The music scene in Estonia is varied and lively, as witnessed by approximately 2 million concert visits per year. The local music scene is characterised by a long tradition and great quality of choir singing, world-class composers, conductors and interpreters, as well as experienced concert and festival organisers.
Music has always been an important part of the Estonian national identity. The tradition of national song festivals, started in the 19th century, has had an impact on the music culture since the first festivals until today. Our large-scale song festivals and high level of the participating choirs is known and appreciated all around.
Despite the smallness of Estonia, the music has taken some rapid and rather long steps to get to the concert halls and stages all over the world.
This has largely been due to the contribution of renowned Estonian composers.
The composer Arvo Pärt is the most played modern composer in the world, and this also plays a role in the local music scene. The composer’s heritage is preserved and studied by the foundation SA Rahvusvaheline Arvo Pärdi Keskus (International Arvo Pärt Centre). In addition to Arvo Pärt we have several other internationally recognised composers, such as Erkki-Sven Tüür, Veljo Tormis and Helena Tulve.
2015 was the Year of Music
There is a tradition to nominate each year after an area of culture and the year 2015 was dedicated to music. It focused on children and youngsters, and was also the anniversary year for Arvo Pärt and Veljo Tormis.
Higher education in music can be acquired at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, as well as at Tallinn University. There are also two vocational education institutions – Georg Ots Tallinn Music School and Heino Eller Tartu Music School. Viljandi Culture Academy of the University of Tartu teaches jazz and folk music.
There are nearly 1,500 businesses and institutions and 5,800 people employed in the field of music.
The total revenue of the music business is 135 million euros.
There are approximately 2 million concert visits per year.
The field of music is governed by the following legislation: the Performing Arts Institutions Act, Copyright Act, and Creative Persons and Artistic Associations Act.
There are three state and three municipal concert organisations active in the field of music. The Estonian National Opera is a public body. The Estonian National Opera is the main promoter of Estonian musical theatre, with compositions, operas and ballets from Estonia and abroad in its repertoire.
The largest concert organiser is Eesti Kontsert, which also includes the Estonian National Male Choir and the early music group Hortus Musicus.
Eesti Kontsert manages four major concert halls in Estonia: the concert halls of the Estonia Theatre and Theatre Vanemuine as well as halls in Pärnu and Jõhvi. In 2011, St. John’s Church was reopened in Saint Petersburg and now also serves as a music venue for Eesti Kontsert.
As Eesti Kontsert is active in all the regions, the availability of professional music is guaranteed to the people all over the country. The Estonian music scene is also enriched by strong traditional musical theatres both in Tallinn and Tartu.
Estonian Music Council
A non-profit organisation uniting 50 Estonian music institutions and professional musicians.
Estonian Music Information Centre
The main objective of the Centre is to introduce and promote Estonian classical music both at home and abroad by collecting and spreading information on Estonian composers and their work, music organisations and events, interpreters and groups.
International Arvo Pärt Centre
The Centre was founded in 2010 by Arvo Pärt and his family to create opportunities for the preservation and study of the composer’s creative legacy in his Estonian homeland in his mother tongue.