The BBC Films Arvo Pärt In Laulasmaa

From the International Arvo Pärt Centre

On 27 June the Arvo Pärt Centre hosted the BAFTA-winning director Ian Macmillan and a team from Fresh One Productions, who recorded an interview at the Centre with Arvo Pärt.


British national broadcaster the BBC and London’s Southbank Centre, Europe’s largest cultural centre, are making a three-part television series based on the popular and controversial 2007 book The Rest is Noise by contemporary music critic of The New Yorker Alex Ross. They are also preparing a year-round festival of 20th century classical music under the same name, but it was for the television series that the film crew visited Estonia to interview Arvo Pärt for the BBC.

The film-makers said they plan to interview a selection of contemporary composers for the three programmes and they will try to put the creative musical output of the 20th century in the context of the history and the political and cultural upheavals of the time. The 20th century offers a wealth of material because the knowledge and opinions of the public and of critics are more fragmented than for any other earlier period, and the BBC hopes that this series will contribute to a better understanding of the music of the last century.

The other partner in the project, the Southbank Centre, is working in parallel on a festival of 20th century classical music also titled The Rest is Noise, which will be held in 2013 and will see around 100 different events including concerts, film recordings, performances and discussions. Jude Kelly, artistic director of the Southbank Centre, said of the plans: “We hope this ground-breaking Festival will inspire audiences and artists to experience 20th century classical music from a new perspective. By placing this music within its historical and social context, the festival will reveal why individual composers were compelled to create the music they did and how the music was inspired by landmark moments and the turbulent upheavals of the century”.