Festival “Practical Spirituality”

Who are we? What is existence? Do we use our time to create something real? What is real?

Such questions will be raised by Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and conductor Kristjan Järvi at the festival “Practical Spirituality”. The task of the festival is to ask the questions we do not often ask ourselves in daily life. This is a discussion with ourselves and society.

Charismatic Kristjan Järvi, an exciting repertoire and soloists for the first time in Estonia – Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson, and German composer, producer, arranger and electronic musician Sven Helbig – will guarantee the festival a fresh spirit and energy. “Practical Spirituality” combines contemporary pop and classical music. “We bring something that is part of the culture of the world, but which has not reached us before,” says Järvi.

Festival passes (€ 55 / € 40) are on sale until 1 May 2018 (to get your pass you must first buy a voucher with a code, which you can then use to redeem the four festival concert tickets).

Friday 18 May 2018 at 7 pm, Estonia Concert Hall
Víkingur Ólafsson 
piano, ENSO, conductor Kristjan Järvi
John Adams’s piano concerto will be performed by Víkingur Ólafsson, whom the New York Times has called the Icelandic Glenn Gould. Kristjan Järvi: “This is a work with a number of versatile interpretations. Century Rolls – one century rolls into the next, and the development of the piano from harpsichord to synthesiser is reflected in all of the intermediary stages.” Max Richter’s Infra, which is like “the emergence of order from chaos, like the awakening of spring,” according to the conductor. READ MORE

Sunday 20 May 2018 at 7 pm, Estonia Concert Hall
Víkingur Ólafsson 
piano and ENSO chamber ensembles
We have both Estonian and Icelandic musicians and music on stage. Iceland and Estonia are two small Nordic nations that are closely linked to each other – Iceland was the first country to recognise Estonia’s independence in 1991. Geographically, however, we are very different, being, as Järvi said, “on completely different ends of the Nordic region. Iceland is also a nation of the Baltic Sea and it too received its independence a century ago. In 1918, Denmark recognised Iceland as a sovereign but independent country within the Kingdom of Denmark. Iceland finally achieved full independence following World War II. READ MORE

Tuesday 22 May 2018 at 7 pm, Tallinn Creative Hub
Sven Helbig 
electronics, Voces Musicales, conductor Kristjan Järvi
Helbig’s I Eat the Sun and Drink the Rain is about the relations between people and nature, culminating in the end of the machine age. The piece is for choir and electronics, and this is the only concert in which ERSO will not be involved, though the Voces Musicales chamber choir will perform instead. READ MORE

Thursday 24 May 2018 at 7 pm, Estonia Concert Hall
Sven Helbig 
electronics, Voces Musicales, conductor Kristjan Järvi
“One of the best and most interesting contemporary German composers, Sven Helbig, is included in the same programme as Wagner. It is worth noting that Wagner’s goal was the Gesamtkunstwerk. I try to achieve something similar, but the tools are more contemporary – I bring together a symphony orchestra, lasers, electronics…” (Kristjan Järvi). Helbig’s Pocket Symphonies is a cycle of a dozen pieces of around three minutes long, where the composer has attempted to compress the complexity and depth of the classical symphony into the more compact song form, with a large orchestra accompanied by electronics. READ MORE


On 19 May, at 6.00 p.m., the audience is welcomed at Sõprus Cinema instead of a concert hall for the screening of the film Embrace of the Serpent (directed by Ciro Guerra). This visually hypnotic story of man, nature, and the destructive force of colonialism takes the audience straight to the tropical heart of the Amazon.

On 20 May, before the concert FROM ICE TO EST, at 6.00 p.m., the festival guests are welcomed to a musical meditation that teaches them to listen to music in a more consciously present state so that any concert becomes a more intense experience and a greater source of pleasure. The meditation is led by ENSO’s violinist and Kundalini yoga teacher Miina Laanesaar. READ MORE

On 21 May, at 6.00 p.m., a pop-up concert will take place at Telliskivi Reval Café. ENSO’s string quartet and Sven Helbig perform Helbig’s short Pocket Symphonies, which will be played by a symphonic orchestra at the Estonia Concert Hall a few days later. The pop-up concert in the café is hosted and moderated by the conductor Kristjan Järvi.