The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir launches a web channel

The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, considered one of the best choirs in the world, has launched its own web channel that highlights performances from the past and will feature live-streamed concerts in the future.

The famed choir, named by the BBC Music Magazine as one of the ten best choirs in the world, has launched its new web channel called EPCC.TV.

The first live-streamed concert on the new channel, “Eyes of the Beholder”, will be performed as part of the Baltic Music Days / the Estonian Music Days festival at the Estonia Concert Hall on 30 April, at 7 PM EEST (5 PM BST / 12 EDT).

Digital concert hall

“EPCC.TV is the digital concert hall of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir – an online platform that enables to watch live streams of our concerts and offers a selection of previous performances, valuable broadcasts, interviews as well as glimpses of backstage and making of music,” the communication manager of the choir, Anneli Ivaste, told Estonian World.

“The new channel presents many valuable videos about the activity of the choir. For example, there are rare archive materials introducing the Estonian great choral master, Veljo Tormis, whose authentic and unique compositions based on the ancient folk songs of Estonian and other Finnic peoples have become a source of endless inspiration for many Estonian and world choirs,” she said.

The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir in front of the Estonian Open Air Museum in Tallinn. Photo by Rene Jakobson.

Many other works by Estonian composers, such as Erkki-Sven Tüür, Arvo Pärt, Galina Grigorjeva, Ülo Krigul, Mart Saar, Margo Kõlar and Märt-Matis Lill, are highlighted. The channel – free of charge to use – also features a concert that took place in honour of Queen Elizabeth II when she visited Estonia in 2006.

Communicating with the choir’s listeners

Ivaste said the purpose of creating the continuously expanding online video platform was to communicate with the choir’s listeners from all over the world and to offer its audience the possibility to be entertained by musical performances, provided with studio-quality audio alongside a crystal-clear video stream. Some video clips also look behind the scenes of the globetrotting choir’s everyday life.

The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir in front of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Photo by Tõnu Tormis.

The first live-streamed concert on the channel, “Eyes of the Beholder”, will be performed by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and soloists under the baton of young conductor Mihhail Gerts. They concert will feature a chamber opus written by Mariliis Valkonen; an overture-like composition by Kristjan Kõrver; music by Malle Maltis combining symphonic orchestra with electronics; pieces for chamber choir and symphonic orchestra by Evelin Seppar and Alisson Kruusmaa; and contemporary Latvian and Lithuanian music.

Founded by Tõnu Kaljuste

The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir was founded in 1981 by conductor Tõnu Kaljuste. The repertoire of the 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.

The choir has won the Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance twice – in 2007 with Arvo Pärt’s Da Pacem and in 2014 with Pärt’s Adam’s Lament (the latter was shared with Tui Hirv, Rainer Vilu, Sinfonietta Riga, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Latvian Radio Choir and Vox Clamantis).

The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir in front of the Sydney Opera House. Photo by Tõnu Tormis.

The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber 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.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic imposed travel restrictions around the world, the choir gave about 60–70 concerts both in Estonia and abroad during each concert season. This summer, the choir is hoping to start performing abroad again – in Europe, at least.

Cover: The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir. Photo by Kaupo Kikkas.

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