News & Reviews

ENSO’s US Concert Tour Part of Program to Celebrate Centennial of Republic of Estonia

January 12, 2018

Shortly before the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia, which takes place on February 24, 2018, ENSO will embark on its third concert tour in the United States. The aim of the tour is to introduce Estonia and Estonian culture, to emphasize the importance of independence and to strengthen the relationship between the United States and the Republic of Estonia. The seven concerts of the tour, starting in Florida and ending in California, will take place between January 27 and February 7 with concerts in St. Augustine, West Palm Beach (Florida), Mason City, Ames (Iowa), Ann Arbor (Michigan), Palm Desert and Aliso Viejo (California). One of the central concerts of the tour will be performed on February 3 at Ann Arbor, Michigan. From 1990 to 2005, the current Principal Conductor of ENSO, Neeme Järvi, worked as the Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in Michigan and was made an honorary citizen of Michigan in 1991.

The celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia are a grand undertaking, which brings together the entire Estonian nation both in Estonia and elsewhere, with an extensive and varied cultural program.  (More information from the website “A Hundred Years of the Republic of Estonia”.) For the representative orchestra of Estonia this means a busy schedule of tours outside Estonia in addition to concerts at home, in the ‘Estonia’ Concert Hall.

Concerts in the United States will be conducted by Neeme Järvi and Arvo Volmer, ENSO’s current and former principal conductors, respectively. In February Maestro Neeme Järvi is invited to conduct at the Konzerthaus Berlin. As a true patriot of Estonia, he decided to bring to the renowned concert stage Estonia’s first oratorio, Jonah’s Mission by Rudolf Tobias, performed by the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and a host of others. In March, ENSO and the Estonian National Male Choir will go on their first joint concert tour outside Estonia with the Finnish conductor Leif Segerstam. After visiting China last season, the performance at the final concert of the prestigious Hong Kong Music Festival poses an entirely new challenge for the orchestra. ENSO will perform in Georgia and Armenia in the summer and at the Sibelius Festival in Lahti in September.

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The ESTONIAN NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA (ENSO; known in Estonian as Eesti Riiklik Sümfooniaorkester or ERSO) is the longest continually operating professional orchestra of its kind in the country. The orchestra’s history dates back to 1926 and, like that of many other world orchestras, is connected to the birth of national broadcasting. Since 2010, it has been led by Principal Conductor and Artistic Director Neeme Järvi, who was also awarded the title Honorary Artistic Director for Life in 2017.

The orchestra performs with renowned conductors and soloists from around the world, naturally including Estonian musicians of the highest caliber. Its recordings on CD (Chandos, BIS, Erato, Harmonia Mundi, ECM, Virgin Classics, ERP, etc.) demonstrate a quality recognized by many prestigious music magazines, having won several prizes, including a Grammy Award. In addition to broadcast performances on Estonian Public Broadcasting, ENSO has also been aired on the Mezzo television channel. The orchestra’s home venue is the ‘Estonia’ Concert Hall in Tallinn, but it has also undertaken more than fifty concert tours, most notably three-week tours of Italy in 2003, the USA in 2009, 2013, and 2018, China in 2016, and Hong Kong in 2018. In addition, ENSO has regularly given concerts in European and Scandinavian countries, appearing at many prestigious festivals in Köln, New York, Verona, Genoa, Munich, Stockholm and others.

With a repertoire ranging from the Baroque period to the present, the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra has also given premiere performances of symphonic works by almost every Estonian composer, including Arvo Pärt, Erkki-Sven Tüür, Eduard Tubin, Eino Tamberg, Jaan Rääts, Lepo Sumera, Tõnu Kõrvits and Helena Tulve, often being the first to do so.

 

Conductors and soloists in the USA

The head of a musical dynasty, NEEME JÄRVI is one of today’s most highly respected maestros.  He conducts the world’s most prominent orchestras and works alongside soloists of the highest caliber. A prolific recording artist, he has amassed a discography of approximately 650 recordings.

Over his long and highly successful career he has held positions with orchestras across the world.  Last season he took up his tenure as Artistic and Music Director of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.  He is also currently Artistic Director of the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Emeritus of both the Residentie Orkest, The Hague, The Netherlands and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He also holds the titles of Principal Conductor Emeritus of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Conductor Laureate of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

Neeme Järvi’s cooperation with ENSO began in 1956; in 1963 he became the principal conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of Estonian Radio (the present Estonian National Symphony Orchestra). Neeme Järvi’s arrival brought about a considerable improvement and stabilization in the quality of the orchestra’s performance. The repertoire of the orchestra broadened considerably. Neeme Järvi’s reunion with ENSO after his emigration to the US early in 1980 happened in 1993; two years later he took the orchestra and Tobias’ oratorio Jonah’s Mission to Gothenburg, Stockholm, Malmö and Helsinki. From the 2010/11 season he has been the Artistic Director of ENSO again, he has also held the title Honorary Artistic Director for Life since 2017.

