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Arvo Pärt at 85 – a year of celebrations

25.03.2020

In celebration of Arvo Pärt’s 85th birthday in September, many special events have been planned in Estonia and elsewhere, as listed below. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, many long-planned concerts have been cancelled, and a festival dedicated to Arvo Pärt which was supposed to take place in April at Muziekgebouw, one of the most famous concert halls in Amsterdam, is postponed until 2022. Out of respect for the musicians and organisers, these concerts have been included here. Without knowing the course of the virus and its impact on events scheduled after April, we will give you some highlights of the busy event calendar.

January

  • From 10–12 January, various concerts were given at the Maison de la Radio in Paris, France during a weekend dedicated to Arvo Pärt, featuring on an overview of the works by the Estonian composer. On 10 January, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the choir Maîtrise de Radio France and eight cellists performed the pieces Fratres, L’Abbé Agathon and Missa brevis, conducted by Mikko Franck. On January 11, two concerts with a comprehensive programme of Pärt’s works were performed.
    For more information
  • The Estonian National Symphony Orchestra (ENSO) will be celebrating Arvo Pärt’s birthday with several concerts throughout the entire season. On 18 October 2019, Pärt’s Symphony No. 2 was performed at the concert “Pärt & Tamberg” under the baton of Neeme Järvi, while the ENSO brass and percussion ensemble performed the piece Arbos at the concert “Us!” on 17 January.
    The concert “Pärt & Tamberg”.
    The concert “Us!”.
  • On 26 January, the Sibelius Academy celebrated Arvo Pärt’s birthday by dedicating the concert “Congratulations, Arvo Pärt” to him during the festival Sibafest 2020, with Helsinki Chamber Choir and NYKY Ensemble performing under the baton of Jaan-Eik Tulve. The performance included Für Alina, Für Anna Maria, Fratres, Pari intervallo and Te Deum.
    Read more about the concert.

February

  • On 3 February, a concert of music by the composer Arvo Pärt was given at the Grand Hall of the Elbphilarmonie in Hamburg, where the long-time interpreters of Pärt’s music, the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, took to the stage with conductor Tõnu Kaljuste. The programme included Fratres, Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten, Adam’s Lament, Salve Regina and Te Deum. The concert was curated by Manfred Eicher, director and founder of the record label ECM Records, and the opening concert of the Reflektor festival also celebrated the 50th anniversary of ECM.
    Read about the concert.
    A recording by Elbphilharmonie.
  • On 8 February, a concert of works by composer Arvo Pärt took place at Alexela Concert Hall, Tallinn, celebrating the composer’s upcoming 85th birthday in September and delighting the audience with a large selection of his music written for children. The concert programme included songs written between 1956–1970 for children’s plays and animations, performed by the Children’s Music Studio of Estonian Radio choirs and an instrumental ensemble of renowned Estonian musicians, with the conductors Kadri Hunt and Kaie Tanner. In addition to children’s songs, the audience was also treated to the premiere of a new version of Arvo Pärt’s 1959 cantata Our Garden, arranged for the chamber ensemble by the composer Tauno Aints. The first part of the cantata was performed at the concert.
  • Between 13–20 February, the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir was on a concert tour in Holland, performing Arvo Pärt’s Nunc dimittis and Summa with Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom on seven evenings under the baton of Kaspars Putniņš.
    About the concert.
  • On 28 February, “Hommage á Arvo Pärt” was held in Tel Aviv, Israel, during the “MustonenFest”, with the ensemble Hortus Musicus and the chamber choir Voces Tallinn performing under the baton of Andres Mustonen.
    Read more.

March

  • Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Australian Chamber Orchestra cancelled their tour “Arvo Pärt & Shostakovich”. The violinists Satu Vänskä and Richard Tognetti were supposed to be performing Arvo Pärt’s Tabula rasa between 19 March and 1 April across Australia. Together with the works of Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Saariaho, the musicians had planned to perform Tabula rasa altogether twelve times on the east and west coast.
    More information about the concerts.
  • On 31 March, the VII Trans-Siberian Art Festival 2020: ”The Guardian-Angel” at Novosibirsk, would have included the world premiere of a new version of Arvo Pärt’s La Sindone for violin and symphony orchestra. This piece is dedicated to Vadim Repin, Andres Mustonen and Enzo Restagno, the artistic director of the music festival “Settembre Musica” in Turin at the time. The world premiere would have been performed by the Novosibirsk Philharmonic Orchestra, with the soloist Vadim Repin (violin), and the conductor Andres Mustonen. The concert programme also included Arvo Pärt’s Passacaglia and Symphony No. 4 Los Angeles. The concert has been postponed until September. Arvo Pärt’s works were also to be performed at the concerts on 27 March and 29 March.

