News & Reviews

ERSO Concert Series 2021/2022

June 27, 2021

In the season of 2021/2022, the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and Olari Elts, chief conductor of the orchestra, will be bringing to the audience seven concert series, including two brand new ones:

New: THE SONG OF THE EARTH
Forest, sea, and land – symphonic music inspired by preserving our planet.

New: AUDIO SPA will be focussed on relaxing music, the sounds of Walpurgis Night, and minimalism. The sounds of ERSO will bring peace of mind. Please note! The concerts will begin at 9 p.m.

MAESTRO
The maestros of the world of music in front of ERSO and grand pieces performed by ERSO.

HARMONY
An unforgettable experience of timeless classics.

ROMANTICISM
Great pieces of the Romantic era will be performed and we will also be celebrating ERSO’s jubilee and hosting the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra.

PIANO CONCERTO
The best pianists and beloved piano concertos.

SYMPHONIC LUNCHES
A lunch break that invigorates the mind. The Thursday lunch concerts will be bringing to the audience the best selection of the Friday night programme.

Each series consists of four concerts, only the day-time ‘Symphonic Lunches’ concert series consists of seven concerts. As has become customary, ERSO’s concerts often come with a pre-concert or a pre-concert discussion panel.
All concerts of the series will be performed in the Estonia Concert Hall.

Series tickets will go on sale publicly on 28 June, single tickets 15 August 2021.
Series ticket (four concerts): 74 € / 59 €*.
“Symphonic Lunches” series ticket (seven concerts): 35 €
Single tickets: 25 € / 18 €*.


With the opening concert ‘Echo of Lost Forests’ of the ‘Song of the Earth’ concert series, Olari Elts and ERSO will be focussing on the topic of forests. Martin Kuuskmann, an Estonian bassoon virtuoso residing in the United States, will we premièring Páll Ragnar Pálsson’s Bassoon Concerto which was commissioned by ERSO.

The ‘Sea Music’ concert is part of the extensive ‘Sea of Music’ project which brings together symphony orchestras from different Baltic Sea countries. The project was initiated by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, and the participants include the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra from Hamburg, Szczecini from Poland, and the Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra from Denmark, in addition to ERSO. All those orchestras wish to have a say in the increasingly concerning environmental issues, with the Baltic Sea being focussed on this season. The wonderful sea-themed programme was put together by Jun Märkl who is the Music Director of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra as of 2021, and also serves as the Artistic Adviser of the Taiwan Philharmonic, and as the Principal Guest Conductor of the Residentie Orchestra of the Hague.

The Dutch conductor Bas Wiegers will be bringing to the audience as the main piece of the ‘Firebird’ concert the music of Stravinsky’s fairytale ballet of the same name. The concert will begin with dances from the Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera’s ranch life-themed ballet ‘Estancia’, the Japanese composer Tôru Takemitsu’s ‘Nostalgia’ has been dedicated to the Russian film director Andrei Tarkovski, and Principal Violin Triin Ruubel-Lilleberg will be performing as a soloist in front of ERSO.

The final concert of the series will be organised in cooperation with the Estonian Music Days and bears the title ‘Different’, as it is always possible to think differently, act differently – and it is up to us what this different entails. Kaspar Mänd will be conducting both new and well-known works of Estonian composers.

I: ECHO OF LOST FORESTS
Fro, 28.01.2022 at 7 pm (pre-concert event at 6 pm)

Jean Sibelius. “The Wood Nymph” (“Skogsrået”)
Märt-Matis Lill. “Echo of Lost Forests” (“Kadunud metsade kaja”)
Páll Ragnar Pálsson. Bassoon Concerto (premiere)
Béla Bartók. Suite from “The Wooden Prince”
MARTIN KUUSKMANN bassoon
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor OLARI ELTS

II: SEA MUSIC
Fri, 4.02.2022 at 7 pm (pre-concert event at 6 pm)

Ester Mägi. Symphonic picture “The Sea” (“Meri”)
Eugen d’Albert. Cantata “The Little Mermaid” (Das Seejungfräulein”)
Toshio Hosokawa. “Circulating Ocean”
Maurice Ravel. “A Boat on the Ocean” (“Une barque sur l’ocean”) from “Mirrors” (“Miroirs”)
Claude Debussy. “The Sea” (“La mer”), three symphonic sketches
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor JUN MÄRKL

III: FIREBIRD
Fri, 8.04.2022 at 7 pm (pre-concert event at 6 pm)

