Born in 1935 in Paide, Estonia, Arvo Pärt studied until 1963 with Heino Eller at the Tallin Conservatory, where he composed the first twelve-tone works ever in his country. In 1964 he began a series of collage compositions, in which he first pitted twelve-tone and then, in an increasingly radical manner, aleatorically determined sound structures against stylistic copies and direct quotations from traditional music – all aimed at demonstrating the gap between and ultimately the incompatibility of the divergent concepts of what music is, his concentration on music of the Middle Ages led him to a method of composition which has come to be known as ›tintinnabuli style‹. Triads and scales are combined in a sort of ›primal movement‹, blending ›stasis‹ (being, perseverance, tranquility) and ›dynamis‹ (emergence, motion, disorder) with each other.
It is not virtuosity but clarity, technical precision, and intensity which emerges from this simplicity. Arvo Pärt is recognized as a major contemporary composer whose minimalistic counterpoint techniques have influenced many European composers.
(Status 2003, Source: Arvo Pärt)