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World famous Estonians Part 1

Despite Estonia’s modest population of just 1.3 million, we have managed to produce a number internationally recognized composers, illustrators and fashion models. This is our series of articles about famous Estonians and in part 1, we will write about the supermodel Carmen Kass, composer Arvo Pärt and illustrator Ilon Wikland.

 

Carmen Kass – model

Carmen Kass was born in Tallinn on September 14, 1978 and grew up in the small town of Paide, also known as the heart of Estonia.

She is the richest Estonian celebrity and has posed for famous brands and leading designers such as Calvin Klein, Chanel, Gucci, Versace, Max Mara, Ralph Lauren to name a but a few.

She was barely 14 years old when an Italian model scout discovered her in a supermarket in Tallinn. She began her modeling career with the modeling agency Baltic Models before as an 18 year old moving to Milan and shortly after to Paris.

She was barely 14 years old when an Italian model scout discovered her in a supermarket in Tallinn. She began her modeling career with the modeling agency Baltic Models before as an 18 year old moving to Milan and shortly after to Paris.

Besides her succesfull modeling career, Carmen is an avid chess player and was chosen president of the Estonian National Chess League in 2004. Since 2004 she has been in a relationship with the German chess champion Eric Lobron.

Carmen Kass – Videofashion

 

Arvo Pärt – composer

Arvo Pärt was born on 11 September 1935 in Paide but grew up in Tallinn. He is currently listed in the top 100 living composers. Arvo has composed a huge catalogue of music since he began composing in the 1950s. His career began with Estonian radio as a recording engineer. When new composition methods were introduced in the 1960s, Arvo quickly embrassed these. He has created a composition style called “Tintinnabuli” which in Latin means bell.

The key words for his music are silence, beauty and minimalism. Arvo also expressed“Complexity and music with many faces confuse me, I’ve found that music can be remarkable enough if you play a single note with beauty.Im looking for a consensus.” Tintinnabuli was influenced by Gregorian chanting and many of his compositions are characterized by his faith. Which is ironic considering that Estonia is actually one of the least religious countries in the world.

He first introduced the Composition style “Tintinnabuli” in his pieces “Fur Alina” in 1976 and “Spiegel Im Spiegel” in 1978. Silence is an important cornerstone in compositions as giving listeners space to be transported to a “moments outside of time.” Arvo Pärt has lived with his family in Berlin since the 1980′s.

Arvo Pärt : Spiegel im Spiegel

 

Arvo Part – Fur Alina

 

Ilon Wikland (Maire-Ilon Pääbo) – Iullustrator for Astrid Lindgren

Ilon Wikland was born on February 5th 1930 in Tartu, Estonia and arrived as a refugee to Sweden at the age 14 in 1944. Today she lives in Stockholm. Ilon is Astrid Lindgren’s preferred illustrator and has illustrated most of her books. She met Astrid Lindgren as a 20 year old in 1953 and showed her illustrations to her. Astrid was impressed by her unique illustration style and she got her first assignment to illustrate the book “Mio, my son”. Ilon worked for Akke Kumlien School for Books and advertising Art in Stockholm.

She also drew inspiration from her four daughters in her drawings. After her first assignment with the book “Mio, my son” her close cooperation with Astrid Lindgren continued as she illustrated the books; The Brothers Lionheart, Karlsson on the roof, Lotta on Troublemaker Street, Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter, The Children of Noisy Village, Lotta on Troublemaker Street, Madicken, Nils Karlsson Pyssling, Seacrow Island.

Ilona has received all kinds of awards and prizes in Sweden and has also been honored with a museum in her home town of Haapsalu, Estonia.

Illustrations by Ilon Wikland

 

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