Alberto Ginastera. Four Dances from “Estancia”
Tôru Takemitsu. “Nostalghia” (in memory of Andrei Tarkovsky)
Igor Stravinsky. “Firebird” (“L’oiseau de feu”)
TRIIN RUUBEL-LILLEBERG violin
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor BAS WIEGERS

IV: ESTONIAN MUSIC DAYS
Fri, 22.04.2022 at 7 pm (pre-concert event at 6 pm)
Jonas Tarm. New work (premiere)
Tõnis Kaumann. New work (premiere)
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor KASPAR MÄND

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The concert series which will be brought to life by Olari Elts, Chief Conductor of ERSO, will be awaiting the audiences a bit later than usual. The concerts will begin at 9 p.m.

The opening concert of the series, ‘Become Ocean’, will be combining the ocean theme into one whole as a metaphor. The music of two American composers, namesakes, and contemporaries will be heard. ‘The Dharma at Big Sur’ by John Adams (born in 1947), one of the most popular contemporary American composers, was written to celebrate the opening of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles in 2003. Big Sur is a strip of the coast with wondrous and rough cliff walls between Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara. In the words of the composer himself, the piece is meant to express the moment, the so-called shock of recognition of reaching the edge of the land mass of the continent. The piece was created for the American violinist and composer Tracy Silverman, who is dedicated to redefining the violin in contemporary music and to developing the six-string electric violin. The New Yorker has dubbed John Luther Adams (born in 1953) one of the most original musical thinkers of the new century. His music is inspired by nature, especially by the landscapes of his home of many years in Alaska. ERSO will be playing his piece ‘Become Ocean’, which won the Pulitzer prize for music in 2014.

The ‘Nocturanus’ concert is focussed on the galaxy and of the topic of the change from night to day, from dark to light. The pieces played include ‘Elongation of Nights’ by the Lithuanian younger generation composer Justė Janulytė, who is primarily focussing on monochrome music, and Tõnu Kõrvits’ ‘Nocturanus’ for the gongs, string instruments, and electronic instruments, the title of which consists of the words ‘nocturne’ or the song of the night, and ‘Uranus’.

On the Walpurgis Night, the audience will be crazed with numerous pieces inspired by this night and the series will be completed with Arvo Pärt’s Fourth Symphony, titled ‘Los Angeles’, which will be conducted by Neeme Järvi. Sharon Bezaly, who has been referred to as ‘the Paganini of the flute’, will be performing as a soloist in front of the orchestra.

I: BECOME OCEAN
Fri, 24.09.2021 at 9 pm (pre-concert event at 8 pm)
John Adams. “The Dharma at Big Sur” for electric violin and orchestra
John Luther Adams. “Become Ocean”
TRACY SILVERMAN electric violin
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor OLARI ELTS

II: NOCTURANUS
Fri, 1.04.2022 at 9 pm (pre-concert event at 8 pm)

Justė Janulytė. “Elongation of Nights” for 21 strings
Tõnu Kõrvits. “Nocturanus” for gongs, strings, and electronics
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor OLARI ELTS

III: WALPURGIS NIGHT
Sat, 30.04.2022 at 9 pm (pre-concert event at 8 pm)
Modest Mussorgski. “Night on the Bare Mountain”
Ondrej Adámek. “Polednice”
Rudolf Tobias. “Walpurg Burlesque” (arr. by Eduard Tubin)
Felix Mendelssohn. “The First Walpurgis Night”
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor OLARI ELTS

IV: JÄRVI & PÄRT
Fri, 6.05. 2022 at 9 pm (pre-concert event at 8 pm)

Arvo Pärt
Symphony No. 4 “Los Angeles”
SHARON BEZALY flute
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor NEEME JÄRVI

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The season will begin in the dance rhythm under the baton of the Chief Conductor Olari Elts, with the dances by Adams, Richard Strauss, and Rachmaninov for the symphony orchestra. The Finnish conductor Leif Segerstam will be combining great works of Sibelius and Tchaikovsky with his own newest symphony which is dedicated to the memory of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The concerts in November will be celebrating the 65th birthday of the beloved pianist Kalle Randalu – in two consecutive evenings, he will again be playing all of Beethoven’s five piano concertos with ERSO, the first three of which in the ‘Maestro’ concert series, which will be conducted by Juha Kangas.

