Music News

The music of Arvo Pärt in the US

Arvo Pärt
Photo: Peeter Langovits
  From May 27 to June 2, four concerts devoted to the music of Arvo Pärt will be held in the US. Concerts, taking place in New York City and Washington, DC will feature performers closely associated with Pärt’s music – Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (EPCC) and Tallinn Chamber Orchestra (TCO) conducted by Tõnu Kaljuste, also the orchestra members Harry Traksmann (violin), Laur Eensalu (viola), Leho Karin (cello) and Marrit Gerretz-Traksmann (piano) with mezzo soprano Iris Oja. The concerts will take place in the presence of composer Arvo Pärt.

On May 27, EPCC and TCO with Tõnu Kaljuste will perform at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. The program consists of Fratres for violin, string orchestra and percussion, Adam’s Lament for mixed choir and string orchestra, Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten for string orchestra and bell and Te Deum for mixed choir, prepared piano, string orchestra and tape. On May 31, EPCC and TCO will perform in New York’s Carnegie Hall, where Salve Regina for mixed choir, celesta and string orchestra will be added to the program mentioned above.

On June 2, EPCC will give an a cappella concert at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Temple of Dendur in New York City, featuring Kanon Pokajanen. This concert will be live streamed by Q2 Music at

Additionally, TCO members Harry Traksmann (violin), Laur Eensalu (viola), Leho Karin (cello) and Marrit Gerretz-Traksmann (piano) with mezzo soprano Iris Oja will give a chamber music concert on May 29 at the Phillips Collection in Washington. The program consists of Für Alina, Spiegel im Spiegel, Für Anna Maria, Variationen zur Gesundung von Arinuschka, Mozart-Adagio, Vater unser, Es sang vor langen jahren, Scala cromatica, Fratres and the world premiere of a new arrangement of My Heart's in the Highlands for alto, violin, viola, cello and piano.  

Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir
Photo: Kaupo Kikkas

The concert is a part of the museum’s Leading European Composers series.

The initiator of this concert series is St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVOTS) in New York, which will give an honorary doctorate title on sacred music to Arvo Pärt at a ceremony on May 31st.

Tallinn Chamber Orchestra
Photo: Kaupo Kikkas
  The events also include a series of presentations and discussions in Washington and New York. On May 28, a panel discussion will be held at the George Washington University led by Chair of the GWU Department of Music , Dr. Douglas Boyce, and theologian Dr. Peter Bouteneff  (St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary). On June 11, a lecture titled Spirit in Sound and Space: A Conversation Inspired by Arvo Pärt with neuroscientist Robert Zatorre, architect Steven Holl, and Peter Bouteneff, will be organized at Met Museum as a part of Spark conversation series.

The conversation will explore the spiritual content of Pärt’s music as well as how different spaces can impact how his music is perceived.