March 24, 1911, Tallinn – December 24, 1978, Tallinn
Member of the Estonian Composers' Union since 1944
Edgar Arro is known above all as a creator of small-scale works. He has composed chamber music for different ensembles, solo pieces and solo songs. Among his oeuvre there are a great number of choral songs (including for children), of which a lot of songs have been performed at Estonian Song Celebrations ("Happiness", "Harvest Song", "People’s Friendship", "Hay Making", "Swing Song"). Especially his light music songs and operettas Rummu Jüri (1954) and Light in the Home Port (1958), composed in cooperation with Leo Normet, achieved great popularity in his time. Works for organ, composed in the Estonian national musical idiom and mainly based on Estonian folk tunes, have brought international recognition to Arro. These works have been performed in Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Sweden, Germany, Finland and elsewhere. In addition, he has written sacral music and music for the plays and films.
Edgar Arro graduated from the Tallinn Conservatory in organ with August Topman in 1935 and in composition with Artur Kapp in 1939. In 1936–1940, he served as the organist of the State Broadcasting, conducted choirs and gave piano lessons. During the World War II Arro was mobilised to the rear area in the Soviet Union where he participated in the work of the State Artistic Ensembles of the Estonian SSR. In 1944–1978, Arro taught music theory at the Tallinn State Conservatory (since 1972 as the professor, 1968–1977 the head of the music theory department) and in 1944–1952 at the Tallinn Music School.
Edgar Arro has been given the honorary title of the Estonian SSR Honoured Worker in Arts (1955), the Estonian SSR People’s Artist (1967), he has been awarded the Estonian SSR State Prize (1948, 1949) and posthumously the Annual Prize of Music (1980). His works have been published by Eres Edition.
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