Tõnu Kaljuste has established himself as a leading interpreter of music by György Kurtag, Krzysztof Penderecki, Giya Kancheli and Alfred Schnittke, and in particular of Estonian composers such as Arvo Pärt, Erkki-Sven Tüür, Veljo Tormis, Heino Eller and Tõnu Korvits. For the Arvo Pärt album Adam’s Lament by ECM Records with the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Sinfonietta Riga, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and Latvian Radio Choir the Estonian conductor was awarded the Grammy Award 2014.
He founded the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and performed with the choir and orchestra in the major concert venues and festivals around the globe. He previously held the positions of Principal Conductor with both the Swedish Radio Choir and the Netherlands Chamber Choir.
As a staunch ally and committed advocate for the work of Arvo Pärt, Kaljuste lately led numerous concerts with music of the composer. He is a frequent guest conductor of orchestras such as the London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony, Orchestra dell‘Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Tonkünstlerorchester, Iceland Symphony, Noord Nederlands Orkest, RTE Symphony Orchestra Ireland, Czech Radio Symphony, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Camerata Salzburg, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and Japan Century Symphony Orchestra. He is regularly working with the RIAS Kammerchor and Latvian Radio Choir.
Future engagements include collaborations with the Gulbenkian Orchestra Chorus, Norrlands Operan Orchestra, Swedish Radio Choir, Norwegian Academy of Music, Wroclaw Philharmonic, touring with the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Tallinn Chamber Orchestra among others.
From 1978 to 1985 Tõnu Kaljuste has been conductor of the Estonian National Opera, conducting Britten’s Let’s Make an Opera - The Little Sweep, Mozart’s Bastian und Bastienne and Der Schauspieldirektor, Der Freischütz and Veljo Tormis’ ballet Estonian Ballads. At the Hamburg Opera he was in the pit for Lera Auerbach’s ballet The Little Mermaid. At the Nargen festival he led Fidelio and Haydn’s Il mondo della luna.
A prolific recording artist, Tõnu Kaljuste has an extensive discography on the ECM, Virgin Classics and Caprice labels, lately the CD Gesualdo featuring music by Brett Dean, Erkki-Sven Tüür and Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa as well as the CD Mirror with works by Tonu Korvits. ECM Records releases the symphonies by Arvo Pärt with the Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra in autumn 2017. Many of his recordings have won prizes including the Diapason d'Or, Cannes Classical Award, Edison Prize and Classic BRIT Award.
Tõnu Kaljuste is a member of the Royal Music Academy of Sweden and recipient of the Japanese ABC Music Award and the Robert Edler Prize. Since 2004 he has been Artistic Director of the Nargen Opera Festival presenting music and opera performances on the Estonian coast.
Season 2018/19Read more
Tonu Kaljuste conducts the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir at the Perth Festival in two concerts on 15 February with Arvo Pärt's Kanon Pokajanen and on 16 February featuring "Nordic Lights" with music by Rautavaara, Veljo Tormis, Pärt, Britten and Raymond Murray Schafer.
Tonu Kaljuste's recording of Arvo Pärt's Symphonies No.1-4 for ECM Records with the Wroclaw Philharmonic has won the ICMA Award 2019 in the category Contemporary Music.
Further to the highly acclaimed CD recording of Arvo Pärt's four symphonies on ECM Records with the Wroclaw Philharmonic, Tonu Kaljuste conducts a promotional concert with the CD programme and Arvo Pärt's Swansong for orchestra in Wroclaw on 5 October.
Tonu Kaljuste conducts the Swedish Radio Choir and Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir at Baltic Sea Festival in Stockholm within an hommage to Eric Ericson
(100 year of birth) on 28 August. The programme features music by Veljo Tormis, Lars Edlund, Ingvar Lidholm, Richard Strauss and Arnold Schönberg. SR2 broadcasts the concert live at 18:55 (CET): sverigesradio.se/p2liveRead more
Tonu Kaljuste conducts the Swedish Radio Choir in Stockholm on 15 September featuring A cappella music by Arvo Pärt, Luciano Berio, Veljo Tormis and Lars Johan Werle.
Tonu Kaljuste conducts a birthday concert for Arvo Pärt with the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and soloists with a J.S.Bach-Arvo Pärt programme in Tallinn on 11 September.
