Pärnu Music Festival brings over 200 musicians to Estonia's summer capital

The Estonian Festival Orchestra and Paavo Järvi at the Pärnu Music Festival.
The Estonian Festival Orchestra and Paavo Järvi at the Pärnu Music Festival. Source: Kaupo Kikkas

On July 13, a music festival begins in Pärnu that brings over 200 musicians to the summer capital. This is the 12th time that the internationally renowned classical music festival takes place. The festival traditionally highlights Estonian music and new releases, and this year is no exception, with Mari Vihmand's new triple concerto for two flutes and bassoon premiering at the festival.

Top violinist Joshua Bell, Estonian Festival Orchestra concertmaster Florian Donderer, Berlin Philharmonic's principal horn player Stefan Dohr, and musicians Wayne Marshall and David Nebel are returning this year to perform at the Pärnu Music Festival once again. Also the world-renowned cellist Marcel Johannes Kits, third prize winner of the Queen Elizabeth Music Competition, the violinist Hans Christian Aavik, winner of the prestigious Carl Nielsen Competition, the Grammy-nominated bassoonist Martin Kuuskmann, and many other younger Estonian top musicians will come together at the festival.

"Recent competition successes by young Estonian artists have been a welcome development in the run-up to the festival, as we are now able to see them perform alongside internationally renowned musicians who will be visiting Pärnu. The next two weeks will be hectic for us because, in addition to the busy concert schedule, we have planned many master classes by top musicians," said Kristjan Hallik, CEO of Pärnu Music Festival.

The Pärnu Music Festival has long emphasized Estonian music and new releases. This year Mari Vihmand's newly commissioned triple concerto for two flutes and bassoon will be performed for the first time. The Estonian Composers' Union and the Estonian Authors' Society will traditionally award the Lepo Sumera Composition Prize at the festival.

Famous conductor Paavo Järvi, the festival's artistic director, says that the Pärnu Music Festival is a highly anticipated event: "Top musicians who have visited the Pärnu festival often express their wish to return. We are also pleased to confirm that Neeme Järvi, who has been absent in recent years due to the pandemic, is returning this year.

More than 200 artists will perform at the Pärnu Music Festival this year, including twenty future stars from the Järvi Academy conducting course and four excellent young Estonian conductors: Valle-Rasmus Roots, Imre Rohuvali, Nele Erastus, and Kasper Joel Nõgene," says Paavo Järvi.

Paavo Järvi conducts the Estonian Festival Orchestra on four evenings at this year's festival. The orchestra that consists now of 85 members, in addition to preparing for the concerts, is also practicing for their autumn tour of South Korea and the release of their new record.

The Estonian Festival Orchestra, in collaboration with Alpha Classics, have recently released their third CD, with premier recordings of the works of six Estonian composers Ülo Krigul, Helena Tulve, Tõnu Kõrvits, Tauno Aints, and Lepo Sumera.

In addition, Järvi Academy participants came together in a 75-member Youth Symphony Orchestra and will perform during the concert on July 20. The Järvi Academy has been an important part of the festival's history, which has the goal of providing intensive summer training to young Estonian instrumentalists and conductors under the direction of the world's best musicians.

Pärnu Music festival is packed with concerts. On July 19, Sander Mölder and Estonian Voices present exclusive program that combines the performers' original work and folk music. Even on the day before the festival officially starts, July 12, the concerts are planned at the Arvo Pärt Centre and in Tallinn's Jaani Church that are featuring Arvo Pärt's works in addition to world classics.

The full program of the festival could be found here.

It is also possible to watch the music events of the Pärnu Concert Hall stage via Pärnu Music Festival TV.


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Editor: Kristina Kersa

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