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Speech by Michael Pärt in the occasion of the Polar Music Prize to Arvo Pärt

23.05.2023

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am deeply honoured to accept the Polar Music Prize on behalf of my father, Arvo Pärt. In accepting this award, my father would like to express his heartfelt gratitude to the Polar Music Prize committee, as well as to all the musicians and listeners who have supported his music throughout the years. Arvo sends his love to all of you here tonight.

At a time when so many are feeling lost and alone, when the world is tearing itself apart, my father’s music is a reminder of our common humanity, of the things that unite us rather than divide us. It is a call to love, to empathy, and to understanding.

Arvo Pärt has said that “Bettering the world does not begin from the opposite end of the world, but from within yourself. Millimetre by millimetre. What does a millimetre mean on music paper? What kind of weapon is it when measured out correctly? This needs to be a school of shaping the soul, not merely a school of composition.”

At the micro level, Pärt’s music speaks to the individual; it invites the listener inwards to experience their reflection of it in a deeply personal way.

At the macro level, Pärt’s music speaks to the larger questions of faith and existence as a whole; it invites us to view the nature of the universe and our place within it.

But how do we attune ourselves into this way of thought, this search?

Arvo said that „it is always a beautiful time when you are at an utter loss; when you seek from almost nothing. First of all, you must make yourself nothing. There must be silence. You must make peace with your powerlessness. And that which is then given is like a gift.“

Thank you very much!

Attention! On June 9, the Centre is closed to visitors. We apologise for any inconvenience!

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