Arvo Pärt wins the Ratzinger Prize

The Estonian composer, Arvo Pärt, the world’s most performed living composer, has been honoured with the Ratzinger Prize, presented in the Vatican.

The Joseph Ratzinger Foundation, also known as the Pope Benedict XVI Foundation in the Vatican, has announced that in addition to outstanding theologians, the winners of this year’s Ratzinger Prize also include Pärt.

The Ratzinger Prize is designed to honour outstanding individuals for their research in theology and adjacent sciences, or for their religious artwork. Instigated by Pope Benedict XVI, born Joseph Ratzinger, the foundation has been awarding the prize since 2011.

Besides Pärt, the respectable prize was awarded to professor Theodor Dieter, a Lutheran theologian and the director of the Strasbourg Institute of Ecumenical Research, and Karl-Heinz Menke, a Catholic theologian and a German Catholic priest. The Ratzinger Prize award ceremony will take place on 18 November in the Vatican.

Arvo Pärt, who celebrated his 82nd birthday in September, is globally the most distinguished Estonian. He has been the most performed living composer six years in a row.


Cover: Arvo Pärt (photo by Kaupo Kikkas.)

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About the author: Silver Tambur

Silver Tambur is the cofounder and Editor-in-Chief of Estonian World. He has previously studied journalism at the University of Tartu, and politics and society at the Birkbeck College, University of London. Silver has been the editor at the Estonian Public Broadcasting’s news service in English, as well as contributing for the Business Sense magazine in the UK, Deutsche Welle and Radio New Zealand. You can also follow him on Twitter and like his page on Facebook. You can write to Silver at