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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, ARVO PÄRT supported himself as a recording engineer for Estonian Radio in Tallinn and 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. Fratres, Cantus in Memory of 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. In 2010, Pärt returned to Estonia, where he resides today. The same year the Arvo Pärt Centre, which holds Pärt’s personal archive, was established in Laulasmaa, near Tallinn, by the composer’s family.

Further listening:

Credo (1968)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)