April

  • We were looking forward to the opening concert of the 50th Estonian Cultural Days in New York on 3 April, dedicated to Arvo Pärt’s 85th birthday. The concert “And I heard a voice … ” by chamber choir Collegium Musicale and conductor Endrik Üksvärav would have featured works by Estonian composers, focusing on Arvo Pärt’s vocal compositions.
    Read more.
  • On 14–19 April, a festival dedicated to Arvo Pärt was supposed to take place in Holland, with performances by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Jörgen van Rijen, Cappella Amsterdam, Cello Octet Amsterdam, Ralph van Raat and others. Over the course of six days, one of the most famous concert halls in Amsterdam, Muziekgebouw, would have hosted nine varied concerts of Pärt’s music with performances by renowned musicians. The concert was postponed until 22–27 March 2022.
    Festival website.

May

  • On 1 May, the Swedish Radio Choir will give a concert at the Grand Hall of Elbphilharmonie during the Hamburg International Music Festival, with Tõnu Kaljuste as the conductor. They will be performing Arvo Pärt’s a cappella compositions And I heard a voice …, Nunc dimittis, Dopo la vittoria and Magnificat.
    About the concert.
  • The Estonian National Symphony Orchestra (ENSO) will continue celebrating Arvo Pärt’s birthday with the concert on 15 May. Kristjan Järvi will be conducting the concert “Pärt & Sibelius”, which includes the following works by Arvo Pärt: Symphony No. 3, Darf ich …, Fratres and Passacaglia, with the solo violinist Anne Akiko Meyers. The concert is a part of the series “City Lights”. At the ENSO end of the season concert on 21 May, the composer’s Symphony No. 4 Los Angeles will be conducted by Neeme Järvi.
    “City Lights: Pärt & Sibelius”.
    End of the season concert.

June

  • The music festival “Odessa Classics” will be held in Ukraine in June, celebrating Arvo Pärt’s birthday with several concerts. On 6 June, Ensemble NICO (New Ideas Chamber Orchestra) will be performing Silouan’s Song; conducted by Gediminas Gelgotas. On 11–12 June, ENSO will take to the stage. On the first evening, the orchestra will be performing Arvo Pärt’s Fratres, Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten and Pro et contra, conducted by Neeme Järvi and with Theodor Sink as the solo cellist. On the second evening, an open air concert on the Potemkin Stairs will feature Arvo Pärt’s Swansong.
    Music festival “Odessa Classics”.• On 19 June, RIAS Kammerchor will be performing works by Arvo Pärt, Giya Kancheli and Tigran Mansurian at the Chamber Music Hall of the Berliner Philharmoniker, with Justin Doyle conducting. The concert will be preceded by a workshop where the choir’s principal conductor invites people to tune in to the mood of the concert, singing Pärt’s music together. Audience members have been asked to indicate their voice type on the concert ticket.

August

  • On 23 August the early music ensemble Hortus Musicus will performe in St. Nicolas’ Church to celebrate the 85th birthday of Arvo Pärt and Giya Kancheli.
    According to Andres Mustonen, both Pärt and Kancheli spent many years abroad, far from home, valuing silence and spiritual growth in their work. There are also other crossovers in the lives of the two composers, one being a long and prolific collaboration with Hortus Musicus.
    Read more.