The final concert of the series will be dedicated to the music of Dmitri Shostakovich. The cellist Alexander Ramm, who won the silver medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition in 2015, will be playing in front of ERSO. The orchestra will be conducted by one of the most renowned interpreters of Shostakovich, Michail Jurowski, who has been working as the Chief Conductor of the Semperoper Dresden, the Oper Leipzig, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, as well as the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne since emigrating from the Soviet Union in 1989. His career has been made special, however, by his personal relationship with Dmitri Shostakovich, including playing four-hand piano pieces together.

I: SEASON OPENING CONCERT. I Still Dance
Fri, 10.09.2021 at 7 pm (pre-concert event at 6 pm)

John Adams. “I Still Dance”
Justė Janulytė. “Apnea” for string orchestra
Richard Strauss. Suite from “The Knight of the Rose” (“Der Rosenkavalier”)
Elis Hallik. “Firehearted” (premiere)
Sergei Rachmaninov. “Symphonic Dances”
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor OLARI ELTS

II: SEGERSTAM & TCHAIKOVSKY
Fri, 15.10.2021 at 7 pm 

Leif Segerstam. Symphony No. 344 “Saluting a royal soul…”, bordercrossingly…
Jean Sibelius. Suite from “Pelléas et Mélisande” by Maeterlinck
Pyotr Tchaikovsky. “Manfred Symphony”
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor LEIF SEGERSTAM

III: RANDALU & BEETHOVEN I. Kalle Randalu 65
Thu, 11.11.2021 at 7 pm 

Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major
Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major
Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor
KALLE RANDALU piano
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor JUHA KANGAS

IV: JUROWSKI & SHOSTAKOVICH
Fri, 4.03.2022 at 7 pm
Dmitri Shostakovich
Cello Concerto No. 2 in G major
Symphony No. 11 (“1905“) in G minor
ALEXANDER RAMM cello
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor MICHAIL JUROWSKI

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In the opening concert of the series, ERSO and Olari Elts, Chief Conductor of the orchestra, will be bringing to the stage of the Estonia Concert Hall the hallmark works by Sibelius, as well as new pieces which are, however, also deeply rooted in traditions. ‘Composers are writing new layers of the story of music – even if their pieces are very directly connected to what has already been created,’ says Lotta Wennäkoski, a highly-regarded contemporary Finnish composer, referring to the title of the piece ‘Verdigris’ which has been influenced by Sibelius’ ‘En Saga’. Tõnu Kõrvits’ Trumpet Concerto will be premièred by ERSO’s Principal Trumpet Indrek Vau as the soloist. The young musicians from the Tallinn Music High School, which will be celebrating its 60th birthday this autumn, will also soon be writing new layers for the story of Estonian music.

We will be welcoming Leon Botstein, who was unable to travel to Estonia due to the restrictions last spring, to conduct ERSO for the first time. He is the Chief Conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra in New York and of the innovative Orchestra Now. Botstein works with numerous different orchestras worldwide and is the editor of the prestigious American music science magazine The Musical Quarterly. The concert will be held in cooperation with the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre.

Various ensembles of ERSO will be providing a colourful introspective into Czech music with the ‘Prague Serenade’ concert. The ‘Harmony’ concert series will be completed by the Final Concert of the Season’ by ERSO, and Olari Elts has decided to focus on the music by Johannes Brahms – the Violin Concerto and the Symphony No. 1. The opening piece of the concert, ‘Fantasy’ by the German composer Detlev Glanert, has also been directly influenced by Brahms’s 1st symphony.

I: ELTS & SIBELIUS. Tallinn Music High School 60
Fri, 22.10.2021 at 7 pm (pre-concert event at 6 pm)

Jean Sibelius. Tone poem “En Saga”
Tõnu Kõrvits. Trumpet Concerto (premiere)
Lotta Wennäkoski. “Verdigris”
Jean Sibelius. Symphony No. 5
INDREK VAU trumpet
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor OLARI ELTS

II: BOTSTEIN & DVOŘÁK
Fri, 11.02.2022 at 7 pm 
Edward Elgar. Overture “In the South” (“Alassio”)
Antonín Dvořák. Symphony No. 6
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Symphony Orchestra of the Estonian Music and Theatre Academy
Conductor LEON BOTSTEIN

III: PRAGUE SERENADE
Fri, 11.03.2022 at 7 pm

Josef Suk. Serenade for strings Op. 6
Antonín Dvořák. Serenade for strings, Op. 22
Leoš Janáček. Woodwind sextet “Youth” (“Mládí”)
ERSO Woodwind Sextet and ERSO String Orchestra
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra

