Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens

Memory & Light by Arvo Pärt and Arup

 Between 4th September 2019 and 12th January 2020 experience ‘Memory and Light’ - a sound and light installation that will bring new life to Belsay Hall.

‘Memory and Light’ was first commissioned by London Design Festival in 2018, for the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Norfolk House Music Room. It has now been re-imagined for Belsay Hall, entering into a new dialogue of memory, legacy and freedom of expression within the historic space.



Paul Carstairs / Arup. Memory & Light by Arvo Pärt and Arup. Image: installation at the Victoria & Albert Museum

A multi-sensory installation

The project was inspired by Arvo Pärt’s famous words from his ‘Musical Diaries’:

“I could compare my music to white light, which contains all colours. Only a prism can divide the colours and make them appear; this prism could be the spirit of the listener.”

Curated by Clare Farrow in collaboration with Arup specialists Stephen Philips, Ned Crowe and Ed Elbourne, this multi-sensory installation brings Pärt’s words to life in a meeting of design and music, which responds to the historic setting of Belsay Hall, creating a living dialogue between the past and the present. 

The installation consists of a transparent curved screen representing the prism in Pärt’s poetic description, alongside a viewing and listening bench where visitors can sit to experience the composer’s words and his music: “Spiegel im Spiegel” (Mirror in the Mirror), “Für Alina”,“Silentium” (from “Tabula Rasa”) and “Da pacem Domine”. 

Arvo Pärt, 2012, Laulasmaa, Estonia. Photo copyright: Kaupo Kikkas

Arvo Pärt

Arvo Pärt was born in Paide, Estonia, in September 1935. He is the most performed living composer in the world and his life and music represent a drive for freedom and invention. 

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