Tonu Kaljuste conducts this production of Arvo Pärt and Robert Wilson set by "Adam's Lament", "Miserere", "Tabula rasa" and "Sequentia" with the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and four actors in Berlin on 27, 28 and 29 March.
Tonu Kaljuste conducts the NDR Choir in three concerts from 9-11 March in Oldenburg, Itzehoe and Hamburg. They perform A cappella music by Krzysztof Penderecki, Arvo Pärt, Sergei Tanejew, Raymond Murray Schafer and Veljo Tormis.
Tonu Kaljuste conducts two concerts with the Brussels Philharmonic and Flemish Radio Choir in Brussels on 26 January and in Antwerp on 27 January within the
festivities on the 100th anniversary of Estonia with works by Peteris Vasks, Magnus Lindberg and Arvo Pärt.Klara Radio broadcasts the concert on 27 January live at 20:00-22:00: klara.be/klaraindesingelRead more
Tonu Kaljuste conducts the revival of the scenic production Nativity Words presenting works by Veljo Tormis with the Estonian National Male Choir,
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, actors of von Krahl Theatre Tallinn and others at the Nargenfestival in Tallinn from 2-8 August. Stage direction: Peeter Jalakas.Read more
Tonu Kaljuste’s recent CD Gesualdo featuring music by Brett Dean, Erkki-Sven Tüür and Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa with the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir on ECM Records has been nominated for a Grammy in the category Best Classical Compendium.Read more
Tonu Kaljuste is on the rostrum of the RTE National Symphony Orchestra Ireland in Dublin on 28 October joined by the RTE Philharmonic Choir featuring an Arvo Pärt programme: Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten, Tabula Rasa, Salve regina and Adam’s Lament.
Tonu Kaljuste conducts the opening concert of the Arvo Pärt festival in Tallinn on 2 September featuring the Estonian first performance of Greater Antiphones for string
orchestra with the Estonian National Symphony and soloists. On 11 September Tonu Kaljuste performs Fratres and Te Deum among others within the closing concert in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the tintinnabuli style.Read more
Tonu Kaljuste conducts the opening concert of the Nargen Festival with works of Estonian Tonu Korvits (new CD programme) together with the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and soloists in Tallinn on 6 June.
Tonu Kaljuste conducts the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra in Oslo in an manifold programme with works by Brett Dean, Erkki-Sven Tüür, Arvo Pärt and Tonu Korvits
joined by The Norwegian Soloists‘ Choir and cellist Anja Lechner in Oslo on 22 March.Read more
Tonu Kaljuste conducts the Iceland Symphony Orchestra in Reykjavik on 3 March in a programme with Arvo Pärt, Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten as well as Te Deum, and Henryk Górecki’s Symphony No. 3.
ECM Records has released the new CD Mirror with works by Tonu Korvits with Tonu Kaljuste, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Anja Lechner.
The new CD by Tonu Kaljuste with works by Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa, Brett Dean and Erkki-Sven Tüür together with the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Tallinn Chamber Orchestra by ECM Records
has been chosen as Record of the month by Musikweb International.Read more
Tonu Kaljuste conducts Händel’s Messiah on 3 December with Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Choir/Cathedral Choir in Kristiansand, Norway.
Tõnu Kaljuste conducts at the Dvorak Festival Prague on 21 September a portrait of Arvo Pärt with the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Estonian Philharmonic
Chamber Choir featuring Fratres, Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten, Adam's Lament, Salve Regina and Te Deum.Read more
Tõnu Kaljuste conducts at the Baltic Sea Festival in Stockholm on 29 August an homage to Arvo Pärt: The programme includes the symphonies No. 1-4 and one of his latest orchestral works, Swansong.
Kaljuste performs the premiere of the music theatre production “Adam’s Passion” (direction: Robert Wilson) with the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Tallinn
Chamber Orchestra, soloists, actors and dancers in Tallinn on 12 May. Further performances take place on 13, 14 and 16 May.Read more
Tõnu Kaljuste conducts the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Swedish Radio Choir in an entire Arvo Pärt programme in Stockholm on 9 May with following pieces: Dopo la Vittoria, Salve Regina and Adam’s Lament.
