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April 14, 2017

UMS in the Classroom: Estonian National Symphony


American pianist Garrick Ohlsson plays during rehearsal of Special Concert on the 200th Anniversary of Fryderyk Chopin?s Birth at Warsaw Philharmonic

Interested in using a UMS performance in your university classroom? For each performance on the season, we provide suggested curricular connections, links to contextual material online, citations for scholarly material, and prompts for classroom discussion. For additional resources and individualized curricular support, please contact Shannon Fitzsimons Moen, UMS Campus Engagement Specialist, at or (734) 764-3903.

UMS is also committed to making our performances an affordable part of the academic experience. Our Classroom Ticket Program provides $15 tickets to students and faculty for performances that are a course requirement. Please email to set up a group order.


This performance may connect meaningfully with courses in the following schools and disciplines:

  • Communication Studies
  • Comparative Literature
  • History
  • Political Science
  • Germanic Languages and Literature
  • Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies
  • Slavic Language and Literatures
  • Composition
  • Music Education
  • Musicology
  • Strings
  • Public Policy


  • Estonian conductor Neeme Järvi talks with The Art Desk about his native Estonia and his vast discography.
  • Learn more about the history of Estonian classical music.
  • Commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Arvo Pärt’s Symphony No. 4 is inspired in part by an ancient Slavonic “Canon to the Guardian Angel” and its connection to Los Angeles, the “City of Angels.” The work is purely instrumental, but many aspects of the canon’s text are imbued in the piece’s form. Read the text here.
  • Explore the work of Arvo Pärt in The Cambridge Companion to Arvo Pärt (edited by Andrew Shenton; Cambridge University Press, 2012).


  • Tinntinnabuli, from the Latin word for “bell”, is the name of a compositional style created by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. Works in the Tinntinnabuli style are slow and meditative, using minimal musical material. The style was influenced by Pärt’s experiences with mysticism and medieval chant music. What effect does Pärt’s unique compositional style have on you as a listener?
  • Throughout the 20th century, communities and nations in Eastern Europe sought to create a national identity through arts, culture, and music. Given the current Eastern European political climate, what are the political stakes of preserving the tradition of Estonian classical music?