XII Tallinn Winter Festival 19th – 23rd of February 2019
Festival Closing Gala
FULL SPEED AHEAD, ESTONIA
St Charles’ Church
23rd February 16.00
Tallinn Music High School Symphony Orchestra
Estonian National Opera Boys’ Choir (cond. Hirvo Surva)
Estonian Theatre Association Mixed Choir (cond. Heli Jürgenson)
soloist Oliver Kuusik (tenore)
conductor Jaan Ots
Programme: Kreek Requiem, Sibelius Symphony No. 7
is a pianist and a conductor born in Tallinn. He has conducted the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Lahti Sinfonia, Pärnu City Orchestra, Narva City Symphony Orchestra and the German Hamburger Camerata. J. Ots held the position of assistant conductor at the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra for the season 2015-16 and conducted the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, leading a workshop for young composers. He has also conducted the performance of M. Ravel’s “L’enfant et les Sortileges” at Helsinki Musiikkitalo. In December of 2017 he made his debut at the Finnish National Opera with the performances of Tchaikovsky’s ballet “Nutcracker”. He was the assistant of Hannu Lintu at the Savonlinna Opera Festival, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Nordea Jean Sibelis Orchestra. Since September of 2017 he is the conductor of Tallinn Music High School Symphony Orchestra. J. Ots has graduated from piano and trumpet studies at the Tallinn Music High School and obtained his bachelor’s degree in piano performance at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. He has been successful in both instruments winning prizes of more than 20 competitions in Estonia as well as abroad. He has obtained a master’s degree in orchestral conducting from Sibelius Academy, where his professors were Leif Segerstam and Atso Almila. J. Ots has furthered his skills as an exchange student at the Conservatoire de Paris (CNSM) and taken part of the master classes of Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Susanna Mälkki, Mikko Francki, Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi, Thomas Sanderling and David Zinman. He is performing regularly with Piano Trio TEOS and the Frielinghaus Ensemble, who he has performed with in Finland, Germany and Switzerland.
TALLINN MUSIC HIGH SCHOOL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
has been active for more than 30 years. The orchestra comprises of students in classes IX–XII and during one school year the orchestra prepares for an audience three different programs on average. In the versatile repertoire of the orchestra the music of classicism and romanticism as well as the music of the composers of the 20th and 21st century is represented, including the works of Estonian composers as well as premieres of contemporary works. TMHS Symphony Orchestra has cooperated with several choirs such as the Estonian National Male Choir, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Voces Musicales, TMHS Youth Choir and Chamber Choir. This season began with a performance at the Teacher of the Year gala at the Estonia Concert Hall for the orchestra. In December they gave a concert in the White Hall of the House of the Blackheads, where they performed Schubert’s Symphony No. 3, Bruch’s Violin Concerto and Reinecke’s Flute Concerto. In April they will perform in the jubilee concert series of Tõnu Kõrvits with a concert in Estonia Concert Hall as well as in Jõhvi Concert Hall, where they will join forces with the TMHS Chamber Choir and Chamber Choir Head Ööd, Vend (Good Night, Brother). They will perform two notable works – Tõnu Kõrvits’ “Kreek’s Notebook” and Jean Sibelius’ Symphony No. 7. Since the autumn of 2017 the chief conductor of the orchestra is Jaan Ots. Between 1987-2006 the chief conductor was Toomas Kapten, from September of 2006 until the spring of 2011 Risto Joost, 2011-2015 Mikk Murdvee and 2015-2017 Edmar Tuul. They have also played under several guest conductors (Volmer, Alperten, Färber, König, Ahvenainein etc). Concert travels have taken the orchestra to Germany, Sweden, Finland, France, Scotland and Belgium.
is one of his generations most outstanding opera soloists in Estonia, who studied at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre with Associate Prof. Pille Lill and Prof. Virgilius Noreika. He received his master’s degree in 2006 and graduated from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama (London). He was the soloist of the Estonian National Opera between 2008-2017 and is working as a freelancer now. From the most important roles his repertoire includes Faust (Gounod’s Faust), Nemorino (Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love, Liverpool, UK), Don Ramiro (Rossini’s La Cenerentola), Sesto (Händel’s Julius Caesar), Fenton (Verdi’s Falstaff) etc. He has taken part of the recording of Fleishman’s opera Rotchild’s Violin together with the Liverpool Royal Symphony Orchestra and sung the role of Enjolras in Schönberg’s/Boublil’s musical Les Miserables.
O. Kuusik has performed as an oratorio and chamber music singer in over 25 different grand musical works and given concerts in Estonia as well as several foreign countries. In 2010 O. Kuusik was rewarded with the annual “Crystal Shoe” Award of the Estonian Theatre Union, in 2009 he was chosen as a laureate of the Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques (Canada), in 2008 he received the annual Estonian Theatre Award for his singing in Britten’s Turn of the Screw and he has been awarded with the PLMF award “Young Singer 2005”. Several praising reviews have been published about him in worlds most notable publications such as Opera Now, Opera Magazine, The Stage, The London Times etc.
ESTONIAN NATIONAL OPERA BOYS’ CHOIR
was founded in 1971 by Professor Venno Laul as the boys’ choir of the State Academic Men’s Choir. The choir has also carried the name Estonian Boys’ Choir and since 1997 the choir is a part of the Estonian National Opera. In 2001, Hirvo Surva became the artistic director and chief conductor of the choir.
Choir functions as a choral studio, which has four compositions: main choir, young men’s choir and two learning choirs – Jukud and Juhanid. The main choir operates on the mixed choir principle and the boys who have passed the voice breaking period will continue singing as tenors or bassos and will join the young men’s choir at the same time.