IV: END OF THE SEASON CONCERT
Fri, 13.05.2022 at 7 pm
Detlev Glanert. “Brahms-Fantasie”
Johannes Brahms. Violin Concerto in D major
Johannes Brahms. Symphony No 1 in C minor
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor OLARI ELTS

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In the opening concert of the series, the representative orchestra of our southern neighbours with their brand new Principal Guest Conductor Kristiina Poska will be taking the stage. Poska will start her third season as the Chief Conductor of the Flanders Symphony Orchestra this autumn. The Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, the history of which has been quite similar to that of ERSO, has always been tightly connected to Estonian conductors: in the period from 1990 to 1994, Paul Mägi was their Chief Conductor and Artistic Director, in the period from 2001 to 2006, however, this post was held by Olari Elts, the current Chief Conductor of ERSO. The Latvian representative orchestra has been referred to as the National Orchestra since 1990 and their primary performance venue is in the historic building of the Great Guild Hall in Riga. They will be serving the audience in Tallinn Tchaikovsky’s ‘Pathétique’ and Khachaturyan’s Violin Concerto with the incredible Principal Violin of the orchestra, Georg Sarkisjan, who has won numerous international competitions and is mainly dividing his time between German and Latvian orchestras, performing as the soloist.

ERSO and the Estonian Public Broadcasting will be celebrating their 95th birthdays together in December. The history of ERSO actually began when public broadcasting was established in Estonia. For this occasion, the Chief Conductor and Artistic Director Olari Elts and the brilliant soloists of ERSO have planned something special and surprising.

In the ‘Winter Romance’ concert, the new Principal Cello of the orchestra, Indrek Leivategija, who has been working in Germany for many years, first in the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and then as the Co-Principal Cello of the Bamberg Symphony, will be performing as the soloist in front of ERSO. Andres Kaljuste will conduct Symphony No. 1 by Rachmaninov as the main piece of the concert. The opening piece and the pre-concert will be commemorating the composer Ester Mägi on what would have been her 100th birthday.

The ‘Fountains of Rome’ concert will bring to the stage in front of ERSO the conductor Giordano Bellincampi who was born in Rome but has spent most of his life in Denmark, and is currently working as the Chief Conductor of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. The Rome-themed concert, which was actually planned for last spring, will now be performed to the audience with a partly updated programme. ‘I am sure that each and every concert-goer in Tallinn will be able to travel back to Rome in their imagination at this concert or enjoy their first, scenic musical trip to the city,’ says the conductor. Leonardo Colafelice, a young pianist from Bari in Southern Italy, will be playing Piano Concerto No. 24 by Mozart.

BALTIC SYMPHONIC FESTIVAL: LATVIAN NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA & KRISTIINA POSKA
Sat, 30.10.2021 at 7 pm

Aram Khachaturyan. Violin Concerto in D minor
Pyotr Tchaikovsky. Symphony No. 6 “Pathétique”
GEORG SARKISJAN violin
Latvian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor KRISTIINA POSKA

ERSO 95
Fri, 10.12.2021 at 7 pm (pre-concert event at 6 pm)
ERSO soloists
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor OLARI ELTS

WINTER ROMANCE
Fri, 14.01.2022 at 7 pm (pre-concert event at 6 pm)

Ester Mägi. Symphony
Camille Saint-Saëns. Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor
Sergei Rachmaninov. Symphony No. 1 in D minor
INDREK LEIVATEGIJA cello
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor ANDRES KALJUSTE

FOUNTAINS OF ROME
Fri, 21.01.2022 at 7 pm

Franz Schubert. “Overture in the Italian Style” in C major
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K. 491
Ottorino Respighi. Symphonic poem “Fountains of Rome” (“Le Fontane di Roma”)
Ottorino Respighi. Symphonic poem “Pines of Rome” (“Pini di Roma”)
LEONARDO COLAFELICE piano
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor GIORDANO BELLINCAMPI

