Everyday Rather Live in Classic Eras

The Praemium Imperial awards 2014 winner Arvo Pärt

The Estonian composer Arvo Pärt has been honoured by the Japan Art Association with a 2014 Praemium Imperiale Award worth 15 million yen. The Praemium Imperial awards have been given annually for the last 26 years and are offered to artists from various fields, previous winners include Sir Norman Foster, Dame Judi Dench and Anish Kapoor. Receiving the awards alongside Pärt this year were the artists Martial Raysse and Giuseppe Penone, architect Steven Holl and playwright Athol Fugard. Arvo Pärt is one of the most popular and widely-performed composers of our time. Key recordings of his music include Passio (by the Hilliard Ensemble) andSymphony No 4 (LA Phil with Esa-Pekka Salonen). Peter Quantrill interviewed Salonen about Pärt’s Fourth Symphony in the December 2010 issue of Gramophone. On the subject of performing Pärt’s music Salonen concluded, ‘You have to take care of every note. Compare his music to a piece by, say, Xenakis, Birtwistle or Boulez, where you can miss a bunch of notes and you’re still in business. With Pärt you miss one and it’s a disaster. It’s a completely different approach, for both performers and listeners. You have to take everything in, including the pauses and the silences.’