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Four days of Pärt's music, exhibition of his musical diaries & talks in Dortmund

From February 15-18, the festival "Zeitinsel Arvo Pärt," dedicated to Arvo Pärt's oeuvre, will take place at the Dortmund Concert Hall. During the festival, visitors can explore an exhibition curated by the Arvo Pärt Center and participate in a discussion on themes around Pärt and his work.

Karin Rõngelep, an archivist at the Arvo Pärt Center, told the "Vikerhommik" radio show that the Dortmund festival is a decade-long celebration of new classical music: "The festival is always named after a contemporary composer and carries the poetic name 'Zeitinsel,' which means 'island of time.' The festival's idea is to depict the composer's portrait from as many various viewpoints as possible."

The festival's goal is to showcase the trajectory of Pärt's work through distinct chronological periods.

Arvo Pärt's music notes. Source: Stenbock House

"In the summer of 2022, the artistic director of the Dortmund Concert Hall and his team visited the Arvo Pärt Center, showed their plans to us, and we offered our recommendations for performers," Kai Kutman, the director of the Arvo Pärt Center, said.

Dortmund already had a tradition of presenting exhibitions of composers' work, so they had a very specific idea of how the exhibition should be organized. The major topic of the show should be the composer's method, or way of thinking, which could be learned about from Pärt's notebooks and documents in our archives. So we developed the content for this axis, which tells the story of Arvo Pärt's musical evolution.

The Arvo Pärt Center's co-curated exhibition for the festival. "The process of composing a piece of music is long and laborious," said Rõngelep. "At the exhibition, one can see how an idea grows into a work, which can sometimes take years, and how many music sheets it actually takes. We hope that this exhibition will leave people with some ideas that might help them understand music better."

Arvo Pärt's 87th birthday concert in Tallinn's Jaani kirik. Source: Siim Vahur

"The exhibition aims to tell the story of Arvo Pärt's creative development and his journey to the tintinnabuli style, using the composer's own thoughts and written notes. Quotations from Pärt's diaries, manuscript excerpts, and photos shed light on the essence of the works presented and the creative process behind them," Kai Kutman, one of the exhibition's curators, said.

"Zeitinsel Arvo Pärt" will feature several acclaimed performers of Pärt's music, including violinists Gidon Kremer and Hugo Ticciati, as well as cellist Anja Lechner.

Kristiina Poska will conduct the West German Radio (WDR) Symphony Orchestra, and Tõnu Kaljuste will conduct the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, two of Estonia's premier ensembles.

Tõnu Kaljuste and Arvo Pärt. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Offering further insight into Arvo Pärt's music will be a discussion panel on February 17 featuring conductor Tõnu Kaljuste, violinist Gidon Kremer and Michael Pärt, the chair of the Arvo Pärt Centre's council. The conversation will be moderated by Raphael von Hoensbroech.

The festival "Zeitinsel Arvo Pärt" will open on February 15 by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra.

Conducted by Tõnu Kaljuste, they will perform a program of Arvo Pärt's works, including Spiegel im Spiegel, Collage über B-A-C-H, Solfeggio, Für Alina, Veni creator and Te Deum.

On February 17, the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir will present the world premiere of Estonian composer Evelin Seppar's a cappella mixed choir piece Iris, based on Jaan Kaplinski's poetry and commissioned especially for this festival by the Dortmund Concert Hall.

Evelin Seppar. Source: evelinseppar.com/Tiina Talts

"Evelin Seppar has stood out for her choral works, which are very beautiful and poetic soundscapes," Rõngelep said. She has often turned to Estonian poetry in her works, which is also the case in this new work, called "Iris."

The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir has established a long-standing collaboration with the Dortmund Concert Hall, having been invited to perform there with various repertoires and compositions over the years.

"This performance at the Dortmund Concert Hall is the fifth for the chamber choir. We are honored to be part of the Arvo Pärt festival, whose program has been meticulously developed over a long period," Esper Linnamägi, the executive director of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, said.

The four-day festival's diverse program includes works from various of Pärt's creative periods, juxtaposed with the works of other composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, György Ligeti, Gabriel Fauré, John Tavener, Dmitri Shostakovich and Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Tõnu Kaljuste and Arvo Pärt. Source: Kaupo Kikkas

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Editor: Annika Remmel, Kristina Kersa

Source: Arvo part Center; Vikerhommik radio show, interviewer Kaja Kärner

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