COMPOSER-IN-RESIDENCE 2016

Erkki-Sven Tüür

As a composer, Tüür wishes for his music to raise existential questions. "What is our mission? It is the main question asked by thinkers and philosophers from different cultures. One of my goals is to reach the creative energy of the listener. Music as an abstract form of art is able to create different visions for each of us, for each and every individual being, as we are all unique."


Erkki-Sven Tüür started his musical activity in the second half of the seventies as a leader of a progressive rock band. In the second half of the eighties he entered Estonian musical life as a professional composer. Erkki-Sven Tüür studied percussion and flute at the Tallinn Georg Ots Music High composition with Prof. Jaan Rääts at the Tallinn Conservatoire. He also took private lessons from Prof. Lepo Sumera in Tallinn and developed his skills in the field of electronic music in Karlsruhe. In 1979, Tüür founded the progressive rock ensemble In Spe, where he was engaged as composer, flautist, keyboardist and vocalist until 1983. Tüür worked as an adviser at the Estonian Composers’ Union and musical director of the Vanalinnastuudio Theatre From 1989–1992, he taught composition at the Estonian Academy of Music .


Since 1992, Tüür is a freelance composer, his works are primarily commissioned by world-renowned performers and are frequently premiered abroad before reaching the audience in home. His music is being played regularly by symphony orchestras worldwide in prestigious concert halls. Tüür also closely collaborates with Estonian musicians, including the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, the YXUS Ensemble (formerly known as the NYYD Ensemble), the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, and many others.


His breakthrough work was 1989’s Insula deserta, which, after its Finnish premiere by the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra conducted by Juha Kangas, was followed by many commissions from Finland and other countries. From 1991 to 2011, Erkki-Sven Tüür was one of the artistic directors of the International New Music Festival NYYD, he also holds an honorary doctorate from the Estonian Academy of Music. In 2009, Erkki-Sven Tüür received the title of Citizen of the Year. In 2014, Tüür was awarded the Culture Prize of the Republic of Estonia for his Clarinet Concerto Peregrinus ecstaticus and the orchestral work De Profundis.

Retrospective - Composers

Thomas Adès, Great Britain
Gustavo Beytelmann, Argentina
Chen Yi, China
Sofia Gubaidulina, Russia
John Harbison, USA
David Philip Hefti, Switzerland
Olli Mustonen, Finland
Matthias Pintscher, Germany
Helmut Oehring, Germany
Torsten Rasch, Germany
Wolfgang Rihm, Germany
Esa-Pekka Salonen, Finland
Iris ter Schiphorst, Germany
Steffen Schleiermacher, Germany
Daniel Schnyder, Switzerland
Steven Stucky, USA
Mark-Anthony Turnage, Great Britain
Erkki-Sven Tüür, Estonia
Jörg Widmann, Germany
Zhou Long, China

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