Estonian Music Days festival starts April 22, to be online only this year

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Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, one of the performers at this year's Estonian Music Days starting April 22. Source: Kaupo Kikas.

This year's contemporary music festival Estonian Music Days (Eesti muusika päevad) will be online-only, due to the ongoing coronavirus situation, ERR's culture portal reports.

The festival runs from April 22 to May 2 and will see concerts, discussion forums and other events held via online linkup on the festival's site here.

The festival's official names is the Estonian Music Days & Baltic Music Days, reflecting the fact that it is the first time the festival will cover all three Baltic States together, following the foundation of the umbrella organization of the countries' composers' unions, the Baltic Contemporary Music Network.

ERR's Klassikaraadio will also carry concerts, while the event is open to voluntary donations.

Organizers hope that despite this restriction, availability online might give the festival a wider reach than in-person events had done in previous years.

Mari-Liis Rebane, the festival's managing director said:"We want to expand both local and international audiences through online concerts."

Estonian Music Days carries a central theme each year, with 2021's focus being "DNA", behind which lies, organizers say, our desire to know who we are and where we come from, not just genetically, but also our musical and cultural DNA. This concept also links the shared background of, but also differences between, Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians.

Estonian and other composers premiering their work at this year's festival are: Antoine Beuger, Platon Buravicky, Madli Marje Gildemann, Elis Hallik, Lauri Jõeleht, Tatjana Kozlova-Johannes, Ülo Krigul, Alisson Kruusmaa, Kristjan Kõrver, Maria Kõrvits, Märt-Matis Lill, Taivo Lints, Rita Mačiliūnaitė, Riho Esko Maimets, Malle Maltis, Elo Masing. Anna-Margret Noorhani, Aaro Pertmann, Ramus Puur, Evelin Seppar, Liina Sumera, Mirjam Tally, Mariliis Valkonen, Ardo Ran Varres, Age Veeroos, Aleksandr Žedeljov.

Estonian Music Days and Baltic Music Days flyer. Source: Kaupo Kikkas

The works themselves will be performed by the top contemporary Baltic ensembles Synaesthesis (Lithuania - see picture below), Twenty Fingers Duo (Lithuania), Sinfonietta Riga String Quartet (Latvia), Quadra (Latvia) from outside Estonia.

From Estonia, piano duo Kadri-Ann Sumera & Talvi Hunt, the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra (ERSO), the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (EPCC), the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra (Tallinna kammerorkester - see cover image), Trio HETK, Tallinn New Ensemble for New Music, Estonian Electronic Music Society Ensemble (EMA), the EMTA Sinfonietta Ensemble U, YXUS and Iris Ojaare are also performing.

Lithuania's Synaesthesis. Source: Thomas Terekas

The LHV Au-Tasu Award for new compositions will also be awarded, along with thematic discussion groups will also take place.

Estonia is hosting the inaugural Estonian Music Days & Baltic Music Days, with Kaunas in Lithuania following next year, and Riga, Latvia, in 2023, after which the festival returns to Estonia.

While it is the first year for the combined Baltic festival, the Estonian Composers' Union (Eesti Heliloojate Liit) has been organizing Estonian Music Days, which showcases Estonian contemporary music, since 1979.

Last year's event was held in person, in Tallinn and Tartu, in September, having been postponed due to the initial coronavirus wave.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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