Conductor: Now is the time to create professional mixed choir

On the 113th anniversary of the birth of composer Gustaf Ernesaks (1908-1993), conductor Risto Joost was awarded Gustav Ernesaks main scholarship for high-level dedicated work in promoting Estonian music life and introducing Estonian music around the world. However, Joost said that the Estonian choir music needs some changes. One of his proposals was to create a professional mixed choir.

Joost considers Gustav Ernesaks' work remarkable and said that he is moved by the recognition. "It's a great recognition," Joost said on classical radio's program "Delta".

Although Joost didn't study under Ernesaks' guidance, Kuno Areng shared his wisdom. Joost also sees how Ernesaks' works are passed on.

The terms "choir director" and "conductor" carry different meanings in Joost's opinion. Whereas he considers the "choir director" term to refer more to an amateur position, a conductor is one who has studied it at university. "Conducting is what joins up the whole area," Joost said.

Joost says he finds that the development of Estonian choral music shouldn't stop progressing. One of his main concerns is that a choir director shouldn't turn into a manager. "Then it's possible to improve the area," he said.

Joost added that there is no professional mixed choir in Estonia. "Now is the time to make a cultural-political decision and create a professional mixed choir," Joost said.

Looking back at the year, Joost considered it unfortunate that the Estonian Defense Forces orchestra was cut. Cutting the orchestra shows the state's attitude towards it, Joost said.

Joost said that the orchestra didn't only fulfill a ceremonial role, it was also a learning platform. In this way, people who studied an instrument could further study it. "Now they don't have such an opportunity," Joost noted.

Risto Joost does not look at the ending year only with a negative undertone. We can also carry along many positive memories. Although Joost couldn't bring out a particular concert or event, he drew attention to all the musicians and cultural figures who have managed to keep people's spirit in a difficult situation and by giving online concerts.

Joost also recalled the end of the year when he no longer had to give online concerts and the restrictions were lifted. "The audience's thirst for art was so insane, and it still shows how important culture is."


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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