Arvo Pärt

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Date and place of birth: 1935, Paide, Estonia

Living place: Berlin, Germany

Theme: music

ECC Participation: Honorary Committee

Arvo Pärt is regarded as one of the most distinguished and mystical contemporary music composers. He is the creator of the subtle musical style known as tintinnabuli, which is characterized by simplicity, extreme minimalism, and clarity of composition. With his choice of modest forms and thrifty instrumentation, Pärt creates noble pieces that have won him the recognition of critics and music lovers alike. A performance of his Cecilia, vergine romana was featured among the cultural events accompanying the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin.

“In art everything is possible but everything, what is made is not necessary.”

Arvo Pärt studied at the Tallinn Conservatory. His early work was heavily influenced by atonality and dodecaphony. His trademark style began to emerge in the lat 1960s and can be heard in such works as Für Alina(1976), Passio (1982), Stabat Mater (1985), and La Sindone (2006).

The composer’s musical journey and spiritual development are closely linked. Pärt grew up in a Protestant family, before becoming a follower of Orthodox Christianity. He emigrated to Vienna in 1980 and settled in Berlin soon after. He has dedicated his pieces to a number of people, among them Mikhail Khodorkovsky, for whom he wrote Symphony No. 4 (2008). The requiem Für Lennart in Memoriam(2006) was dedicated to the first democratically elected president of Estonia. In response to the murder of the independent Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, Pärt dedicated all of his works performed in the 2006–2007 season.

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