Arvo Pärt - most performed living composer

Source: Visit Estonia

Arvo Pärt - most performed living composer

Today, Arvo Pärt is the most performed living composer in the world, but his journey to international acclaim began in Estonia. Music has always played an important role in cultural identity for Estonians, and in recent years, Pärt has returned to his roots to nurture musical traditions in his home country.

World renowned, deeply rooted

Arvo Pärt has received honorary doctorates from Oxford, the University of Sydney and the University of Freiburg, among others, as well as two grammy awards. 

Photo by: Estonian Foreign Ministry 

Pärt grew up in Rakvere, North Estonia playing piano at his family's home an went on to study music at the the Tallinn Conservatory (now The Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre), graduating in 1963. He was influenced by medieval and Renaissance music. He became a popular composer during the 1960's, with is music appearing in Estonian films, however he was criticized by the Soviet regime for his religious influences. In 1976 Pärt created his signature tintinnabuli style, recognizable in some of his best known works like Für Alina and Spiegel im Spiegel. In 1980, Pärt left Soviet Estonia in search of creative freedom in Vienna, and later Berlin, where he continued to live and compose until 2010 when he resumed full time residence in Tallinn. Nargenfestival, a diverse Estonian cultural festival, organises Pärt Days in September each year.  

Arvo Pärt Centre

Serenity of music and nature

A peaceful pine forest will make an ideal home for the Arvo Pärt Centre, opening in 2018. In the meantime, Estonian nature washes visitors with calmness and reflection, much like Pärt's music. 

Photo by: Magnus Heinmets

In 2010 Arvo Pärt and his family founded the Arvo Pärt Centre with "the aim of creating opportunities for preserving and researching thecreative heritage of the composer in his native land, Estonia, and in the context of the Estonian language". In 2014, Spanish architecture firm Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos won a design competition with the submission 'Tablua' to house the new Arvo Pärt Centre. The Centre will be located in Laulasmaa, near the sea about 35 kilometres from Tallinn. The building will blend into the pine forested hillside around it and contain an archive of all Pärt's works. It is set to open in 2018, on the 100th anniversary of Estonia's independence.

Last updated : 22.04.2021