XXIX Rapla Church Music Festival
“It’s important that other areas in Estonia besides the capital are valued” - Pille Lill, festival's artistic director. This quote sums up the importance of organising classical music festivals outside the main cities, for example in Rapla.
With this year's (2021) festival we are celebrating the 120th anniversary of Rapla Maarja Magdaleena Church. Festival opens with a ceremonial opening concert on 26th of June - C. Faure Requiem is performed by Tallinn Chamber Choir and Estonian Society's Mixed Choir, soloists Maria Listra (soprano), Atlan Karp (baritone) and Kadri Toomoja (organ). Conducted by Heli Jürgenson.
For the first time the programme includes gospel music - performed by outstanding Estonian soloists Sofia Rubina and Uku Suviste on 11th of July.
Every year we have opened a summer academy for instrumentalists. This year is no different, but for the first time we have organised a summer academy for organ students as well (besides string players and vocalists).
The history of the festival dates back in 1993, when Toompea Kaarli choir performed in Rapla church led by Ene Üleoja and Piret Aidulo. These first classical music concert series held in Rapla was the beginning of the Rapla Church Music Festival. The varied genres and pieces of music which were played remain the basis of the festival to this day. While being felxible and fresh, the festival surprises its audience with new exciting performers every summer.
The concerts of Rapla Music Festival have reached seven different counties and have been held around Estonia too, among other cities also in Tallinn and Haapsalu. The majority of the concerts take place around Rapla but bigger projects reach outside the borders of Estonia.
During the first couple of decades, the festival has created loyal listeners who choose concerts to attend based on the performer, music or the instrument. The long forms, however, have always been the crowd’s favorite. It’s greatly appreciated that this powerful music has been played here a lot.
Since 2010, the new creative director of the festival is an Estonian well-known opera singer Pille Lill, who has received a warm welcome during the years she has performed in the festival. PLMF Music Trust that she founded in 2003 created Rapla International Summerschool which participants also get a chance to perform during the festival concerts. Workshops have been held for singers, but also for string and brass instruments and also for conductors in different ages. Among a number of teachers there have been: Wilma Venocchi (Italy), Margareta Haverinen-Brandt (Finland), Daniel Nodel (Germany), Mari Tampere-Bezrodny, Peeter Peamurru and many others. PLMF is to this day the organiser of the festival and develops successfully international cooperation. For example, last year, as a project with the European Union, the concert of Camerata Nordica (https://cameratanordica.com/) was one of the most memorable pearls of the festival. In 2016 we had the honour to host the Youth Orchestra of Americas YOA (http://oamericas.org/) and world-class musicians as Gautier Capuçon and Alexandra Soumm, conductors as Carlos Miguel Prieto and Benjamin Zander and many others.
Every year we have a festival's patron who presents the religious community and is one of the spokespersons of the festival. Urmas Viilma (archbishop of Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church) has been the patron since 2015.
Tickets are on sale: