Tallinn designated as a UNESCO City of Music

The Estonian capital, Tallinn, will bear the title of a UNESCO City of Music from 2022.

The director-general of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, on 8 November announced 49 new cities that were designated as members of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. Among them is Tallinn, which will bear the title of a UNESCO City of Music from 2022.

In addition to Tallinn, the newly designated Cities of Music include Abu Dhabi (the United Arab Emirates), Batumi (Georgia), Belfast (Ireland), Huancayo (Peru), Ibagué (Colombia), Kharkiv (Ukraine), London (Canada), Port Louis (Mauritius), Recife (Brazil), Santiago de Cuba (Cuba) and Xalapa (Mexico).

Tartu and Viljandi already UNESCO Creative Cities

The UNESCO Network of Creative Cities was launched in 2004 with the aim of highlighting the role of culture and creativity in the sustainable urban development. There are seven categories in the network: crafts and folk art, design, film, gastronomy, literature, media arts and music.

One city can belong to only one category and the membership title of the network is permanent. From Estonia, Tartu (Literature) and Viljandi (Crafts and Folk Art) have previously been designated as UNESCO Creative Cities.

UNESCO – the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – is a specialised agency of the United Nations aimed at promoting world peace and security through international cooperation in education, the arts, the sciences, and culture.

Singers of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir walking in Tallinn’s Pikk street. Photo by the EPCC.

Great significance

Tõnu Kaljuste, an Estonian conductor, said in a statement that “this is not only great news to musicians, but is of great significance for the entire city”.

“Every so often, colleagues from around the world ask me how we have managed to create such a lively and high-level music life in Tallinn. I hardly think much about these things when I make music myself – I am simply looking for new and exciting opportunities in this endlessly rich world of music,” the maestro said.

“I believe that any international recognition is a small dose of praise for every musician, giving both delight of the heart and strength for the future. I hope that it will have the same effect on the city in which we live, play and sing. The UNESCO City of Music is a high recognition, congratulations to us all!”

Cover: Estonian Song Festival Grounds in Tallinn. Photo by Aivar Pihelgas.

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