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EESTI KOORIÜHING
ESTONIAN CHORAL ASSOCIATION
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2ND SONG CELEBRATION
IN TARTU, 1879.
1,272 SINGERS AND
WINDPLAYERS PARTICIPATED
ESTONIAN CHORAL
TRADITION
Estonian music was born on the cross-
roads of Eastern and Western cultures, of
animism and Christianity. Estonian runo-
song developed on the third millennium
BC. A thousand years ago, catholic monks
brought Gregorian chant to Estonia.
Even today, echoes of pagan chanting
and Christian prayers can be heard in
Estonian music.
Through centuries, the most powerful
and colourful part of Estonian music has
been choral singing and, more widely,
the whole choral tradition.
By the 17th century, education was quite
well developed in Estonia. Multiple part
singing was an integral part of education,
forming a foundation to the birth of the
frst Estonian choirs in the beginning of
the 19th century.
A signifcant change happened in the cul-
tural environment of Estonians in the mid-
dle of the 19th century. One of the high
points in the tumultuous developments
was the First Song Celebration in Tartu
in 1869, with more than 800 singers and
windplayers. Choir movement was also
a factor in the birth of the independent
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Estonian state in 1918. Towards the end
of the 1980s Estonians, having lost their
country’s freedom during the World War
II, once again gathered to mass singing
events, later named the Singing Revolu-
tion, that was an important step on the
road to re-establishment of the inde-
pendent Estonia in 1991. Since 2003,
the Song and Dance Celebration tradition
is listed on the UNESCO Representative
List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage
of Humanity.
In 1921, the Tallinn Male Choirs Asso-
ciation initiated the founding of the
Estonian Singers’ Union – an assembly
of local singing associations. With each
song festival the number of participants
increased: in 1938, more than 17,000
singers and instrumentalists took part
in the Song Celebration. In 1934, the
tradition of Dance Celebration emerged.
The construction of a new festival arena,
designed for song celebrations, was
completed in 1960. In the 2009 Song
and Dance Celebration, the number
of participants was over 40,500 while
more than 162,000 people were in the
audience. In the 2011 Youth Song and
Dance Celebration, there were 34,830
singers, dancers, gymnasts, musicians
and leaders taking part in the celebra-
tion.
The Song Celebrations have always
been part of the Estonian national psy-
che, the feeling of unity and hope for a
brighter future. Estonians often refer to
themselves as a singing nation – this is
an important expression of the national
identity that has supported Estonians
during the fght for independence in the
beginning of the 20th century as well
as at the time of the Soviet occupation.
Choral works of Estonian composers
are well known in many countries from
Europe the American continent, Japan
and Australia.
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ESTONIAN CHORAL
ASSOCIATION
Estonian Choral Association (ECA) was
founded on 28 March 1982 as the
umbrella organization for all choirs
and wind orchestras in Estonia. ECA is
the successor in the title of the Estonian
Singers’ Union that was founded in 1921
and re-established in 1993.
The goals of the ECA are to foster the
choral and wind music tradition, to fnd
and dist ribute repertoire, to establish
contacts, to organize international cho-
ral festivals, concerts, educational pro-
grammes, seminars and other events for
choirs, singers and conductors.
Estonian Choral Association is a mem-
ber of the European Choral Association
– Europa Cantat (EC), and of the Inter-
national Federation for Choral Music
(IFCM). Tallinn International Choir Fes-
tival belongs to the Network for Choral
Festivals and Competitions (CFN).
Photos by: Vahur Lõhmus
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ESTONIAN CHORAL ASSOCIATION (ECA)
SUB-ORGANISATIONS, NATIONAL CHOIRS AND ORCHESTRAS
ESTONIAN MALE CHOIRS ASSOCIATION
www.emls.ee
ESTONIAN FEMALE SONG SOCIETY
www.naislauluselts.ee
ESTONIAN MIXED CHOIRS ASSOCIATION
www.segakoorideliit.ee
ESTONIAN CHAMBER CHOIRS UNION
www.ekkl.ee
ESTONIAN WIND MUSIC SOCIETY
www.puhkpy.ee
ESTONIAN SOCIETY FOR MUSIC EDUCATION
www.emol.ee
ESTONIAN CHORAL CONDUCTORS ASSOCIATION
www.kooriyhing.ee
SECTION OF YOUTH AND CHILDREN’S CHOIRS
www.kooriyhing.ee
Estonian United Boys’ Choir Kalev
National Girls’ Choir Leelo
Estonian Youth Mixed Choir
Female Choir of Estonian
Choral Conductors
Conductors Wind Orchestra
Estonian Girls’ Choir
Estonian Youth Wind Orchestra
NATIONAL CHOIRS AND ORCHESTRAS
FEMALE CHOIR OF ESTONIAN CHORAL CONDUCTORS
Conductors: Andrus Siimon, Õnne-Ann Roosvee
Founded in 1988
Over 40 conductors and music teachers.
The choir has been successful at competitions in Sweden, the Netherlands, Wales,
Hungary and Germany.
