“What is so enchantingly charming and magical about this time forgotten place? The concentration of the musicians who gather around Paavo Järvi is the one thing. And the absolute absence of any pretention”
“When I sat down and started to think about how to re-programme this year’s festival given all the limitations that needed to be taken into account, I realized that it gave us an opportunity to celebrate just how far we have come in our first 10 years of summers in Pärnu. At the beginning my goal was to nurture Estonian talent by bringing in as many international artists as possible, so that young Estonian musicians would have the chance to play with top colleagues from around the world and develop their musical careers. Now I realise that our goal has actually been achieved and we have top class Estonian talent welcoming back their colleagues, for genuine musical reunions.”
This year’s Pärnu Music Festival is special in more ways than one. Not only is it great news that the festival actually takes place this July - one of the very few international festivals that still offers a complete programme - but this year also celebrates both the Pärnu Music Festival and Estonian Festival Orchestra’s 10th anniversary. Last but not least this summer looks back at 50 long years of music-making in Pärnu, as begun in the 1970’s under the baton of Neeme Järvi.
Although Neeme Järvi will not be able to join the celebrations this summer, Paavo and Kristjan Järvi will be leading the festivities and are joined for the big “birthday bash" on 18 July by Estonian conductor, Kaspar Mänd, who will conduct the Pärnu City Orchestra.
Paavo Järvi opens the festival with the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra (16 July) and goes on to lead the Estonian Festival Orchestra in three concerts (19, 22 and 23 July). Due to current limitations, the EFO will perform with less musicians, returning to the exact same number of performers that first took to the stage in Pärnu 10 years ago. Joining them will be Florian Donderer, the Estonian Festival Orchestra’s foundering concert master, who is one of 20 musicians that returns to Pärnu to be reunited with his Estonian colleagues.
This year’s festival also showcases several of Estonia’s top soloists - Kalle Randalu and Kristjan Randalu (piano), Theodor Sink and Allar Kaasik (cello), Triin Ruubel (violin), Maarika Järvi and Monika Mattiesen (flute) - and features guest international artists, Olli Mustonen (piano), Alena Baeva (violin) and Stefan Dohr (horn).
There are five Estonian composers featured on the programme this year with music spanning from 1977 to the present day. The festival opens with Arvo Pärt’s Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten and pays tribute to Lepo Sumera in the 70th anniversary of his birth, with performances of both his Symphony No 3 (1988) and Cello Concerto (1998/99). Jüri Reinvere’s Double concerto for two flutes, string orchestra and percussion, premiered at the Pärnu Music Festival in 2016, makes a welcome return as a highlight of this year’s anniversary gala and Erkki-Sven Tüür’s Violin Concerto No. 2 (2017) is the focus of the first Järvi Academy concert. Bringing us to the present day is
Tõnu Kõrvits' To the Moonlight, which will be premiered by the Estonian Festival Orchestra and Paavo Järvi on 19 July.
The Järvi Academy conducting master classes have always been an integral part of the festival programme and this year is no exception. With young conductors participating onstage in Pärnu and online around the world, under the guidance of Paavo and Kristjan Järvi, the course concludes with the Järvi Academy Gala (21 July) in which the participants take to the stage and perform with the Järvi Academy Youth Symphony Orchestra.
All of the main 8 events of this year’s Pärnu Music Festival will be performed with a reduced audience and streamed live on parnumusicfestival.tv.
A REMINDER FOR ALL CONCERT VISITORS
- The 2+2 rule must be followed in all concerts of the Pärnu Music Festival.
- Auditorium doors will be opened 30 minutes before each concert. A guarded wardrobe is available.
- We ask all visitors to arrive with enough time to spare and keep your distance from other visitors when exiting the auditorium after a concert. When entering and exiting the concert auditorium, please follow the instructions of the servicing staff; visitors must move by rows; a staff member will open the doors and organise the movement.
- Disinfectants are available in lobbies.
- We advise you to purchase an electronic ticket. The ticket desk of the Pärnu Concert Hall will be open if any tickets are available.
- It is forbidden to visit the concert if you display any symptoms of disease. Upon request, tickets will be bought back; please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- People in risk groups (the elderly or people with a chronic disease) should avoid participation. Each person is responsible for following the recommendations and must assess their health individually. Upon request, tickets will be bought back; please contact us at email@example.com. The seat numbers on tickets are not valid. The servicing staff will guide people to their seats pursuant to the current instructions of the Health Board. Seating is arranged similarly to your original seat.
- Family members who have purchased two tickets can sit side by side. It is forbidden to change your seat arbitrarily.
We ask all visitors for understanding and to follow the instructions currently
The Pärnu Music Festival wishes you a memorable experience!
Having grown up in Tallinn, Pärnu has always held a special place in Paavo’s heart as it was where the family traditionally gathered for summer holidays. During occupation it was also the summer home of artists including Dmitri Shostakovich and David Oistrakh who visited for the nearest thing to western tolerance and understanding in the Soviet Union, it was a place for artists to relax and enjoy each other’s company and it was here in 1973 that a young Paavo met Shostakovich for the first time.
It was also here that David Oistrakh invited musicians and students to join him for ad hoc performances in the little green Dacha which he rented each summer before his death in 1974. It was in this spirit that Paavo Järvi decided to return to Pärnu, surrounded by his family, and create a festival offering masterclasses to international young conductors, creating an Academy Orchestra comprising the very best of young Estonian musical talent and the Estonian Festival Orchestra - hand-picked by Paavo, including professional Estonian musicians complemented by soloists from the top European orchestras. In addition to playing in the Festival Orchestra, these guest musicians also perform chamber music concerts and offer advice to the younger generation of musicians.
“There isn’t a hint of a hothouse environment on stage – these are simply musicians having the time of their lives, no small thanks to the inspiring Paavo Järvi himself, and they’re an inspiration, in turn, to the festival youth orchestra.”
BBC Music Magazine
The week long festival takes place in various locations throughout the town including the church of St Elizabeth – founded in 1741 when the Russian empress donated 8000 roubles for its construction. Children’s concerts take place in one of the numerous spa hotels where families gather after long days on the beach and the main festival concerts take place in the elegant 1000 seater concert hall, built in 2002 and widely regarded as having one of Estonia’s best acoustics.For Paavo, the Pärnu Festival is not just another festival. Having emigrated with his family aged 18 to the States, it is the chance to return to his roots, to showcase the culture and beauty of his country and to nurture the next generation of musicians. And the Estonian Festival Orchestra has become a major part of that story, bringing togetherprofessional Estonian players with musicians from across Europe and beyond, with the same motto of Estonian Independence as it was read from the balcony of the Endla Theatre in 1918: