Pärt, Arvo (USA)
- James Bash
(b Paide, Estonia, Sept 11, 1935). Estonian composer. Arvo Pärt’s works since the late 1970s have gained a popularity that is almost unique in the world of classical music. Pärt studied composition at the Tallinn Conservatory (1957–63) with Heino Eller, and became a recording engineer with Estonian Radio. During his early career he wrote stage and film music and was one of the first composers in the Soviet Union to explore serialism (Nekrolog, 1960). In the late 1960s Pärt introduced the use of musical quotations and references to older music in his works, such as “Credo” for chorus, piano, and orchestra (1968). Because “Credo” drew from religious texts, it was banned in the Soviet Union. Pärt later emigrated in 1980, settling in Berlin.
Following “Credo,” Pärt engaged in extended periods of contemplative silence during which he studied early polyphony. He composed the Third Symphony (...