In 2012, the choir received 1st prize and a special prize at the International CREDO
Festival of Orthodox Sacred Music and 2nd prize as well as a special prize for the
interpretation of compulsory piece at the national female choirs’ competition.
ekn.edicypages.com/en
25th anniversary of the Female Choir of Estonian Choral
Conductors at the House of Blackheads, October 2013.
Photo by Teet Tamme
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ESTONIAN UNITED BOYS’ CHOIR KALEV
Conductors: Kuldar Schüts, Hirvo Surva, Indrek Vijard
Founded in 1994
Over 50 boys and men aged 8 to 25.
In 2012, the choir received 2nd prize at the 8th International
Warsaw Choir Festival “Varsovia Cantat”.
www.poistekoor.org.ee
ESTONIAN YOUTH
MIXED CHOIR
Conductor: Peeter Perens
Founded in 1998
40 young men and
women aged 15 to 27.
In 2013, the choir
received 1st prize at the
national mixed choirs’
competition Tuljak.
Photo’s courtesy of the choir
Kalev at the International Choir Festival “Tallinn 2011”. Photo by Kristjan Sulõnd
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Photo by José Manuel Prieto Garay
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ESTONIAN GIRLS’ CHOIR
Conductors: Ave Sopp, Ulrika Grauberg
Founded in 2003
45 girls aged 10 to 17.
NATIONAL GIRLS’ CHOIR LEELO
Conductor: Külli Kiivet
Founded in 1996
25 girls and young women aged 15 to 25.
The choir brings together joyful girls from every cor-
ner of Estonia. There is a good sentence for all these
singers: who makes it, will reach it. Many of them also
engage in folk dance or play an instrument.
www.leelo.ee
The choir unites young singers from Võru in the South of
Estonia to Läänemaa in the West, who are happy to be
together in the singing camps as well as on stage.
Photo’s courtesy of the choir
Photo’s courtesy of the choir
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ESTONIAN YOUTH WIND ORCHESTRA
Conductors: Sirly Illak-Oluvere, Riivo Jõgi
Founded in 1994
Over 50 excellent woodwind, brass and percussion players aged 13 to 25.
In 2010, the orchestra received 1st prize in the category of concert orchestras
at the Tournament for Wind Orchestras.
Photo’s courtesy of the orchestra
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CONDUCTORS WIND ORCHESTRA
Conductors: Bert Langeler, Hando Põldmäe, Ott Kask, Valdo Rüütelmaa
Founded in 1965
40 wind orchestra or wind band conductors, students and instrument
teachers. Orchestra meets 4 to 5 times a year in three-day workshops.
Photo’s courtesy of the orchestra
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PROFESSIONAL CHOIRS IN ESTONIA
ESTONIAN PHILHARMONIC CHAMBER CHOIR (EPCC)
is one of the best-known Estonian music groups in the world.
Chief Conductor and Artistic Director: Kaspars Putniņš
Honorary Conductor: Tõnu Kaljuste
Chorus Master: Heli Jürgenson
Founded in 1981
26 singers
www.epcc.ee/en
ESTONIAN NATIONAL MALE CHOIR
is a world-renowned professional choir noted for
its renditions of large-scale choral works.
Chief Conductor and Artistic Director: Mikk Üleoja
Founded in 1944
48 singers
www.concert.ee/estonian-national-male-choir
OPERA CHORUS OF ESTONIAN NATIONAL OPERA
has been a part of dozens of opera, operetta and musical performances,
the most popular of which have also been performed abroad.
Chief Chorus Master: Elmo Tiisvald
Founded in 1907
42 singers
www.opera.ee/en/koor
VANEMUINE OPERA CHOIR
belongs to the oldest professional theatre in Estonia.
Chief Chorus Master: Piret Talts
Founded in the 1st half of the 20th century
32 singers
www.vanemuine.ee/opera-choir
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MAJOR EVENTS
ANNUAL GALA CONCERT OF THE ESTONIAN CHORAL ASSO-
CIATION is held every year in January. The concert recognizes the best conduc-
tors, choirs, orchestras, sponsors and organizers. Annual Awards are given to most
outstanding persons and organisations in the feld of choral music. The frst annual
gala concert was organized in January 2004.
INTERNATIONAL CHOIR FESTIVAL “TALLINN…” frst took place in
1972. Over the years, it has attracted good choirs from all over the world to Tallinn.
The festival comprises concerts and competition for diferent types of choirs and
in diferent categories. Since 2001, the festival takes place every second year. 14th
festival takes place on April 23 – 26, 2015.
PÄRNU INTERNATIONAL CHOIR FESTIVAL take place every second year
since 1996. The festival includes folk song competition for choirs and ensembles
singing a cappella and several concerts in and around the town Pärnu. Participating
choirs can be mixed, chamber, female, male or children’s choirs or vocal ensembles.
SONG AND DANCE CELEBRATIONS have been organised since 1869.
At the Song Celebration concerts diferent types of choirs sing separately and
also together in one large joint choir consisting up to 28,000 singers and players.
