Arvo Pärt is everywhere these days, a cosmopolitan persona of global renown, a genre-transcending artist at the center of multiple musical worlds, an icon of contemporary spirituality, and, since the early 1980s, a figure around whom narratives and meanings of contemporary European experience have coalesced. Pärt is everywhere no less through his globetrotting travel schedule to attend performances and recording sessions or to accept awards and recognition than through the dozens of performances of his work each month around the world. His perennial Grammy nominations, the ubiquity of his music in the soundtracks of mainstream and independent cinema, his established place in the canon of late-twentieth- and twenty-first-century musicology, and the evocative power of his name and sound in all kinds of musical and media milieux are what make the Pärt phenomenon.
To make this tangible, I will begin by elaborating on Pärt's presence in the soundscapes of twenty-first-century musical life. According to the International Arvo Pärt Centre website and Universal Edition, there were (based on licensing and part rental data) sixty-three official Pärt performances worldwide in March 2011, ranging from England to Estonia, Italy to Ukraine, New Zealand to Venezuela, and many places in between. Expectedly, there were handfuls of classic tintinnabuli pieces such as Tabula rasa that month, but there was also significant breadth to the music that was performed, including older, pre-tintinnabuli works such as Nekrolog and Credo, monumental large-scale works such as Passio and Kanon Pokajanen, and new music such as Silhouette.