Pärt grew up in Rakvere in North Estonia playing the piano at his family's home and went on to study music at the Tallinn Conservatory (now The Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre), graduating in 1963. During his studies, he was influenced by medieval and Renaissance music.
Pärt went on to become a popular composer during the 1960s with his music appearing in Estonian films. However, he was criticized during that time 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 a full-time residence in Tallinn. During the 2010s Pärt earned the distinction of being the most performed living composer in the world and held the title for eight years.
The Estonian cultural festival Nargenfestival organises Pärt Days in September each year.
The Arvo Pärt Centre