The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir


The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir is one of the most famous music groups in the world. The choir was founded in 1981 by Tõnu Kaljuste. He also served as artistic director for twenty years. His work was continued by Paul Hillier (2001-2007) and Daniel Reuss (2008-2013). Since 2014, the artistic director of the choir is Kaspars Putniņš.

The choir performed at the Lux Musicae Festival with Daniel Reuss in 2009. Now the singing Estonians will perform again in Siuntio! This is the year while the Estonian Song Festival has celebrated its 150th anniversary, too.

There is a very special place in the program for works by Estonian composers. Arvo Pärt, Veljo Tormis, Erkki-Sven Tüür, Galina Grigorjeva, Toivo Tulev, Tõnu Kõrvits, Helena Tulve. Pärt’s music is also heard at the 20th Lux Musicae.

The EPCC has cooperated with many outstanding conductors and orchestras including Claudio Abbado, Helmuth Rilling, Eric Ericson, Peter Phillips, Marc Minkowski, Sir Colin Davis, Gustavo Dudamel, Richard Tognetti etc. Besides the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra the EPCC has worked with the London Symphony Orchestra, Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble, the Philip Glass Ensemble, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Australian Chamber Orchestra etc. 

Concert tours have taken the EPCC everywhere in Europe, as well as to Australia, Mexico, China, South Korea, Japan and the USA. The choir has been a welcome guest at outstanding music festivals and venues including the BBC Proms, Mozartwoche, Festival Aix-en-Provence, the Sydney Opera House, Wiener Konzerthaus, the Barbican Centre, Carnegie Hall, the Walt Disney Concert Hall etc.

Another important aspect is recording music for labels such as ECM, Virgin Classics, Carus, Harmonia Mundi and Ondine. The choir has won the Grammy Award twice and has received 15 Grammy nominations. Other awards include the Gramophone Award, the Diapason d’Or, Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik etc.

About Kaspars Putniņš, Conductor :

Kaspars Putniņš started as an artistic director and chief conductor of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir in the season 2014/2015. He has been the conductor of the Latvian Radio Choir since 1992. He regularly appears as a guest conductor with leading European choirs such as RIAS Kammerchor, NDR Chor, Collegium Vocale Gent, the Swedish Radio Choir and others.

Whilst Kaspars Putniņš work encompasses a wide range of choral repertoire from Renaissance polyphony to works of the Romantic period, his foremost goal has always been that of promoting new outstanding choral music. This new repertoire challenges and develops the abilities of his performers and takes their vocal sound to entirely uncharted territories. 

His discography includes recordings with the Latvian Radio Choir, the Flemish Radio Choir and others. In 2018 the album of works by Schnittke (Psalms of Repentance) and Pärt (Magnificat & Nunc dimittis) recorded with the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir won the Gramophone Award.

Kaspars Putniņš has also initiated several theatrical projects, which involve the participation of the choir, in collaboration with visual and theatre artists. He often lectures and gives master classes internationally.

Kaspars Putniņš is the recipient of the Latvian Music Grand Prix (1998), the Latvian Council of Ministers Award for Achievements in Culture and Science (2000) and the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, 4th Class, by the Estonian President (2019).

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Photo: Kaupo Kikkas