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The series will be opened by the winner of several international competitions, an Estonian pianist Maksim Shtshura, who has been residing in London for years and will be playing one of Gershwin’s best-known works – ‘Rhapsody in Blue’, which begins with an unforgettable clarinet solo. By his side, the conductor Jonathan Bloxham from the United Kingdom, who has already conducted prestigious European orchestras, will be taking the stage in front of ERSO for the first time. The concerts in November will be celebrating the 65th birthday of the beloved pianist Kalle Randalu – on two consecutive evenings, Randalu, ERSO, and the conductor Juha Kangas will be performing all five of Beethoven’s piano concertos with the last two being included in the ‘Piano Concerto’ series. Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 2 will be brought to the audience by the winner of the 73rd Geneva International Piano Competition and the latest silver medallist of the Tchaikovsky Competition, Dmitri Shishkin. The pianist was born in Chelyabinsk, resides in Switzerland, and is performing with the top Russian and European orchestras, giving concerts all over the world. Symphony No. 2 by Rachmaninov will be conducted by one of the most well-known Russian conductors, Vassily Sinaisky, who last took the stage in front of ERSO in the autumn of 2020 after years of absence. The series will be completed by the silver medallist of the Tchaikovsky Competition in 2007, Miroslav Kultyshev, with Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2, and by ERSO’s former Chief Conductor, Nikolai Alexeev, with the most powerful opus of Prokofiev’s oeuvre – Symphony No. 5.

I: DVOŘÁK & GERSHWIN
Fri, 17.09.2021 at 7 pm

Benjamin Britten. “Sinfonia da requiem”
George Gershwin. “Rhapsody in Blue”
Antonín Dvořák. Symphony No. 7 in D minor
MAKSIM SHTSHURA piano
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor JONATHAN BLOXHAM

II: RANDALU & BEETHOVEN II. Kalle Randalu 65
Fri, 12.11.2021 at 7 pm

Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major
Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major
KALLE RANDALU piano
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor JUHA KANGAS

III: SINAISKY & RACHMANINOV
Fri, 18.02.2022 at 7 pm

Camille Saint-Saëns. Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor
Sergei Rachmaninov. Symphony No. 2 in E minor
DMITRY SHISHKIN piano
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor VASSILY SINAISKY

IV: ALEXEEV & PROKOFIEV
Fri, 18.03.2022 at 7 pm

Sergei Rachmaninov. Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor
Sergei Prokofiev. Symphony No. 5 in B-flat major
MIROSLAV KULTYSHEV piano
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor NIKOLAI ALEXEEV

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A lunch break that invigorates the mind. The Thursday lunch concerts will be bringing to the audience the best selection of the Friday night programme.

SYMPHONIC LUNCH I. SEASON OPENING CONCERT
Thu, 9.09.2021 at 1 pm

John Adams. “I Still Dance”
Richard Strauss. Suite from “The Knight of the Rose” (“Der Rosenkavalier”)
Sergei Rachmaninov. “Symphonic Dances” (excerpt)
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor OLARI ELTS

SYMPHONIC LUNCH II. ELTS & SIBELIUS. Tallinn Music High School 60
Thu, 21.10.2021 at 1 pm

Jean Sibelius. Tone poem “En Saga”
Tõnu Kõrvits. Trumpet Concerto (premiere)
Jean Sibelius. Symphony No. 5 (1st Movement)
INDREK VAU trumpet
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor OLARI ELTS

SYMPHONIC LUNCH III. ERSO 95
Thu, 9.12.2021 at 1 pm

ERSO soloists
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor OLARI ELTS

SYMPHONIC LUNCH IV. WINTER ROMANCE
Thu, 13.01.2022 at 1 pm

Ester Mägi. “Kadenza and Theme” (“Kadents ja teema”; arr. by Rasmus Puur)
Saint-Saëns. Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor (excerpt)
Rahmaninov. Symphony No. 1 in D minor (excerpt)
INDREK LEIVATEGIJA cello
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor ANDRES KALJUSTE

SYMPHONIC LUNCH V. SEA MUSIC
Thu, 3.02.2022 at 1 pm

Ester Mägi. Symphonic picture “The Sea” (“Meri”)
Maurice Ravel. “A Boat on the Ocean” (“Une barque sur l’ocean”) from “Mirrors” (“Miroirs”)
Claude Debussy. “The Sea” (“La mer”), three symphonic sketches
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor JUN MÄRKL

SYMPHONIC LUNCH VI. FIREBIRD
Thu, 7.04.2022 at 1 pm

Tôru Takemitsu. “Nostalghia” (In Memory of Andrei Tarkovsky)
Igor Stravinsky. “Firebird” (“L’oiseau de feu”)
TRIIN RUUBEL-LILLEBERG violin
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor BAS WIEGERS

SYMPHONIC LUNCH VII. END OF THE SEASON CONCERT
Thu, 12.05.2022 at 1 pm

Detlev Glanert. “Brahms-Fantasie”
Johannes Brahms. Violin Concerto in D major (excerpt)
Johannes Brahms. Symphony No 1 in C minor (excerpt)
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Conductor OLARI ELTS

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