UPDATED: Arvo Pärt is the world’s most performed living composer sixth year running

The Estonian composer, Arvo Pärt, has, for the sixth year in a row, been given the title of the “world’s most performed living composer” by the classical music event database, Bachtrack, Estonian World can disclose.

Bachtrack calculates a series of statistics each year that show the number of times the work of each composer has been performed, along with information regarding the “hardest-working” conductors, orchestras and most performed individual works.

Top 10 contemporary composers

  1. Arvo Pärt
  2. John Williams
  3. John Adams
  4. Gyvörgy Kurtág
  5. Steve Reich
  6. Philip Glass
  7. James MacMillan
  8. Jörg Widmann
  9. Luca Luciano
  10. Eric Whitacre

Three compositions by Pärt featured in the “top 10 contemporary works” list: “Nunc dimittis”, “The Deer’s Cry”, and “Fratres”.

The most performed composer overall was Ludwig van Beethoven and most performed work Beethoven’s Symphony no. 5.

Pärt’s music performed all over the world

In September, Arvo Pärt celebrated his 81st birthday with a new album launch. Called “The Deer’s Cry”, the album features the composer’s vocal pieces performed by Estonian vocal ensemble Vox Clamantis and conducted by Jaan-Eik Tulve.

“Pärt’s music is universal, and I think its message is received by Estonians much in the same way as any other people. But what makes it special for Estonians is the fact that he’s ‘one of us’. I’ve always been moved by the loving way people look at him, whether in a concert hall or on the street,” Tulve said on Pärt.


“Pärt’s music evokes such simple, yet profound emotions that listening to it is liberating and ablutionary. This has been proved time and again when we have performed his music at many concerts all over the world, to very different people,” Tulve added.

“The Deer’s Cry” was performed around the world in 2016 by Vox Clamantis, but also the UK’s choir, The Sixteen, that also performed Pärt’s “Nunc dimittis”. The Sixteen performed 33 concerts in a UK tour alone with that programme, exemplifying the sheer number of concerts where Pärt’s music is played.

This article was first published on 10 January and significantly updated on 11 January 2017.


Cover photo: Maestro Arvo Pärt after a long applause at the Carnegie Hall concert in New York, 31 May 2014. Photo by Eleri Ever

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