The Music at Oxford Festival, held in the UK, will celebrate the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt’s work with a special programme, “Arvo Pärt …and a Littlemore” from 18-25 November.
The festival said in a statement that the special programme celebrates Pärt’s “significant contribution and legacy” with the largest focus on the maestro in the UK to date, embracing a variety of artists to explore his work and influence.
“Arvo Pärt’s musical influence has been international, far exceeding the reach we might expect of a contemporary composer. His large and varied compositional output reached its apotheosis in the harnessing of his tintinnabuli style, which, while sounding simple and pure, is a rigorously worked out technique,” the festival said.
“For Pärt, each single note, and each single silence, matters. Pärt has now been composing in his tintinnabuli style for over 40 years, and it has proved to be a rich and inexhaustible creative source, with every work different to the last and offering a new experience to the listener.”
The special programme is supported by the Estonian embassy in London and LHV, the largest Estonian-owned bank.
Pärt has a previous connection to Oxford – in 2016, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Oxford, the best university in the world, according to Times Higher Education World University Rankings. “Accordingly, we are also working closely with the university via New College and TORCH (a research centre based in the Humanities Division at the University of Oxford – editor),” the festival noted.
Pärt’s works will be performed by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (the opening concert on 18 November), O/Modernt and the Raschèr Saxophone Quartet, alongside other international and local talents.
The Estonian choir, conducted by Tõnu Kaljuste, will among Pärt’s works perform “Da pacem Domine” (Give us peace, Lord) – a statement about the Russian war against Ukraine – that premiered this spring in the Estonian town of Narva.
The festival’s children’s chorus, comprising two local children’s choirs, will perform (on 19 November) Arvo Pärt’s “Songs from Childhood”, one of his earliest compositions, written when he was a student and earning pocket money by doing piano accompaniments at the theatre club of Tallinn’s “Palace of the Pioneers”.
Music by several other composers will also be performed, alongside talks, films and a graphic novel presentation – hence the “little more” in the event’s name.
Arvo Pärt is one of the most well-known Estonians and one of the most performed living composers in the world.