Tõnu Kaljuste conducts the final concert of an Arvo Pärt festival with the Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España in Madrid on 14 March. The Carte Blanche includes Orient & Occident, Te Deum, Cantus, Salve Regina, Adam’s Lament and 2 Wiegenlieder.
Tonu Kaljuste gives his debut with the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI Torino on 6 February, 20.30 hours. The programme features Claudio Ambrosini, Canzon XIII,
Canzon I, Sonata XIX ,Einojuhani Rautavaara, Cantus Arcticus op. 61, Sofia Gubaidulina Offertorium for violin and orchestra as well as the Italian first performance of Arvo Pärt’s Swansong and is live transmitted on RAI 3: http://www.rai.tv/dl/RaiTV/popup/player_radio.html?v=3Read more
Tõnu Kaljuste gives his debut with the Malmö Opera Orchestra in a concert on 27 November. Together with the opera choir and soloists he performs Mozart’s Requiem as
well as Schönberg’s Friede auf Erden (orchestral version) and John Adams’ choral works of The Death of Klinghoffer.Read more
The Estonian conductor is for the first time at the rostrum of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Chorus with two concerts in Edinburgh Queen's Hall and Glasgow City Halls
on 23 and 24 October. He presents a programme, that contrasts works by Arvo Pärt (Solfeggio and Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten) with Haydn's Symphony No 90 and the Harmoniemesse.Read more
Under the baton of Tõnu Kaljuste, the choir will perform Arvo Pärt's sacred master piece Kanon Pokajanen at Wroclaw's University Church on September 7. Further concerts on September 6 and 8 in Lower Silesia. In 1998
ECM released a recording of the Canon of Repentance sung by the EPCC under Tõnu Kaljuste, the choir's chief conductor at that time, one of the most highly valued CD recordings of the choir.Read more
In the First Symphony, the NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic, led by Tonu Kaljuste, propel the music onward, drawing a shape from the swirling sonic mass.(...) The Fourth owes as much to silence as it does to sound - a reality neatly observed by Tonu Kaljuste.
BBC Music Magazine, Claire Jackson, August 2018
Tonu Kaljuste and the NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic are just as convincing when placidly unwrapping those bundles of archaic-sounding melody, as he is confronting the angularities and contrapuntal clashes of Pärt's earlier works.
The Guardian, Andrew Clements, 19.04.2018
Tonu Kaljuste acts as an outspoken specialist of Arvo Pärt. He takes the music energetically into hand without breaking the sensitive, crystalline inner life. One can hear that he is a choral conductor by origine due to his "songful" gesture of interpretation.
SWR2, Reinhard Emmen, 15.05.2018
With a very clear and detailed playing, Tonu Kaljuste and the Wroclaw Philharmonic present a stirring and exemplary interpretation.
Pizzicato Luxembourg, Uwe Krusch, 13.06.2018
There is a special quality to the Estonian choral sound that is apparent from the outset in this recording. (…)This whole production benefits from the guiding hands of top conductor Tonu Kaljuste. If you like deeply heartfelt expression, fabulous but understated craftsmanship both in composition and performance, and that generous ECM ethos of providing something both brand-new and uniquely valuable for long-term listening then this CD comes with unreserved recommendation.
Musicweb International, Dominy Clements, 06.05.2016
It only needs to be mentioned that the performers of this recording comply by hundred percent to the requirements of such a musical genre and create a cryptic, atmospheric interpretation.
Pizzicato, Norbert Tischer, 30.04.2016
The programme opens with a piece by Gesualdo heard here in a very fine arrangement for strings by Kaljuste. Brett Dean's Carlo is the most impressive work in that most welcome release. (...) This superbly performed programme is a pure delight from first to last.
Musicweb International, Hubert Culot, 10/2015
Both Kaljuste’s orchestra and his instinct are good ones; the insistent suspensions of Gesualdo’s vocal writing – not so much sliding as grinding over one another – translate beautifully for strings, muted and thickly scored in close imitation of a viol consort. They offer a point of departure for the Dean, whose verbatim musical quotations of the start quickly dissolve into fragments of melody and sound, song giving way to whispers and breaths, counterpoint to a clattering Babel of unfinished music thoughts.
