Press Archive

The Sound of Spirit

New York Times Magazine – Arthur Lubow – Emigrating from the Soviet Union to the West in January 1980 with his wife, Nora, and their two small sons, the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt was stopped by border police at the Brest railroad station for a luggage search. “We had only seven suitcases, full of my scores, records and tapes,” he recalled recently. Read more

Ring the bells for the master of silence

The Irish Independent – George Hamilton – Arvo Pärt, who celebrates his 75th birthday today, is one of the most famous and indeed most important contemporary composers. He was born in Estonia less than five years before the Soviet takeover of the country, so his musical education was subject to the rigours of that regime. Read more

Vale of Glamorgan festival

The Guardian – Rian Evans – Over the years, the music of Arvo Pärt has claimed a special place in the Vale of Glamorgan festival. The relationship was cemented when he made his first visit in 1996, and Pärt has reaffirmed it this year by coming back for the festival's celebration of his 75th birthday, which falls on Saturday. Read more

Prom 46 - Philharmonia/Salonen - Royal Albert Hall, London

The Guardian – Andrew Clements – More than 35 years separated Arvo Pärt's first three symphonies from the fourth, first performed last year by Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Salonen brought it to Britain with the Philharmonia, surrounding the premiere with superbly performed 20th-century works: Mosolov's raucously brassy piece of Soviet constructivism, The Foundry, Ravel's Left-Hand Concerto, with Jean-Efflam Bavouzet as the slightly unfocused soloist, and Scriabin's unfailingly effective Poem of Ecstasy, which here was made almost too refined for its own brazen good. Read more

The fierce music of Estonia, Latvia

The Philadelphia Enquirer – David Patrick Stearns – In the Baltic Sea, about 45 minutes from Tallinn, the boat full of music devotees arrives at this near-desert island, then rides in army-style trucks past rusty Soviet war machinery and defused mines to a concert hall called Omari Barn - for music they can't hear anywhere else. Read more

Pärt is such sweet sorrow

Orange County Register – Timothy Mangan – Esa-Pekka Salonen is back in town for a couple of weeks to conduct three new works commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Sunday afternoon's audience, in Walt Disney Concert Hall, greeted the maestro, now in his final months as music director, like a returning hero, with cheers and applause that didn't stop when he got to the podium. Before conducting a note of music, he had already taken his second bow. Read more

A mystic in La La Land – Arvo Pärt's "Los Angeles" Symphony

Los Angeles Times – Mark Swed – Esa-Pekka Salonen’s time as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic – two weeks this month and two in April – is growing short. But the theme is the future, and he is packing a lot of the future in. Saturday night at Walt Disney Concert Hall, he premiered a major symphony by Arvo Pärt. Read more

Estonia Choir Performs Sounds of Its People

Washington Post – Charles T. Downey – On Sunday afternoon, the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir made a stop at the Clarice Smith Center on its North American tour. The program highlighted the music of living Estonian composers, one of this esteemed choir's specialties. Read more

When classical music masterpieces become soundtrack cliches

Los Angeles Times – David Ng – There are certain classical pieces that are repeated so often at the movies that they've lost virtually all power to move or surprise us. Certainly Wagner's "The Ride of the Valkyries," which featured prominently in "8 1/2" and "Apocalypse Now," ranks among the classically clichéd. So do Bach's Cello Suite No. 1 (Prelude), Orff's "Carmina Burana" and most of Beethoven's symphonies. Read more

Estonian Chamber Choir at Usher Hall, Edinburgh

The Times – Richard Morrison – Other people devise league tables of wines, or left-handed batsmen since the war. I rank choirs. And on the basis of their Edinburgh Festival appearance (they were also at the Proms this week) the 26 choristers of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir soar right to the top of my Choral Champions League. Read more

Is it time to give Pärt a rest?

The Guardian – Samuel Wigley – Hollywood as well as arthouse directors rely increasingly on the magical music of Arvo Pärt to soundtrack their films. But is it becoming overexposed? Read more

Arvo reaches the parts other composers can't

The Irish Independent – Pat O'Kelly – This year's RTE Living Music Festival devoted itself, in the main, to a retrospective of Estonian-born composer Arvo Part. Read more