Culture minister makes clean sweep of Eesti Kontsert board

Conductor Olari Elts is one of six new supervisory board members at Eesti Kontsert.
Conductor Olari Elts is one of six new supervisory board members at Eesti Kontsert. Source: Marco Borggreve

Minister of Culture Indrek Saar (SDE) has appointed six new members to the supervisory board of Estonian music umbrella organisation Eesti Kontsert (EK), replacing the previous board in its entirety.

The former board split in October on the appointment of sitting MP Laine Randjärv (Reform) as new EK head, having previously been in favour of it when she was first chosen in September. The change of heart revolved around concerns that Ms Randjärv had put her start date back, possibly in pursuit of compensation she would have lost otherwise (it was alleged), which was met with counter-claims from Ms Randjärv that political pressure had been applied to the board in going back on their original decision to appoint her.

This pressure was denied by the culture minister; Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) also rejected the idea he had pulled any strings, though Ms Randjärv was accused of contacting both him and education minister Mailis Reps (Centre) on the issue.

Three-year term

The new board announced on Wednesday includes representatives from both artistic and ministerial sides and consists of conductors Olari Elts and Andres Kaljuste, musicologist Toomas Siitan, plus civil servants Tarvi Sits and Merle Põld from the Ministry of Culture, and Regina Vällik from the Ministry of Finance.

All are appointed for three-year terms, and will choose amongst themselves who will be chair of the supervisory board, according to head of communications at the culture ministry Meelis Kompus.

Who will now be the new head of EK, replacing Jüri Leiten who is stepping down, is not known, other than it will not be Laine Randjärv.

Eesti Kontsert oversees live music performances of a variety of music types including symphonic, chamber, jazz and children's music, hosting around1,000 concerts per year, inside and outside Estonia, and organising festivals and activities for schools. It also manages several concert venues, including one at St. John's Estonian Church in St. Petersburg, Russia.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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