Music News

Arvo Pärt elected as academician of music and member of the Pontifical Council for Culture

On December 7, the Estonian Academy of Sciences elected seven new members to its General Assembly. One of these new members was the composer Arvo Pärt, who becomes the first person ever to be granted the title of Academician for Music by this organisation of eminent scientists and academics.
Academicians are elected by the General Assembly of the Academy of Sciences from among candidates who may be proposed by academics, the scientific councils of Estonian research and development institutions, scientific societies and artistic associations. Membership of the Academy can be granted to Estonian citizens who have achieved outstanding results in research and development work and who have substantially furthered scientific knowledge in their field. Outstanding Estonian artists can also be elected to membership if they have made a significant contribution to Estonian culture.
Arvo Pärt was put forward as a candidate by the University Council of the University of Tartu and the Estonian Musicological Society.
Academician and musicologist Jaan Ross stated in his speech to the General Assembly that the choice was right and justified because from the perspective of musical science Arvo Pärt created a new paradigm within contemporary classical music with the tintinnabuli style for which he is so widely known.

On December 10, pope Benedict XVI appointed Arvo Pärt member of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
Several high members of the clergy and the philosopher Jean-Luc Marion were also appointed to the Council, directed by cardinal Angelo Ravasi. In addition to members, a number of consultants with the Council were appointed including the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, German neurobiologist Wolf Joachim Singer, Italian astrophysicist Piero Benvenuti, US physicist Bruno Coppi jand Belgian journalist Marguerite A. Peeters.
This nomination is the third in a series of significant encounters between the composer and the Holy Father this year. On May 28, the principle music study institution of the Catholic church, the Pontificio Istituto di Musica Sacra (The Pontifical Institute for Sacred Music) awarded the honorary doctorate Laurea Honoris Causa di Musica Sacra to Arvo Pärt. 2011 also saw Arvo Pärt dedicate his work Vater unser to the Pope and on 4 July perform it before the Pope with the boy soprano Heldur Harry Põlda at the celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the Pope’s ordination to the priesthood.