Tõnu Kaljuste > Tõnu Kaljuste long CV

Tõnu Kaljuste – Expanded CV

Tõnu Kaljuste – A Biographical Portrait

From Ellerhein to Heino Eller (April, 2001)

Kaljuste was born in Tallinn, Estonia in 1953 and is the son of Heino
Kaljuste (1925-1989) who was a prominent Estonian choral conductor and
musical teacher.

Tõnu Kaljuste has described his
father as his first musical influence and inspiration and it was as a
member of his father’s Ellerhein children’s choir that he began his
musical performance experience. Heino Kaljuste formed the Ellerhein
(the Estonian name for the bird’s-eye primrose wildflower) choir in
1951. In 1966, Heino Kaljuste added the amateur Ellerhein Chamber Choir
to his conducting responsibilities by gathering previous members of the
children’s choir who wished to continue in choral singing.

his choral performance activities, the young student Tõnu Kaljuste
began his academic musical education with piano studies at the Tallinn
Secondary Music School which he completed in 1971 after specializing in
choral conducting under the teacher Harri Ilja. From there, he
continued his conducting studies at the Tallinn Conservatory with Jüri
Variste (choral) and Roman Matsov (orchestral) and completed his
graduate degree in 1976. Tõnu Kaljuste did his postgraduate work from
1976 to 1978 at the Leningrad Conservatory with Professor J.

The beginning of each decade has
brought new challenges in Tõnu Kaljuste’s ever evolving musical life,
from those early studies in 1971, to embarking upon a full-time
professional career in 1981, the expanded international possibilities
that came with Estonia’s renewed independence in 1991, and the birth of
a new freelance conducting career on the dawn of a new millennium in

Tõnu Kaljuste began conducting the
Ellerhein Chamber Choir in 1971 and assumed full leadership of it in
1974 after teaching responsibilities demanded more of his father’s
time. Even from those early days, the choir’s repertoire and
performance practice was very wide-ranging and experimental. Musical
evenings and presentations were made that consisted of combining texts,
choral songs, theatrical and dance movement. Composers ranged from a
classical repertoire of Palestrina, Lasso, Victoria, Vivaldi,
Pergolesi, Bach, Mozart and Beethoven through to more contemporary
works by Debussy, Ravel, Delius, Britten and Messiaen. Thematic
evenings were constructed around styles such as gospel spirituals,
French chansons and folk songs. At the same time, Kaljuste and the
choir began their lifetime advocacy of the works of Estonian composers
with the finno-ugric folk song inspired works of Veljo Tormis most
prominent among them.

During the years from
1978 to 1980, Tõnu Kaljuste’s academic career also came full circle as
he himself was the professor of choral conducting at his Tallinn
Conservatory alma mater. The Ellerhein Chamber Choir achieved the
distinction of winning the 1st Prize at the 9th
Béla Bartók International Choral Competition in Debrecen, Hungary in
1980 with Tõnu Kaljuste receiving the best conductor prize as well. He
describes the qualities that he especially seeks in his choir members:
“I look for two things, which are the beauty of the voice and the
singer’s ability to be flexible and free in their techniques. I want
them to be able to adapt their technique and thinking from such
extremes as baroque to romantic, as our choir’s repertoire is very wide
ranging. I believe that there are two types of singers: those whose
voices are their own instrument and know how to play them, or those
whose voices are an instrument but need someone else to play them. I
prefer the first type of singer.”

With the
government funding that came with the success at the Bartók
Competition, Tõnu Kaljuste was able to make the Ellerhein Chamber Choir
a full-time professional choir and formalized their new name as the
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (EPCC) in 1981. During those years
of Soviet Communist occupation, all Estonian professional musicians
were classified as government employees and were paid through the
Estonian Soviet State Republic Philharmonic Society. The Philharmonic
tag has remained with the choir all these years, but Estonian choral
enthusiasts have affectionately taken to using the shorthanded nickname
of, simply, “Kaljuste’s Choir”. The choir progressed throughout the
1980’s and began to achieve a greater degree of international renown
with the infrequent concert tours allowed by Soviet authorities and the
limited pressings of vinyl LPs released by the government sponsored
Melodiya label.

Tõnu Kaljuste has said about
his work with the EPCC that “we grew together with and through our
repertoire and from working in close association with many composers.
It has been very important to our work that we have been able to
cooperate with living composers.”

In addition to
his work with the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Tõnu Kaljuste
was also a conductor at the Estonian National Opera during the period
1978 to 1985. During this time, the works conducted included Britten´s
Let´s Make an Opera – The Little Sweep, Mozart´s Bastien und Bastienne
and Der Schauspieldirektor, Veljo Tormis´ opera-ballet Estonian Ballads
and Weber´s Der Freischütz.

