The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir is named by the BBC Music Magazine as one of the ten best choirs in the world.
“Little surprise that a nation famous for song – its independence from the USSR was preceded by a ‘Singing Revolution’ of massed voices in Tallinn in 1988 – should boast one of the world’s finest choirs,” the BBC Music Magazine said.
“Founded in 1981 by Tonu Kaljuste, who conducted it for 20 years before handing over the baton to Paul Hillier, the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir is wide-ranging in its repertoire, but is especially well known for its performances and recordings of Estonian composers such as Arvo Pärt and Veljo Tormis”.
The magazine chose the ten best choirs in the world. The Estonian choir is in the list with the Escolania de Montserrat (Catalonia, Spain), the Choir of King’s College (UK), the Mississippi Mass Choir (US), the St Paul’s Cathedral Choir (UK), the Sixteen (UK), the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square (US), the Tallis Scholars (UK), the Choir of Trinity College (UK) and the Vox Luminis (Belgium).
The repertoire of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir extends from the Gregorian chant and baroque to the music of the 21st century, with a special focus on the work of Estonian composers, such as Arvo Pärt, Veljo Tormis, Erkki-Sven Tüür, Galina Grigoryeva, Toivo Tulev, Tõnu Kõrvits, Helena Tulve, and introducing their output to the world. Each season the choir gives about 60–70 concerts both in Estonia and abroad.
The choir has also worked with many of the world-class orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Rundfunk Orchestra, Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble, the Philip Glass Ensemble, the Basel Chamber Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and many others.
The BBC Music Magazine is a monthly magazine that claims to be “the world’s best-selling classical music magazine”. It was founded in 1992 by BBC Worldwide, the commercial subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation.
Cover: The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir at the Arvo Pärt Centre in Estonia. Photo by Kaupo Kikkas.