Tallinn Chamber Orchestra
• Founded 1960
Often appears with
The Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, in Estonian the Tallinna Kammerorkester, has been a fixture of the audiophile recordings of music by contemporary Estonian composers released by ECM and other labels. The group has often performed and recorded with the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir in music by Arvo Pärt and other figures in the minimalist style. Yet its repertoire covers a wide range of music and extends back to the Renaissance era.
The Tallinn Chamber Orchestra was founded in April of 1993 by conductor Tõnu Kaljuste, growing out of a Tallinn Conservatory String Orchestra that had been established by Jüri Gerretz four years earlier. Kaljuste was succeeded as conductor by Juha Kangas, Eri Klas, and, since 2013, Risto Joost. The orchestra's players are drawn from the top ranks of Estonian musicians, and the group has given concerts at its home base, the Tallinn Philharmonic concert hall; around Estonia; at a variety of European festivals; and on tour in the U.S., Europe, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Japan, and China. Guest conductors over the years have included Jaakko Kuusisto, Neeme Järvi, Kristjan Järvi, John Storgårds, Pietari Inkinen, Richard Tognetti, Terje Tønnesen, Alexander Rudin, Florian Donderer, and Dmitri Sitkovetsky.
Outside Estonia, the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra may be best known for its large catalog of high-quality recordings, beginning with its internationally acclaimed reading of Pärt's Te Deum on ECM in 1993. Since then the group has recorded for ECM, Carus, BIS, Estonian Record Productions, Warner Classics (in 2014, with Roxanna Panufnik's Tallinn Mass), and, as of 2017, Ondine, with a recording of Tõnu Kõrvits' Moorland Elegies. The latter recording, as well as several others from the group's catalog, featured the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir. The Tallinn Chamber Orchestra's recorded output has hardly been limited to contemporary music; the ensemble has recorded (again with the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir) masses and vespers settings of Vivaldi, and, for ECM in 2015, music by Carlo Gesualdo and by modern composers reflecting on his legacy.