Five Estonian summer concerts to keep an eye on

The summer is full of events and concerts in Estonia. If you are visiting the country and only have a limited time, then has made it easier to choose from by listing a number of must-attend events.

Compiled by Katrin Tombak


19 July – The final concert of the Pärnu Music Festival

Photo credits: Julia Wesely /

The Pärnu festival orchestra will perform, uniting young Estonian and foreign musicians who have come together at the Järvi Academy. The programme includes Arvo Pärt, Ludwig van Beethoven, Dmitry Shoshtakovich. The conductor is Paavo Järvi, who has focused on the latter two and also introduces Estonian composers in the world. The soloist is the Georgian pianist Khatia Buniatishvili, who recently performed with Paavo Järvi and the Orchestre de Paris in the new concert hall of the Paris Philharmonics.

24 July and 26 July – Mari Kalkun at Viljandi Folk

Mari Kalkun

Even those who feel they are not quite the target audience of the Viljandi Folk Music Festival, may attend just one concert – Mari Kalkun and RunorunMari Kalkun’s warm voice and stage presence bring old folklore closer, Runorun will add a new nuance. Finnish and Estonian kannels, double bass in its jazzy softness or conversely, alienating sound, drums – this composition can be both meek and wild. They sing in the Võru dialect, or in the extinct Livonian and Votic languages in a completely cool way!

7-12 August Nativity Words at the Noblessner Foundry, the performance made for Veljo Tormis music


The best of the best are here: Tõnu Kaljuste, the Estonian National Male Choir, the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, the Von Krahl Theatre, Peeter Jalakas. Perhaps history will be made as happened during the performance of Tormis’ Estonian Ballads in 2004.

14-16 August  Pühalepa Music Festival in Hiiumaa

A special focus is on the music of Erkki-Sven Tüür, with top performers. Last year, for example, the performers included the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Collegium Musicale. The concerts are held at Pühalepa church, a venue with excellent acoustics. The programme is not complete yet, but it’s worth keeping an eye on. Tüür’s music intrigues you until you will love it. Tüür on his home island – also intriguing!

Erkki-Sven Tüür

At the end of August, music lovers should head for cinema, because the Arvo Pärt Centre will hold their annual Arvo Pärt film evenings, where films featuring Arvo Pärt’s music are selected by subject or genre. There will be introductions by specialists, conversations with the authors or participants.

2-11 September – Pärt Days concerts

The Pärt Days concerts will be held in Tallinn, Rakvere, Paide and Tartu, and on 26 September in Riga. The programme is really worth consideration. A simple advice is to choose a somewhat less known work in a smaller venue like St. Nicholas Church or St. Olaf’s Church, or other towns. The quality is top notch anyway!


Cover: The Estonian National Male Choir/Photo by Jaan Krivel.

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