Gift from Estonia for Choir Music Lovers
On April 27, with the support of the Georgian Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection, at the Grand Hall of Tbilisi State Conservatory, the concert of the national male choir of Estonia ‘RAM’ was held, a choir which, in 2004, was conferred an American National Academy of Recording Arts Award.
The Estonian National Male Choir (RAM) was founded in 1944 by the legendary composer and leader of the Estonian choral movement, Gustav Ernesaks. The choir was first named the Estonian SSR State Philharmonic Male Choir, known as RAM (Riiklik Akadeemiline Meeskoor), from 1953 changing its name to the State Academic Male Choir, and in 1989 choosing its current name- the Estonian National Male Choir, which is currently the largest full-time professional male choir in the world. The birth of the Estonian National Male Choir was the result of Ernesaks’ work and he stayed connected with the choir until his death (1993). From 1944 –1975, Ernesaks was the chief conductor and later acted as its artistic director. Since, the choir has been conducted by several highly esteemed choral conductors, including Olev Oja (1964–1991), Kuno Areng (1966–1990), Ants Üleoja (1991–1997), Ants Soots (1994–2005, 2008–2011), Kaspars Putninš (2005–2008), with Mikk Üleoja the chief conductor and artistic director since the beginning of the 2011/2012 season.
The repertoire of the Estonian National Male choir includes music from a cappella choral music to large-scale works by composers like Brahms, Britten, Sibelius, Wagner, Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart. Besides a number of Estonian composers, Dmitri Shostakovich, Gavin Bryars and others have written music for RAM. The choir has commissioned music from Aare Kruusimäe (Little Christmas Cantata, Saxophone Mass), Tõnu Kõrvits (The Night Is Darkening Around Me), Mirjam Tally (2 pages, 122 Words on Music and Dance), Andrew Poppy (Something in the Air) and others. RAM has premiered music by Gustav Ernesaks, Urmas Sisask, Tauno Aints, Peeter Vähi, Aare Kruusimäe, Ester Mägi, Arvo Pärt, Veljo Tormis, René Eespere, Erkki-Sven Tüür, Raimo Kangro, Anti Marguste, Tõnis Kaumann, Toivo Tulev, Andres Uibo and others.
The entrance was free to the Tbilisi performance of the fabulous RAM. The concert consisted of two parts, starting with Estonian composers like Mart Saar, Aleksander Late and Konstantin Turnpu, followed by international authors like Gavin Bryars, Henrik Odegaard, Giovanni Bonato and Galina Grigorjeva.