Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (EPCC)
The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (EPCC) has developed into the best-known Estonian music groups in the world. The EPCC was founded by Tõnu Kaljuste in 1981, who continued as the Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the group for two decades. Paul Hillier was Chief Conductor from 2001 to 2007, Daniel Reuss from 2008 to 2013. The Artistic Director and Chief Conductor since 2014/15 is Latvian conductor Kaspars Putniņš.
The large repertoire of the choir extends from Gregorian chant to late baroque and the music of the 20th century, opera and an ever special focus on the work of Estonian composers as Arvo Pärt, Veljo Tormis, Erkki-Sven Tüür, Galina Grigorjeva, Toivo Tulev, Tõnu Kõrvits and Helena Tulve. Each season the choir gives about 60 to 70 concerts in Estonia and abroad.
The EPCC has performed in major concert venues around the globe as Vienna Konzerthaus, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Versailles Opéra Royale, Palau Musica in Barcelona, LSO St. Luke London, Esplanade Signapore, Kennedy Centre Washington, Lincoln Centre and Carnegie Hall New York and Opera House Sydney. Furthermore the choir appeared at numerous festivals including Salzburg Festival, BBC Proms, Cervantino Festival Mexiko, Edinburgh International Festival, Festival International d‘art lyrique d`Aix-en-Provence, Rheingau Musik Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Musikfest Stuttgart, Schwetzinger Festspiele, Flanders Festival, Bergen International Festival, Oslo Church Festival, Istanbul Music Festival, Mosel Musikfestival, Mozartwoche Salzburg, Osterfestival Tirol Austria, Cheltenham Music Festival, Tampere Vocal Music Festival, Folle Journées Festival Nantes and Lissabon, Vale of Glamorgan Festival Wales, Hong Kong Arts Festival, Abu Gosh Music Festival, World Expo Cultural Center Shanghai, Wratislavia Cantans and the Nargen Festival Estonia.
Notable cooperations include appearances with Claudio Abbado, Louis Langrée, Helmuth Rilling, Eric Ericson, Iván Fischer, Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi, Andrew Lawrence-King, Roland Böer, Frieder Bernius, Louis Langrée, Stephen Layton, Marc Minkowski, Christoph Poppen, Sir Colin Davis, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Paul McCreesh and the London Symphony Orchestra, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Camerata Salzburg, Les Musiciens du Louvre, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra Mozart Bologna, Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, hr-Sinfonieorchester Frankfurt, Norwegian, Australian, Lithuanian, Prague, Basel and Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, Concerto Copenhagen, Concerto Palatino, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and Tallinn Chamber Orchestra.
Their considerable discography includes numerous recordings for ECM Records, Ondine Records, Virgin Classics, Carus, Harmonia Mundi which received highest plaudits with distinction worldwide. EPCC recordings have won two Grammy Awards for the Best Choral Performance: 2007 for the album Arvo Pärt Da Pacem (Harmonia Mundi) with the conductor Paul Hillier and 2014 for Arvo Pärt Adam’s Lament (ECM) with the conductor Tõnu Kaljuste. All in all, the choir has 14 Grammy nominations with the works by Arvo Pärt, Erkki-Sven Tüür and the music of Nordic countries. The EPCC recordings have won also the award Diapason d’Or, Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, Danish Music Award and Choc de l’Année Classica 2014.
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Kaspars Putniņš is permanent conductor of the Latvian Radio Choir since 1994. From the season 2014/15 he was appointed as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir. Since 2013 he is Conductor of the Tenso Europe Chamber Choir.
The Latvian conductor regularly appears with the RIAS Kammerchor, NDR Radio Choir Hamburg, SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart, Swedish Radio Choir, Danish National Vocal Ensemble and Choir and Netherlands Radio Choir.
Whilst Kaspars Putniņš' work encompasses a wide range of choral repertoire from the polyphony of the Renaissance period through to romantic music, his foremost goal has always been to promote new outstanding choral music. He has forged close relationships with many Baltic and Nordic composers including, Maija Einfelde, Mārtiņš Viļums, Gundega Šmite, Toivo Tulev, Lasse Thoresen, Gavin Bryars and Andris Dzenitis and has set standards with his interpretations. Putniņš has initiated several drama projects in collaboration with visual and theatre artists.
His discography includes recordings of Peteris Vasks' Mate Saule for BIS Records, Jonathan Harvey's The Angels for Hyperion, works by Bryars, Vasks, Esenvalds, Maskats and Silvestrov, all with the Latvian Radio Choir as well as the CD New Latvian Harvest with contemporary Latvian music with the Latvian Radio Chamber Singers. He has also recorded Rachmaninov's The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom with the Flemish Radio Choir for Glossa. BIS Records released Rachmaninov Vespers with the Netherlands Chamber Choir.
In recent years, Putniņš has worked extensively with young singers and conductors in various projects and masterclasses, such as Bachakademie Stuttgart, Kurt Thomas course, Vocaal Talent and Meesters & Gezellen.
Kaspars Putniņš is recipient of the Latvian Grand Prix of Music and the Latvian Council of Ministers Award for Achievements in Culture and Science.