'Estonia's most celebrated export.'
'He just seemed to shake his sleeves and the notes would fall out.'
Estonian composer Arvo Pärt was born in Paide on 11 September 1935, and grew up in Rakvere, where he attended music school from the age of seven. He began composing early in his teens. He studied at Tallinn Music Middle School and then, after military service, at the Tallinn Conservatory with Heino Eller.
He was a sound producer for Estonian public radio from 1957 until 1967.
His Nekrolog of 1960 was the first twelve-tone music written in Estonia, and Credo, his first overtly sacred work, resulted in his music being censored by the Soviet authorities. After studying medieval and Renaissance music for eight years, he reappeared in 1976 with music in his new style and technique, which he invented himself. This produced the works for which he is famous - Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten, Fratres, Tabula Rasa, De profundis and Spiegel im Spiegel.
Eventually, in 1980, he was allowed to leave the Soviet Union, and lived in Vienna and then Berlin. Twenty years later he returned to Estonia, and now lives in the village of Laulasmaa in north-western Estonia.
CD Spotlight. Effervescent Beauty - Music by Pärt, Vasks and MacMillan, sung by the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, impressing Patrick Maxwell. 'This recording from the Choir of Clare College Cambridge under the direction of Graham Ross cements their position as one of the finest church ensembles in the country ...'
Ensemble. Trade Secrets - Mike Wheeler listens to guitarist Craig Ogden and friends
Ensemble. Sex and Modernism - A triptych of modern ballets, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Mathematical Advantage - Sinfonia Viva's annual schools residency, experienced by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. A Mystic Island - Arvo Pärt's 'Canon of Repentance', recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... Daniel Reuss and Cappella Amsterdam more than do justice to the distilled purity and sublime beauty of this work.'
CD Spotlight. Well Worth Exploring - Music by Marshall, Bryars and Pärt, heard by the late Howard Smith. '... refreshing immediacy and striking originality ...'
CD Spotlight. Riveting Discoveries - Music from Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... as absorbing as it is enticing.'
Ensemble. Light from on High - Giuseppe Pennisi's first of two reports from the Sagra Musicale Umbra
CD Spotlight. Angelic Stuff - Paul Hillier conducts Arvo Pärt, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... performances of the most wondrous beauty.'
Ensemble. An Outstanding Success - The Tallis Scholars celebrate Arvo Pärt's eightieth birthday at Italy's Sagra Musicale Umbra, heard by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Viscerally Exciting - Mendelssohn, Pärt, Mozart and Beethoven from Samuel Jacobs, Sinfonia Viva and Duncan Ward, all impresses Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Orchestral Colours - Garry Walker conducts Sinfonia Viva, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Luminescently Virtuoso - Erdem Misirlioglu's BPSE competition winner's recital, reviewed by Malcolm Miller
CD Spotlight. Powerfully Atmospheric - Arvo Pärt's Symphony No 4, heard by Patric Standford. '... calm, simple and strong.'
Ensemble. An Individual Spirituality - Contemporary music from London's Trinity Laban Conservatoire, heard by Malcolm Miller
CD Spotlight. A Delightful Spirit - Balkan music for flute and guitar, heard by Howard Smith. '... a near perfect blend of timbre and balance ...'
Ensemble. A Remarkable Event - Paul Sarcich visits the West Cork Chamber Music Festival
CD Spotlight. An Undisturbed Evenness - Choral music 'from a Russian cathedral', heard by Paul Sarcich. '... engineered to tranquillity ...'
Ensemble. A Near-perfect Occasion - Alice McVeigh braves the snow to listen to Fretwork at London's Wigmore Hall
Record Box. Beautifully Performed - Choral music by Pawel Lukaszewski, recommended by Patric Standford
Record Box. Nothing Happens - 'the sound of one', reviewed by Malcolm Tattersall
Chopin in the Boondocks - Stephen De Pledge returns to New Zealand, by Howard Smith
Ensemble. Delectably Played - A concert by the Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. An Interesting Mix - Sacred treasures, enjoyed by Robert Hugill. '... certainly intoxicating.'
Ensemble. Sunshine and Stars - The Australian Festival of Chamber Music 2006 continues, and Malcolm Tattersall sends a second report
Record box. A generous recital - Vadim Gluzman plays Schnittke, Pärt, Vasks and Kancheli, recommended by Howard Smith
Ensemble. Breathtaking transparency - Lawrence Budmen listens to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra play Slavic music
CD Spotlight. Tintinnabulation - Music by Arvo Pärt, reviewed by Rex Harley. '... all the air and spaciousness one needs ...'
Profile. Sounds amazing - Bill Newman talks to Jeremy Backhouse, Director of the Vasari Singers