The Estonian musician became the first composer to ever win this award.
For the first time, the Ratzinger Prize distinguished a non-theologian, the Orthodox composer Arvo Pärt. Partly inspired by Gregorian chant, Pärt developed his own unique composition technique, tintinnabuli (from the Latin tintinnabulum, “bell”), a simple style that springs from Pärt’s approach to both mysticism and minimalism. In fact, he is considered to be the founder and still main representative of “holy minimalism” in contemporary music.
You can enjoy three of Pärt’s pieces in the videos below: his settings of the Salve Regina, the Magnificat and the Stabat Mater.