Arvo Pärt – the world’s most performed and surely most beloved living composer – amongst students of the University of Tartu after the seminar on 20 November 2013. In the background on the left: Professor Toomas Siitan. Image credit: Andres Tennus
Who doesn’t know Arvo Pärt? He is the world’s most performed living composer and arguably the most beloved as well. In late May, he accompanied the Grammy-winning Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra on their performances of his music in New York’s Carnegie Hall and in Washington, D.C. Some days before embarking on this tour, the musicians performed their programme of Arvo Pärt’s music at the University of Tartu Assembly Hall:
It was the jewel in the crown of the year-long series of lectures on Arvo Pärt’s music by the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre Professor Toomas Siitan, with greatly awaited appearances by the famous albeit shy composer himself, who served as an invited Professor of Fine Arts at the University of Tartu last academic year.
Although Arvo Pärt has never been verbose about his work, noting that his word is the sound (in this sense, the final concert carried his most important message), the composer’s presence during the course felt essential and special. As one of the seminar participants wrote in an essay:
I don’t want to use big words, but the first seminar and meeting over the video bridge to the composer’s home created a strange and wonderful atmosphere. I felt a part of something very special, and you could see that the participants were moved. I later described this experience as the result of a great work of self-improvement. The composer has arrived to a place where many don’t even start their journey.
Signe Ivask, an editor at UT magazine, discusses the future of the University of Tartu with Professor of Media Studies Veronika Kalmus, Professor of Comparative Politics Vello Pettai, and Professor of International Relations Eiki Berg.
The role of women in society will be significantly greater in 2032, including at the university and its top echelons, says Veronika Kalmus. “The percentage of professors who are women will be up to one-third, compared to the current one-fifth,” she forecasts. “The university will have had at least one female rector by 2032 and it will seem incredible that back around the turn of the millennium, some said in debates that the University of Tartu wasn’t ready for a woman to be rector.”
Kalmus adds that the percentage of female students will level off in the 2020s, because higher education will become so much the norm that young males without a diploma will have no other way of landing a decent job and being successful.
“In 2032, children born today will choose their major and enter university. My son, born in December, will be one of them,” says Kalmus. “Internationalisation will no longer be a development objective at the University of Tartu, as the process will have seen unprecedented acceleration in the 2020s due to the external environment, and about half the students will be foreign nationals.” Continue reading