With the arrival of
renewed Estonian independence in 1991, Tõnu Kaljuste and the EPCC were
able to embark on a more fully realized international professional
career than the previous state controlled monopoly would permit. ECM
Records had already established a major Estonian association through
its advocacy of Arvo Pärt’s music with the ECM releases of Tabula Rasa,
Arbos, Passio, Miserere and Trivium. ECM Records produced its first
recording with Tõnu Kaljuste and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber
Choir, with Forgotten Peoples (ECM 1459/60) by Estonian composer Veljo
Tormis. The six sections of the Forgotten Peoples cycle (composed from
1970 to 1989) use extant folksongs from some of the smaller finno-ugric
languages such as Livonian, Votic, Izhorian, Ingrian, Vepsian and
Karelian as the basis for Tormis’ compositions. Estonian, Finnish and
Hungarian represent the larger branches of the finno-ugric language
group. As Veljo Tormis has said: “It is not my goal to improve upon
folk song, but instead to capture the essence of its being.” Tõnu
Kaljuste commented further about the Forgotten Peoples cycle that “many
small finno-ugric language groups were becoming extinct during the
Soviet Russification period and this was of great concern to Veljo
Tormis, who wanted to preserve their culture in some manner. To survive
next door to a large nation it is not enough to just have an army to
defend your border but a cultural underpinning must exist as well.”

Tõnu Kaljuste
continued to expand the repertoire of the EPCC by adding the works of
Arvo Pärt, which had even been banned from performance after that
composer’s emigration from Soviet Estonia to at first Austria and later
to Germany in 1980. The need for a stable instrumental ensemble also
became evident and resulted in Kaljuste establishing the Tallinn
Chamber Orchestra in 1993. Together, the choir and orchestra released
Arvo Pärt’s Te Deum (ECM 1505) in 1993 as well. Collaborations with
Arvo Pärt continued throughout the 1990’s with the recording of Litany
(ECM 1592) in 1995 and the magnum opus of the composer’s tintinnabuli
style, the Kanon Pokajanen (ECM 1654/55)
in 1997. Kanon Pokajanen (Church Slavonic for Canon of Repentance)
required two years of composition by Pärt and trial rehearsals with
Kaljuste and his choir. Arvo Pärt described the collaboration by
saying: “We were together collectively in the work and, in fact, during
rehearsals we were dealing with something more than just music. These
musicians have a very sharpened sense of style and feeling. Their
conductor has taken them into the presence of the music, the sounds and
the phrases. Every nuance is searched for and worked on to the utmost
extent. The result is that Kaljuste’s choir and orchestra are in demand
throughout the world.” In recognition of this collaboration, Arvo Pärt
dedicated Kanon Pokajanen to Tõnu Kaljuste and the Estonian
Philharmonic Chamber Choir.

The next generation
of Estonian composers was represented by ECM’s release of Erkki-Sven
Tüür’s Crystallisatio (ECM 1590) in 1996. Again the forces of the
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir combined with the Tallinn Chamber
Orchestra for this selection of works by Estonia’s best-known younger
composer who was born in 1959.

Tõnu Kaljuste
also became principal conductor of the Swedish Radio Choir from 1994 to
2000 and of the Netherlands Chamber Choir from 1998 to 2000. The former
post was especially personally significant, as it allowed him to work
directly with the choir made famous by its association with the choral
maestro Eric Ericson whom Kaljuste has acknowledged as a major
influence. The work with the Swedish Radio Choir produced the ECM
release of Alfred Schnittke’s Psalms of Repentance (ECM 1583) in 1999.
To round out the decade, the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir’s next
release was a return to their “earthly” roots with Veljo Tormis’ Litany
To Thunder (ECM 1687). Tõnu Kaljuste has sometimes described the range
of the EPCC’s repertoire as extending from the earth of Veljo Tormis to
the heavens of Arvo Pärt. In June of 1998, the ongoing association with
ECM Records was celebrated by an ECM Days Festival in Tallinn, Estonia.
Organized by Tõnu Kaljuste, the guest performers included a wide
representation of ECM associated musicians such as Kim Kashkashian,
Paul Giger, Christopher Bowers-Broadbent, and the Swedish Radio Choir.
A recording of the EPCC’s concert at that festival with Swiss violinist
Paul Giger subsequently comprised part of the album Ignis (ECM 1681).

Kaljuste’s newest recording is of Heino Eller’s Neenia (ECM 1745). It
also marks the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra’s first purely orchestral
release and adds an earlier generation to ECM’s ever expanding list of
Estonian composers (one would be forgiven at this point for thinking
that ECM was an acronym for Estonian Contemporary Music). It is also
worthy of note that Heino Eller (1887-1970) was Arvo Pärt’s composition
professor as he was for many other contemporary Estonian composers
during his teaching years at the Tartu Secondary Music School
(1920-1940) and the Tallinn Conservatory (1940-1970).

The year 2001 will see the celebration of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir’s 20th
season as a professional choral ensemble. Tõnu Kaljuste has also chosen
to make the end of this season the beginning of a career as an
independent freelance conductor. The start of each of the past three
decades has seen a major change or shift in the direction of his
musical path. This is the next stage as he seeks more and more ways to
“enter into the presence of the music”.

In 1998,
Tõnu Kaljuste was presented with the Japanese ABC Music Award and
received the Robert Edler Prize for Choral Music. Tõnu Kaljuste is also
a member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Music.

productions with Tõnu Kaljuste as conductor are in preparation on ECM
New Series. These include recordings of music of Arvo Pärt and
Krzysztof Penderecki with, respectively, the Swedish Radio Symphony and
Choir and the Netherlands Chamber Choir.

Alan Teder

Trả lời

Email của bạn sẽ không được hiển thị công khai. Các trường bắt buộc được đánh dấu *