In addition to choirs, wind and symphony orchestras perform at the concerts. Thou-
sands of dancers and folk musicians take part in the Dance Celebration perfor-
mances. Song and Dance Celebrations are organised in every fve years, the 26th
Song Celebration and the 19th Dance Celebration will take place on July 4 – 6. 2014.
YOUTH SONG AND DANCE CELEBRATIONS are organised between
the Song and Dance Celebrations since 1962. Their aim is to bring more young
people closer to the song festival tradition as the Song and Dance Celebrations
do not have enough space for all singers and dancers. The youth celebrations also
take place in every fve years and have similar structure of song and dance concerts.
12th Youth Song and Dance Celebration takes place on June 30 – July 2, 2017.
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MAIN EVENTS 2014 – 2016
2014
June 4 – 8 10th International Wind Band Festival „Mürtsub pill“, Tartu (www.potartu.ee )
June 7 Tartu Song Celebration (laulupidu.tartu.ee )
June 14 – 15 Music Teachers’ Summer School in Kehra
July 2 – 7 International Study Tour for Managers, Tallinn
July 4 – 6 26th Song Celebration and 19th Dance Celebration
„Touched by Time. The Time to Touch”, Tallinn
July 16 – 20 Wind Band Festival „Võsu Viis"
August 7 – 10 Music Teachers’ Summer School in Saaremaa
August 18 – 22 32nd Summer Seminar of Choral Conductors and Music Teachers,
Vana-Vigala
August 22 – 24 Summer School for Choir Singers in Haapsalu
September 11 – 13 4th national competition for young orchestra conductors
September 27 Information Day of ECA sub-organisations
October 3 – 5 Assembly of delegates of International Confederation of Music
Societies – CISM, Viljandi
October 18 20th anniversary concert of Estonian Mixed Choirs Association
October 19 20th anniversary concert of Estonian Female Song Society
November 4 – 7 6th national competition of young choral conductors, Tallinn
November 23 Singing Day for Male Choirs of Southern Estonia in Tartu
December Advent concerts of the Estonian Mixed Choirs Association,
the Estonian Chamber Choirs Union and the Estonian
Female Song Society
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2015
January 16 - 17 National competition for school mixed choirs in Saaremaa
January 25 Annual gala concert of Estonian Choral Association
in Estonia Concert Hall
February 7 – 8 Estonian Mixed Choirs’ Competition „Tuljak”, Tartu
March National competition for instrumental ensembles
and orchestras in Kehra
Aprill 11 National competition for boy soloists in Rakvere
April 11 – 12 6th national competition of female and girls’ choirs
April 23 - 26 14th International Choir Festival „Tallinn 2015”
April 25 National competition for boys’ and male ensembles
May Pärnu International Choir Festival
June 17 - 21 International Boy’s Choir Festival in Tartu
June 18 – 20 Singing and sports camp for boys’ choirs in Ülenurme
July 3 - 5 Song Festival „Mary’s Land – Father’s Land” in Tartu
August 10 – 14 33rd Summer Seminar of Choral Conductors and Music Teachers,
Vana-Vigala
December Advent concerts of the Estonian Mixed Choirs Association,
the Estonian Chamber Choirs Union and the
Estonian Female Song Society
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2016
January Annual gala concert of Estonian Choral
Association in Estonia Concert Hall
February 6 2nd national competition for vocal ensembles
„Tuljak” in Tartu
February National Musical Olympiad
April 8 – 9 13th Estonian Chamber Choirs’ Festival in Jõhvi
April 16 National competition for boys’ and young
men’s choirs in Tallinn
May National Children’s Choirs’ Festival
May Pärnu International Choir Festival (prkf.ee)
June 4 Singing Day of Estonian Female Choirs in Pärnu
June 11 Singing Day of Estonian Mixed Choirs in Viljandi
August 34th Summer Seminar of Choral Conductors and
Music Teachers in Vana-Vigala
November Music Teachers’ Autumn Days
November Singing Day of Estonian Male Choirs
December Advent concerts of the Estonian Mixed Choirs Association,
the Estonian Chamber Choirs Union and the
Estonian Female Song Society
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ESTONIAN CHORAL ASSOCIATION
Registration code 80039536
Roosikrantsi 13, 10119 Tallinn, Estonia
ph: +372 627 44 51, +372 627 44 50,
fax: +372 627 44 59
E-mail: kooriyhing@kul.ee
Open Mon-Fri 9.00 - 17.00
Raul Talmar President
rtalmar@gmail.com
Kaie Tanner General secretary
+372 627 44 51
kooriyhing@kul.ee
kaie.tanner@kul.ee
Varje Vürst Consultant, training manager
+372 627 44 52
varje.vyrst@kul.ee
Mare Zaneva Ofce assistant
+372 627 44 50
mare.zaneva@kul.ee

Kristel Pedak Programme coordinator
+372 627 44 56
kristel.pedak@kul.ee
Piia Härmson Accountant
+372 627 44 54
piia.harmson@kul.ee
www.kooriyhing.ee
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