Gramophone, Alexandra Coghlan, 06.11.2015
Together with the violinist Sergej Krylov, Tõnu Kaljuste sets a universe of musical situations in rotation. Shiny lights and colors, lyrical fragments in which the violin sings on the tinkling burst of the percussion, landslides and explosions of the large orchestra vanishing into dreamy hazes.
La Stampa, Paolo Gallarati, 10.02.2015
Tõnu Kaljuste gave an incisive yet generous performance – especially in an expertly shaped account of his compatriot Arvo Pärt’s Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten, movingly paced so that its inexorably tumbling scales led inevitably to a broad, sonorous conclusion. In Haydn’s Harmoniemesse he weaved his way with vigour through the composer’s choral counterpoint and enjoyed himself in the multiple jokes of Haydn’s Symphony No. 90. A revelatory evening.
The Scotsman, David Kettle, 25.10.2014
The Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, conducted with authority and grace by Tõnu Kaljuste, brought out the clarity of the harmonic progressions in these deceptively simple pieces, as well as the gradual build up of sonic texture and emotional weight that makes them so riveting.
The New York Times, 03.06.2014
At the concert of Ensemble Resonanz and RIAS Kammerchor under the charismatic and technically outstanding direction of Estonian Tõnu Kaljuste one could listen to contemporary music from Estonia and Latvia that opposes to the polemic modernity of our geographic region a pacifist concept of contemporaneity, in which actuality is not understood as breach of tradition, but as its vitalization. The “Prayer” of Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks, co-commissioned by the RIAS Kammerchor, who now gave a passionate and luminous German premiere of the piece, with its clear minor tonality consequently turns away from the battlefield of innovation… Tõnu Kaljuste knew how to gave the music in its simplicity a considerable graveness and a deep sincerity.
Berliner Zeitung, Jan Brachmann, 02.03.2014
Tõnu Kaljuste and the Latvian Radio Choir prove their extraordinary quality, amazingly accompanied by the Camerata Salzburg. They enchanted with a programme that affected the listener’s souls. Sacral pieces as Mozart’s Sancta Maria, Mater Dei or Arvo Pärt’s Salve Regina and the melancholy of Eastern chants merged with the melancholy of the Knight of the Rose by Richard Strauss. A charming a cappella piece honored Strauss again, then the Grammy awarded final piece Adam’s Lament by Arvo Pärt on texts by monk Starez Siluan, where one mystic met another.
Salzburger Nachrichten, 03.02.2014
The Magnificat and Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten were performed as one entity, to good effect (if perhaps demonstrating the similarity of programming that had concerned me). The London Philharmonic Choir was at its best in the larger tutti sections of the Magnificat, particularly where the sopranos felt they could open up to full voice. The soprano soloist was especially good – though intoning on one pitch, the solo requires excellent ensemble work, often with the tenors and basses, who in this concert were on the other side of the choir stalls. The Cantus was faster than I personally like, but very powerful in the lower registers, with dynamic range excellently controlled by Kaljuste.
Bachtrack, Penny Homer, 08.11.2013
The NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra mastered the melodic sculpture [Arvo Pärt’s Lamentate] – a technical highly complex piano concert between ruminant silence and tough breakouts, just few dare to perform, under the direction of Tõnu Kaljuste unstained: incisive brass, mild strings, bursting percussion. The audience in Hamburg celebrated the evening with standing ovation.
Neue Presse Hannover, 08.2013
The agile orchestra and the choir with his unswerving persistency embellish one another, once searching for harmony, contrasting the other time. Silvery flageolets emerge, the soprano voices are often rounded by male head voices in a velvety manner. The audience remains in breathless silence during the concert and literally explodes at the end of the concert celebrating the performers.
Münchner Merkur, Christof Fiedler, 15.10.2012
The five religious works by Arvo Pärt elaborately built on Gregorian phrases and mixed with broken chords, whose aesthetic proclaim an ideal world without sharp edges. Mainly because Tõnu Kaljuste, Latvian Radio Choir, Sinfonietta Riga and vocal ensemble »Vox Clamantis« were performing at the highest stage, one could hardly elude the charm.
Abendzeitung München, Volker Boser, 15.10.2012
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir
Tallinn Chamber Orchestra
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir
Tallinn Chamber Orchestra