September

  • Nargenfestival will be celebrating the composer’s 85th birthday during the Arvo Pärt Days, performing new versions of several compositions, remade by the composer himself and by others, never before heard in Estonia. The opening concert will feature a new edition of the piece Wenn Bach Bienen gezüchtet hätte … , originally written at the beginning of the tintinnabuli style period, performed by the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra; Tõnis Kõrvits has rearranged Cecilia, vergine romana originally written for mixed choir and orchestra, and the Raschèr Saxophone Quartet from Germany, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, will be performing new arrangements in Estonia with the chamber choir Collegium Musicale. The festival’s artistic director Tõnu Kaljuste together with Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and the British solo violinists Hugo Ticciati and Priya Mitchell will provide exciting juxtapositions of Pärt’s music and Benjamin Britten’s works, as well as Tõnu Kõrvits’ latest compositions with the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Tallinn Chamber Orchestra. The intertwining of the choral works by Pärt and Kreek will be showcased by Jaan-Eik Tulve with the ensemble Vox Clamantis. The anniversary season will end with the traditional birthday concert of Arvo Pärt’s works, featuring a solo soprano, two organs, two choirs and an orchestra.
    Read more in Estonian.
    Read more in English.
  • On 10 September, the eve of the composer’s birthday, “Arvo Pärt at 85”, a concert dedicated to Pärt will be held in Dublin, where the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and the Romanian conductor Tiberiu Soare will be delighting the audience with Pärt’s works at the National Concert Hall.
    Read more.
  •  On 11 September, ERSO ’s season opening concert will be held at Estonia Concert Hall, where the new chief conductor, Olari Elts, will be conducting Arvo Pärt’s Arbos, in addition to works by Lyadov and Beethoven. ERSO will also be performing Pärt’s works at the concert “Sibelius 165” on 6 November: Orient & Occident and Swansong.
    Read more.
  • On 11 September, the evening of Arvo Pärt’s birthday, young musicians Katariina Maria Kits, Marcel Johannes Kits and Sten Heinoja will be performing works by Pärt, Bach, Tüür and Saar at the Rakvere Secondary School.
    Read more. 
  • On 14 September in Novosibirsk (Russia), the world premiere of a new arrangement of Arvo Pärt’s La Sindone for violin and orchestra will be performed by the Novosibirsk Philharmonic Orchestra and the solo violinist Vadim Repin. Arvo Pärt has dedicated this composition to violinist Vadim Repin and Pärt’s life-long friend Andres Mustonen.
  • On 20 September, the world premiere of Arvo Pärt’s Für Jan van Eyck will take place in Ghent, Belgium. The composition was inspired by the altarpiece The Adoration of a Mystic Lamb made by the brothers Hubert and Jan van Eyck, located at St. Bavo’s Cathedral, Ghent. After a long period of restoration work, the altar centrepiece The Adoration of a Mystic Lamb will be put back in its place, and the altar will be opened to the public. The year 2020 has been dedicated to van Eyck, and the concert will take place as a part of the Flanders Festival Ghent “OMG! van Eyck was here”. The composition will be performed by Collegium Vocale Gent, under the baton of the legendary Belgian conductor Philippe Herreweghe. The choir, which was founded by Herreweghe, will also be celebrating its 50th anniversary with this concert.
    Read more.
  • On 23 September, the new version of Pärt’s La Sindone for violin and symphony orchestra will be performed in Zürich at the season opening concert of the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich with solo violinist Andreas Janke, conducted by Paavo Järvi.
  • On 24 September 2020, the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, the AT Radio House and the Estonian Embassy are planning to organise an evening titled “Aus nächster Nähe – Spiegel im Spiegel. Porträt zum 85. Geburtstag von Arvo Pärt”, celebrating Arvo Pärt’s music and the composer’s 85th birthday at Radio Kulturhaus, Vienna. Chamber musicians will be performing a selection of Arvo Pärt’s works alongside Philip Glass’ String Quartet No. 2. The concert programme includes Fratres, Spiegel im Spiegel, Quintetino and In Spe, as well as the Austrian premiere of Estonian Lullaby (for violin and piano). The concert is postponed.
  • Eesti Kontsert will be opening the season with concerts dedicated to Arvo Pärt’s 85th birthday, held on 24–25 September in Jõhvi and Tallinn. The concerts will include the Estonian premiere of a new version of Pärt’s La Sindone (for violin and symphony orchestra). This composition will be performed by the world-renowned violinist Vadim Repin and the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Andres Mustonen.
    Read more.

October

  • On 16–17 October, the Arvo Pärt Centre and the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre will be organising an international research conference in honour of the composer’s 85th birthday, dedicated to the study of Arvo Pärt’s works and its surrounding cultural space. The goal of the conference “Arvo Pärt: Texts and Contexts” held at the Arvo Pärt Centre is to stimulate the exploration and understanding of the composer’s works. At this conference, scholars from Europe and the United States will be exploring new perspectives on the textual analysis of Pärt’s compositions, unveiling their theological and cultural backgrounds and understanding the specifics of his creative process. The conference is postponed to 15–16 October 2021.
    More information.

November

  • On 14 November, the Prinzregententheater in Munich will host a concert of music by Arvo Pärt. Dedicated to the composer’s 85th birthday, Happy Birthday, Arvo Pärt! will feature a selection of his works performed by the Bavarian Radio Chorus and the Munich Radio Orchestra conducted by Howard Arman. The first part of the concert will comprise the a cappella choral pieces Dopo la vittoria, Tribute to Caesar, Which Was the Son of…, Magnificat and Da pacem Domine. In the second part, Sequentia, And I Heard a Voice and Festina lente will be performed alongside one of Pärt’s most profound and significant works, Adam’s Lament.
    Find out more.

On November 11 the centre is closed for visitors.

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