processing, photo scanning, manuscript layout and other computer skills. Adding her unique personal narrative, she began work on a comprehensive memoir which continued despite the failing health that eventually left her bedridden. In 2009, she published: “IT’S UP TO OURSELVES” A Mother, A Daughter, and Gurdjieff: A Shared Memoir and Family Photo Album, Gurdjieff Heritage Society.
Dushka warmly welcomed serious students of her father’s teaching as well as those who were just curious. Seekers found their way to her from all over the planet: from every corner of Europe and beyond, including her father’s homeland of Armenia, North and Central America, and more distant lands such as Israel, Australia and Japan. Her phone rang constantly, yet she somehow found time to correspond with hundreds of friends and to critique videos and music sent to her for wise counsel.
Visitors were urged to sample the buffet of desserts on two small tables that groaned under plates of cookies, chocolates, nuts and fruit and an assortment of spirits. With the same generosity, Dushka shared her knowledge of the Movements and their musical accompaniments and offered a wealth of practical suggestions to instructors and pianists. Striving to maintain purity, she always referred to original notes recorded by her mother and other direct Gurdjieff students. She drew as well from personal experiences in his classes.
web-site The Gurdjieff Heritage Society
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