The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir

"Balance between the voices was sublime, as was the sense of phrasing and, crucially, space; timings were perfectly judged to let the sound fill and fade naturally in the acoustic."

- Kate Molleson, The Guardian

"Under Putnins direction, the choir sang with a shimmering, warm blend of voices and the pure tonal beauty that is their trademark sound." 

- George Grella, New York Classical Review

The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir

The Grammy Award-winning Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (EPCC) is one of the best-known Estonian music ensembles in the world. The EPCC was founded in 1981 by Tõnu Kaljuste who was the artistic director and chief conductor for twenty years. In the years 2001–2007, the English musician Paul Hillier took over and between the years 2008–2013 the artistic director and chief conductor was Daniel Reuss. Since 2014 Kaspars Putniņš has been the artistic director and chief conductor of the choir.

The repertoire of the choir extends from Gregorian chant and baroque to the music of the 21st century, with a special focus on the work of Estonian composers, such as Arvo Pärt, Veljo Tormis, Erkki-Sven Tüür, Galina Grigoryeva, Toivo Tulev, Tõnu Kõrvits, Helena Tulve, and introducing their output to the world. Each season the choir gives about 60-70 concerts both in Estonia and abroad.

The EPCC has cooperated with a number of outstanding conductors including Claudio Abbado, Helmuth Rilling, Eric Ericson, Ward Swingle, Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi, Nikolai Alekseyev, Olari Elts, Andrew Lawrence-King, Roland Böer, Frieder Bernius, Stephen Layton, Marc Minkowski, Christoph Poppen, Sir Colin Davis, Michael Riesman, Louis Langree, Paul McCreesh, Gottfried von der Goltz, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Gustavo Dudamel etc.

The EPCC has also worked with the following world-class orchestras such as the Norwegian, Australian, Lithuanian, Prague and Stuttgart Chamber Orchestras, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Berlin Rundfunk Orchestra, Concerto Copenhagen, Concerto Palatino, the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra, the Salzburg Camerata, Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble, the Philip Glass Ensemble, the North Netherland Symphony Orchestra, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Basel Chamber Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra.

Kaspars Putniņš

Artistic Director and Chief Conductor

Kaspars Putniņš started as artistic director and chief conductor of the EPCC in September 2014. He has been the conductor of the Latvian Radio Choir since 1992. In 1994, he formed the Latvian Radio Chamber Singers, an ensemble of soloists formed from the members of Latvian Radio Choir. He regularly appears as guest conductor with leading European choirs, such as the BBC Singers, RIAS Kammerchor, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Berliner Rundfunkchor, NDR Kammerchor, Netherlands Radio Choir, Collegium Vocale Gent, Flamish 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.

Kaspars Putniņš has also initiated several theatrical projects, which involve the participation of his 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 and the Latvian Council of Ministers Award for Achievements in Culture and Science.

Discography

Tõnu Kõrvits “Moorland Elegies” (2017, Ondine)

  • Moorland Elegies for mixed choir and string orchestra (2015)

  • EPCC, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra; Conductor Risto Joost

Tõnu Kõrvits “Mirror” (2016, ECM)

  • Anja Lechner – Violoncello, Kadri Voorand – Voice, Tõnu Kõrvits – Kantele

  • Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir; Conductor Tõnu Kaljuste

Galina Grigorjeva “Nature Morte” (2016, Ondine)

  • Works for Chamber Choir and Chamber Ensembles

  • EPCC, Theatre of Voices, YXUS Quartet; Conductor Paul Hillier; Recorder Conrad Steimnann

The EPCC recordings have twice won Grammy Awards, and have been nominated 15 times. Other awards include Gramophone Award, Diapason d’Or, and Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik.

For more info about EPCC recordings visit   https://www.epcc.ee/en/discography/.

A Selection of Programmes

“Estonian Music”

Mart Saar (1882–1963)               

  • Noore veljo, veeritage / Young Brethren, Sing! - 3’

  • Seitse sammeldanud sängi / Seven Moss-Grown Beds - 3’40

 Cyrillus Kreek (1889–1962)

  • Sirisege, sirbikesed / Sing, Sickles! – 4’

  • Lauliku omaksed / Singer’s Kinsfolk (male choir) – 2’

  • Talvine õhtu / Winter Evening        - 2’

 Veljo Tormis (1930)

– Jaanilaulud / St John’s Day Songs    - 15’

 Cyrillus Kreek

  • Psalm 22 - 4’30

  • Psalm 104 - 2’30

  • Õnnis on inimene / Blessed is the Man - 3’26

 Galina Grigorjeva (1962)

– Nox Vitae – 16’

 Arvo Pärt (1935)

  • Kaks slaavi psalmi / Two Slavonic Psalms   - 8’

  • Magnificat – 8’

“Nordic”

Arvo Pärt – Solfeggio

Pyotr Tchaikovsky – Excerpts from cycle 9 Sacred Choruses:

  • Cherubic Hymn, No 3

  • Blessed Are They, Whom Thou Hast Chosen, No 7

  • Now the Powers of Heaven, No 9

Arvo Pärt

  • Nunc dimittis

  • The Woman With Alabaster Box

  • Dopo la vittoria

 I n t e r m i s s i o n

Veljo Tormis – Towerbell in My Village

Jean Sibelius

  • Sydämeni laulu / Song Of My Heart (No 6 from cycle 6 Partsongs, Op 18)

  • Rakastava / The Lover

  • Saarella Palaa / Fire On the Island (No 4 from 6 Partsongs, Op 18)

Veljo Tormis – Curse Upon Iron

“Rachmaninov”

Sergei Rachmaninov (1873–1934) – Vespers op. 37 – 55’

“Russian Orthodox Music”

Alfred Schnittke – Three Sacred Hymns

Sergei Rachmaninov – The Theotokos, Ever-Vigilant in Prayer

Arvo Pärt

  • Magnificat

  • Da Pacem Domine

  • Nunc dimittis

  • Two Slavonic Psalms

Ivan Moody – Thy Fatherly Embrace

Georgy Sviridov – Inexpressible Miracle

Sergei Rachmaninov – We Hymn Thee, No 12 (from Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, Op 31)

“European Music”

Arvo Pärt  (1935)

  • Magnificat – 8’

  • Da Pacem Domine – 6’

  • Nunc dimittis – 7’

  • Kaks slaavi psalmi / Two Slavonic Psalms - 8’

Alfred Schnittke (1934–1998) – Three Sacred Hymns – 6’

Galina Grigorjeva (1962) – Nox Vitae – 16’

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