Conductor Tõnu Kaljuste to receive first Eri Klas scholarship

Tõnu Kaljuste.
Tõnu Kaljuste. Source: Rene Jakobson

Choir and orchestra conductor Tõnu Kaljuste will receive the Eri Klas scholarship, which is awarded for the first time this year.

The Estonian National Culture Foundation established a scholarship to celebrate its 30th anniversary with the support of Estonian entrepreneurs. The award recognizes a person with a strong commitment to Estonian culture, education, sports or science. The scholarship is a recognition for the work done so far and an inspiration for the future. The scholarship is announced every year on June 7 on the birthday of the conductor Eri Klas (1939-2016).

The council of the foundation unanimously decided with the approval of the support group of Estonian entrepreneurs that the winner of the first Eri Klas scholarship is the internationally acclaimed choir and orchestra conductor Tõnu Kaljuste.

Tõnu Kaljuste is an important person of the Estonian professional choral culture and one of the creators of the image of Estonia as a high-level music state in the world. In 1981, Tõnu Kaljuste founded the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and in 1993 the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra. Under his leadership, several collaborations shaping the history of music began with composers Veljo Tormis and Arvo Pärt, whose works he has introduced in many parts of the world, together with the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra. A historic achievement is the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Choir Performance for Arvo Pärt's "Adam's Lament". In 2010–2020, he was a professor and head of the conducting department at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theater. Kaljuste has also been the chief conductor of the Swedish Radio Choir and the Dutch Chamber Choir. Since 2004, Kaljuste has been the artistic director of the Nargen Opera project theater, which he founded himself. Under his leadership, the Nargenfestival has taken place since 2006.

"It is worth noting that from the autumn of 2019 Tõnu Kaljuste will continue the work of Eri Klas at the Tallinn Philharmonic, being its artistic director and chief conductor of the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra," Olav Ehala, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, said.

The sum of the first scholarship is €10,000. The scholarship comes with a specially designed medal. The ceremonial presentation of the scholarship will take place at the 30th-anniversary concert of the Estonian National Culture Foundation on June 19 in the ruins of Pirita Monastery.


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