Voces Musicales releases an album of American and Estonian choral music

Voces Musicales, an Estonian chamber choir, has collaborated with conductor David Puderbaugh and released an album of contemporary pearls of American and Estonian choral music through a US record label, MSR Classics.

The new album, “A Black Birch in Winter”, brings together choral songs by young Estonian and American composers, such as Gregory W. Brown, Kile Smith, Evelin Seppar, Maria Kõrvits and Pärt Uusberg.

The recording was conducted by David Puderbaugh – an American conductor, who first came to Estonia in 2004 for his doctoral dissertation, thanks to Fulbright Scholarship. He soon joined the Voces Musicales choir as a singer and has since returned to Estonia numerous times in the following years to perform with the choir – not only as a singer but as a conductor. Puderbaugh seeks to bring Estonia’s vast choral treasury to the United States through performance and the creation of performing and critical editions.

A symbolic album

“The album is symbolic of the long relationship between Puderbaugh and Voces Musicales – an American conductor and an Estonian choir collaborating on a recording of recent choral music of the two nations,” the choir said in a statement. “It is also emblematic of the primary goal of the Fulbright programme – to increase mutual understanding between the people of the US and the people of other countries – which initially brought this conductor and choir together.”

Although Puderbaugh is currently residing in the US – where he is an assistant director of choral activities at the University of Iowa – his current focus centres on Estonian choral music. That interest has resulted in a dissertation research on Estonia’s national song festivals during the Soviet occupation. He also served as a consultant for the educational DVD release of the documentary film, “The Singing Revolution” (2006) as well as for the making of its sequel, “To Breathe as One” (2014).

Celebrating 20 years

The chamber choir Voces Musicales, founded in 1999 by Risto Joost, has a unique place in Estonian musical life, presenting works that are seldom performed due to their difficulty.

The choir achieved success in its early seasons, receiving awards in several competitions, including the second prize at the Harald Andersén Chamber Choir Competition in 2009. In 2014, the choir was a finalist at the London International A Cappella Choir Competition.

The choir has participated in various thematic concert series and festivals, and has had concerts in Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Russia, Slovakia and the United Kingdom.

Cover: Voces Musicales. Images by Mait Jüriado.