Estonian-born Arvo Pärt is one of those composers whose creative output has signiﬁcantly changed the way we understand the nature of music. Since 1976, his unique tintinnabuli compositions have established a new kind of musical paradigm – a radically different approach to many aspects of music, as well as to interpretation and listening.
Pärt’s oeuvre is versatile, including music for orchestra, compositions for choir and orchestra, four symphonies and works for soloists and orchestra, as well as a cappella choral pieces and chamber music. His ’musical Credo’ is rooted in Christianity and since the Word (Logos) plays a vital and even structural role in Pärt’s compositional process, his works are mostly based on liturgical texts or other Christian prayer texts.
He was born on 11 September 1935 in Paide, Estonia. After studies in Heino Eller’s composition class at the Tallinn State Conservatory, he worked from 1958 to 1967 as a sound engineer for Estonian Radio. Since the late 1960s, Pärt has been a free-lance composer. He emigrated with his family to Vienna in 1980, and one year later travelled on a DAAD scholarship to Berlin, where he lived for 30 years.
The year 1984 marks the beginning of his creative collaboration with the distinguished CD label ECM and the producer Manfred Eicher, and the ﬁrst recording of Tabula rasa. Since then his music has been performed and recorded by the best orchestras and interpreters of our time.
In 2010, Pärt returned to Estonia where he resides today.