Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (EPCC)
The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (EPCC) has developed into the best-known Estonian music group 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. New Artistic Director and Chief Conductor since 2014 is Latvian conductor Kaspars Putninš.
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, Aix-en-Provence, Rheingau, Schleswig-Holstein, Stuttgart, Schwetzingen, Mosel, Klangvokal Dortmund, Mozartwoche Salzburg, Osterfestival Tirol Austria, Flanders, Bergen, Oslo, Istanbul, Cheltenham, Tampere, Folle Journées Nantes and Lissabon, Vale of Glamorgan, Hong Kong, Abu Gosh 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 und dem 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 Philharmonic, 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.
BIS Records has released three albums under Kaspars Putniņš including Alfred Schnittke’s Concerto for choir, Arvo Pärt’s Seven Magnificat Antiphons, Franz Liszts Via Crucis and Arvo Pärt: Sacred choral works as well as an album with Schnittke’ Psalms of Repentance and Pärt’s Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis which was awarded the Gramophone Award and Diapason d’Or in 2018. Ondine has featured two albums by Tõnu Korvits under Risto Joost and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra: You are Light and Morning (Sei la luce e il mattino) and Moorland Elegies.
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. 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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Hailed by the international press as “charismatic and energetic”, Tõnu Kaljuste is recognized both as a choir and orchestra conductor worldwide. He is a frequent guest conductor of orchestras and chamber choirs worldwide and performed in the major music centres and at renowned festivals worldwide.
Founder of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (EPCC) and Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Tõnu Kaljuste is a staunch ally and committed advocate for the work of Arvo Pärt, Erkki-Sven Tüür, Veljo Tormis and Heino Eller. He has collaborated closely with great composers of modernism in Northern and Eastern Europe such as Alfred Schnittke, György Kurtag, Krzysztof Penderecki and Giya Kancheli.
From the season 2021/22 Tõnu Kaljuste is again Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the EPCC. At the same time he holds the position of Artistic Director of the Tallinn Philharmonic Society and Tallinn Chamber Orchestra since 2019/20. Kaljuste has been Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Chamber Choir and is Conductor Laureate of the Swedish Radio Choir since 2019.
Numerous recordings of Kaljuste’s extensive discography for ECM Records, BIS, Caprice Records and Virgin Classics were nominated for the Grammy in various categories and have also other awards such as Cannes Classical Award, Diapason d’Or, Edison Prize and Classic Brit Award. For the Arvo Pärt album Adam’s Lament the Estonian conductor was awarded the Grammy Award 2014 in the category ‘Best Choir Performance’. In 2019 Tõnu Kaljuste won the ICMA Award for the album of Arvo Pärt’s Symphonies No. 1-4 with the Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra.
Since 2004 Tõnu Kaljuste has been Artistic Director of Nargen Opera in Estonia featuring the Nargen Festival with music and opera productions, concerts and exhibitions during the summer. The festival is preceded by the Cyrillus Kreek Days in June and followed by the Arvo Pärt Days in September. He collaborates closely with the Baltic Sea Festival Stockholm.
Tõnu Kaljuste is a member of the Royal Music Academy of Sweden, recipient of the Japanese ABC Music Award and the Robert Edler Prize.
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