Neeme Järvi has been one of the most active promoters of Estonian music in the world.

ARVO VOLMER is widely acclaimed for his powerful performances in both opera and concert halls. Particularly well-known are his interpretations of Mahler and Sibelius, German, Nordic and Russian composers and contemporary music. He has been the long-time principal conductor and artistic director of the Estonian National Opera, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and the Oulu Sinfonia. He has worked with ENSO for 30 years: from 1993 to 2001 as its principal conductor. From the 2014/15 season he has been working as the principal conductor of the Haydn Orchestra of Bolzano and Trento in northern Italy.

A major thread running through the cooperation between Volmer and ENSO was performing Eduard Tobin’s symphonic music and later its recording for Alba Records for which he received the Cultural Award of the Republic of Estonia.

His most essential performances with ENSO abroad include a concert at Europamusicale festival in Munich, where they played works by Heino Eller, Eduard Tubin, Arvo Pärt and Erkki-Sven Tüür (1993), a concert at Musiksommer festival in Gstaad (1997), extensive concert tours in Germany (1996 and 2000), concerts in Riga and Vilnius (2000) and ENSO’s first concert at the Baltic Sea Festival in Stockholm (2005).

TRIIN RUUBEL (violin), leader of ENSO, has gained recognition as an energetic leader of the orchestra as well as a violin virtuoso. She debuted as a soloist with ENSO at the opening concert of the 2015/16 season, performing the Violin Concerto by Sibelius under the baton of Neeme Järvi. She has also performed as a soloist with other orchestras both Estonian and international. Ruubel is a member of various chamber ensembles and teaches at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre.

 

 

Benjamin Beilman.

BENJAMIN BEILMAN (violin) is recognized as one of the fastest rising stars of his generation, winning praise both for his passionate performances and deep rich tone, which the Washington Post has called “mightily impressive,” and The New York Times described as “muscular with a glint of violence.” The Times also praised his “handsome technique, burnished sound, and quiet confidence which showed why he has come so far so fast.” Following his First Prize win at the Montreal Competition, the Strad described his performance of the Sibelius Violin Concerto as “pure poetry.”

Garrick Ohlsson. © Dario Acosta.

GARRICK OHLSSON (piano) – since his triumph as winner of the 1970 Chopin International Piano Competition, Garrick Ohlsson has established himself worldwide as a musician of magisterial interpretive and technical prowess.


Concerts in the USA

January 27, 2018, St. Augustine, Florida: Lewis Auditorium – Flagler College
Arvo Pärt. Fratres
Felix Mendelssohn. Violin Concerto in E minor
Antonín Dvořák. Symphony No 7 in D minor
TRIIN RUUBEL violin, ENSO, conductor ARVO VOLMER

January 29, 2018 West Palm Beach, Florida: Kravis Center for the Performing Arts
Heino Eller. Homeland Tune
Johannes Brahms. Piano Concerto No 1 in D minor
Jean Sibelius. Symphony No 3 in C major
GARRICK OHLSSON piano, ENSO, conductor NEEME JÄRVI

January 31, 2018, Mason City, Iowa: North Iowa Community Auditorium
Arvo Pärt. Fratres
Felix Mendelssohn. Violin Concerto in E minor
Antonín Dvořák. Symphony No 7 in D minor
TRIIN RUUBEL violin, ENSO, conductor  ARVO VOLMER

February 1, 2018, Ames, Iowa: Stephens Auditorium
Arvo Pärt. Fratres
Felix Mendelssohn. Violin Concerto in E minor
Antonín Dvořák. Symphony No 7 in D minor
TRIIN RUUBEL violin, ENSO, conductor ARVO VOLMER

February 3, 2018, Ann Arbor, Michigan: Hill Auditorium
Heino Eller. Homeland Tune
Johannes Brahms. Piano Concerto No 1 in D minor
Eduard Tubin. Symphony No 5 in B minor
GARRICK OHLSSON piano, ENSO, conductor NEEME JÄRVI

February 6, 2018, Palm Desert, California: Palm Springs Friends Of Philharmonic
Arvo Pärt. Fratres
Felix Mendelssohn. Violin Concerto in E minor
Jean Sibelius. Symphony No 3 in C major
BENJAMIN BEILMAN violin, ENSO, conductor ARVO VOLMER

February 7, 2018, Aliso Viejo, California: Soka Performing Arts Hall
Heino Eller. Homeland Tune
Felix Mendelssohn. Violin Concerto in E minor
Antonín Dvořák. Symphony No 7 in D minao
BENJAMIN BEILMAN violin, ENSO, conductor ARVO VOLMER

The tour is organised by Opus 3 Artists and ENSO