The main aim of the choir is to promote and introduce the traditions of boys’ singing, the development of vocal and musical abilities of the singers and shaping their spiritual values.
There are exceptional opportunities to sing for the talented boys in the productions of the Estonian National Opera (Händel “Rinaldo”, Puccini “Tosca” and “La bohème”, Bizet “Carmen”, Mascagni “Cavalleria rusticana”, Leoncavallo “Pagliacci”, Tchaikovsky “The Nutcracker”, Puur “The Colours of Clouds” etc.). The young men’s choir has also sung smaller roles (Rips “Wunderkind”, Wagner “Parsifal”, Leigh “Man of La Mancha” etc.).
The choir has great merits in introducing Estonian choral music and performing classical music both at home as well as abroad and it has been received with acclaim in several European countries, Israel, Canada, USA, Australia, Japan etc.
They have taken part of the MustonenFest in Tel Aviv (2016), where they gave nine concerts in ten days, Canada-USA concert tour (2016), where main performances took place in Toronto and its proximity at the events of the Estonian conductor Roman Toi’s 100th birthday. In addition, they performed successfully in Vancouver, Seattle, Eugene, Portland and San Francisco.
In 2017, the boys’ choir’s own musical production, Andres Lemba’s “Chestnuts from the Fire” (libretto Jaanus Vaiksoo, director Uku Uusberg), made it to stage. In 2018, the choir performed with the program “Songs of Estonian Boys” in Berlin’s Konzerthaus at the ten-day festival which took place to celebrate the centenary of the Baltic states and a concert tour to China took place, where they gave seventeen concerts in seventeen cities during one month. Estonian National Opera Boys’ Choir has been awarded with the title “Choir of the Year 2015” of the Estonian Choral Association.
HELI JÜRGENSON (choir master)
studied choir conducting at the Georg Ots Tallinn Music School and at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, and has been teaching choir conducting at the former since 1992. Furthermore, Heli has been a conductor of the Mixed Choir of Estonian Society since its establishment in 1993.
Between the years 2001 and 2012 Heli worked as a choir master in the Estonian National Opera Chorus, preparing operas and other large scale projects, for instance, Mussorgski’s ‘Boris Godunov’, Tchaikovsky’s ‘Pikovaya dama’, Verdi’s ‘Aida’, ‘La traviata’ and Requiem, Wagner’s ‘Tannhäuser’, Puccini’s ‘Tosca’, Tüür’s ‘Wallenberg’, Britten’s War Requiem, Rachmaninov’s ‘The Bells’ etc.
Since 2012 Heli has been the choir master for the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, working with a cappella programmes, and substantial projects and operas, including Pärt’s ‘Litany’, ‘In Principio’, ‘Te Deum’ and ‘Adam’s Passion’, Fauré’s Requime, Haydn’s ‘The Seasons’ and ‘The Creation’, Poulenc’s ‘Gloria’ and ‘Stabat Mater’, Brahms’s ‘Ein deutsches Requiem’, Mozart’s ’Coronation Mass’ and Requiem, McMillan’s ’Seven Last Words from the Cross’, Glass’s ’Koyaanisqatsi’, Wagner’s ’Der fliegender Holländer’, Verdi’s ’Rigoletto’, Mozart’s ’Don Giovanni’ etc.
Heli is welcomed and appreciated as a conductor at distinguished Estonian Song Festivals. She has been an artistic director of the Finnish-Estonian Song Festival and an artistic director for the Festival of Sacred Music several times. In 2013 Heli was awarded the Scholarship of Gustav Ernesaks Foundation and was given the title of Choir Conductor of the Year by the Estonian Choral Society. In 2017 Heli was elected to hold the post of artistic director and conductor of the 12th Youth Song Celebration ‘Here I’ll Stay’ in Estonia.
ESTONIA SOCIETY MIXED CHOIR
Choir created in 1912. The latter also participated in the premiere of Cyrillus Kreek’s Estonian Requiem in 1929. Estonia Society Mixed Choir has been conducted by Heli Jürgenson since it was founded. Conductors have also included Jüri-Ruut Kangur, Jorma Sarv, Ksenija Grabova and the choir has cooperated with such Estonian top conductors as Tõnu Kaljuste, Risto Joost, Erki Pehk, Hirvo Surva, Jüri Alperten etc. Next to the songs of such Estonian classics as K. A. Hermann, M. Härma, A. Kunileid, R. Tobias, C. Kreek, M. Saar, the choir has held dear performing the music of Veljo Tormis, Ester Mägi, Kuldar Sink, Mart Siimer, Margo Kõlar, Pärt Uusberg, Arvo Pärt and Tõnu Kõrvits. The most outstanding performances have been (J. S. Bach Matthäus-Passion, G. Verdi Requiem, J. Brahms German Requiem, W. A. Mozart Mass in C minor, G. Fauré Requiem, C. Orff Carmina Burana, F. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Walpurgis Night, F. Schubert Solemn High Mass, A. Romberg The Lay of the Bell, H. Tobias-Duesberg Requiem, Cyrillus Kreek Estonian Requiem).
During 25 seasons, Estonia Society Mixed Choir has sung very diverse choral music from early music to jazz compositions, from miniatures to grand musical forms. Estonian composers’ music is very highly valued by the choir, which can also be heard on the CD “Liugleb üks lind” (“A Bird Is Gliding”). Estonia Society Mixed Choir is not afraid of musical challenges and is open to beautiful and exciting choral music being glad about the opportunities to sing grand musical forms with an orchestra as well as with different instrumental compositions.