Born: 1935, Paide, Estonia
"I have discovered that it is enough when a single note is beautifully played. This one note, or a silent beat, or a moment of silence, comforts me."
As a young musician, Pärt supported himself as a recording engineer for Estonian Radio in Tallinn and he composed over 50 film scores. After graduating from the Tallinn Conservatory, he began developing serial techniques through independent study. After a period of stylistic crisis and further study of early music, Pärt emerged in the mid-'70s with his own distinctive "tintinnabulation" style of bell-like, triadic minimalism. Fratres, Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten, and Tabula Rasa were the breakthrough works, bringing him broad international recognition. Neither tintinnabulation nor the explicit Christian texts he frequently set endeared Pärt to Soviet-era cultural authorities, and in 1980 he emigrated to the West.
Hélène Grimaud, Finnish Radio Orchestra and Chorus, Esa-Pekka Salonen (DG)
Fratres (1977), Cantus (1977)
Gidon Kremer, Keith Jarrett, Staatsorchester Stuttgart, Dennis Russell Davies (ECM)