Peeter Vähi

ERP artist Kristjan Randalu. Piano
Kristjan Randalu
December 11, 2011
ERP artist Lan Weiwei. Pipa
Lan Weiwei
December 11, 2011



One of the most original contemporary composers in Estonia whose musical language comprises Oriental and Western, avant-garde and archaic, acoustic and electronic without falling into eclectic “abracadabra”.
Vähi’s music is always a subjective expression of his spirituality rooted in deep faith, which he contrasts with a hyper modern complex world and its actually intellectual and perfect, but often just as inexplicable and soulless contemporary music. … his empathy converted into mystical connections between the cultures of different countries and epochs in exotic music. (DiscorD, UK)




Whitelight (choreographic scene), exhibition Do Nothing, Feel Everything November 18th, 2021 – February 20th, 2022, Kunsthalle Wien, , video by Niklas Lichti
On October 1, in Estonian National Opera House, Peeter Vähi was awarded the Composition Award 2021 by the Estonian Music Council
Fata Morgana for piano, November 18th, 2021, Great Hall of Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, “Pearls of Estonian piano music”, performer – Mantas Šernius
Birbiynė Concerto (watch video by, Forty-two for female voice and chamber orchestra, To the Mother for soprano and chamber orchestra, Prayer Wheel for chamber orchestra, Reverence for string orchestra, frpm November 6th, 2021 postponed to April 21st, 2021 because of Covid pandemic, Rakvere Culture Festival, performers Vytautas Kiminius (birbynė, Lithuania), Elina Nechayeva (coloratura soprano), Mikhail Leontyev (conductor, St Petersburg)
● Under the Baltic Sun for soprano, vocal ensemble, violin and cello, commissioned by Orthodox Singers, planned premiere in 2021
Articles Exports of Freedom and Democracy (Sirp, 27.08.21), A Glimpse Behind the Great Wall of China (Sirp, 27.08.21), A Visit to the Genghis Khan (Go Reisiajakiri, October and December 2021), Vastupandamatu soov näha kogu imelist paljusust on justkui kõrgemalt poolt ettemääratud elustiil (Muusika, 10/2021), Peeter Vähi – kolmanda aastatuhande vanamuusik (Postimees, 04.10.21)
● Sada kepioopi, premiere recording by ensemble KukerPillid, December 2021, live premiere on April 1st, 2022 in Alexela Concert Hall, Tallinn
● Forty-two for oboe and organ, September 4th, 2021, Sankt Lamberti, Germany, performer – Duo Ortmann Brandt



imagetextPeeter Vähi was born in Estonia, in 1955. In his youth he learned to play the accordion, the piano and the double bass. In 1974 he began composition studies in the Estonian Academy of Music under the supervision by Prof Eino Tamberg, graduating as composer in 1980. Peeter Vähi has worked as a free-lance composer and a record producer; also as a concert producer in the Estonian National Concert Institute (1990−2000). Currently he is the artistic director of ERP (Estonian Record Productions) and of international music festivals − Eastern Music Festival Orient (1992 − present day), Glasperlenspiel Festival (1995 − present day). Since 2010, Peeter Vähi is a guest lecturer of Asian ethnomusicology at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. He is / was a member of the Estonian Composers’ Union (since 1982, a member of the board since 1992), the vice-chairman of the council of the Estonian Institute of Buddhism (2002−2014), a full member of Estonian Academic Oriental Society (since 1982), a member of Culture Council of the Estonian President (2001−2008), a member of Drikung Kagyu Ratna Shri Centre / Estonian Buddhist Community (since 1992, the president 1992−2005), and a member of Estonia-Japan Association (since 2010).

Peeter Vähi’s works are characterized by broad-minded stylistic versatility, listener-friendly sound, skilful application of exotic instruments and electronic facilities, a wide range of moods from philosophical and meditative right through to Baroque movements. Noteworthy are composer’s wide horizons, in his vocal compositions he has used the lyrics (in addition to his native Estonian language) in Sanskrit, Tibetan, German, English, Latvian, Russian, Latin, Japanese, Fulani and Coptic languages. His most important works are oratorio Mary Magdalene Gospel, Mystical Uniting for chamber ensemble, cantata Supreme Silence for mezzo-soprano, male choir and handbells, African initiation rite In the Mystical Land of Kaydara for narrator, vocal soloists, two choirs and symphony orchestra, Forty-two and To the Mother for sinfonietta orchestra, flute concerto Chant of the Celestial Lake.

Vähi’s music has been performed by European, Asian and American orchestras (among them the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, European Union Chamber Orchestra, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, MDR Symphony Orchestra / Leipzig, Vienna Tonkünstler Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, State Academic Chamber Orchestra of Russia / Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Taipei Philharmonic Orchestra, NDR Symphony Orchestra / Hamburg, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Kremerata Baltica, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra), choirs (Tōkyō Philharmonic Chorus, State Choir Latvija, Shanghai Opera House Chorus, Riga Dom Cathedral Boys Choir), chamber (Slava Grigoryan, Rémi Boucher, Gidon Kremer, Duo Mari & Håkon Samuelsen, Raschèr Saxophone Quartet) and ethno musicians (Sevara Nazarkhan, Hiroyuki Koinuma, Hayashi Eitetsu taiko-ensemble, Oda Yosuke) and naturally, by most of the Estonian top musicians such as Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Glasperlenspiel Sinfonietta, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Estonian National Male Choir, girl’s choir Ellerhein, chamber choir Collegium Musicale, ensemble Hortus Musicus, the Järvi “dynasty”, conductors Andres Mustonen, Risto Joost and Eri Klas, Arsis handbell ensembles, bassoon-player Martin Kuuskmann, pianist-harpsichordist Irina Zahharenkova, pianists Kalle Randalu and Ivari Ilja, coloratura soprano Elina Nechayeva, rock and pop musicians Tanel Padar, Tõnis Mägi, Anne Veski, etc. In addition to the conventional venues, concerts of Vähi’s music have taken place on the open-air stage of World Exhibition EXPO 2000, in Roerich Museum, in the Royal Palace of Sweden. His music has been performed at the Estonian National Song Festivals, in the White House in Washington DC, in a Japanese Buddhist Temple, at the 50th anniversary celebrations of UNESCO in Strasbourg and at the Luzhniki Sport Arena in Moscow.

Vähi’s works have been published by ERP, Erdenklang Musikverlag, Eres Edition, Edition 49, CultureWare Music Publ, and Maren Musikverlag. His music has been released on about 70 records, including 12 solo-albums.

As a keyboarder Peeter Vähi has performed with different ensembles (pop-rock group Vitamiin, jazz-rock group Uus Generatsioon, experimental projects), orchestras and choirs (including the 30,000-members choir at the Estonian National Song Festivals). In recent decades Peeter Vähi has been in close co-operation with musicians from Tibet, India, Japan, Uzbekistan, China / Taiwan, Siberia and other parts of Asia.

Works in process

Double Concerto for violin, cello and symphony orchestra
Thee, O Cosmic Healer for mezzo-soprano and string quartet, commissioned by concert series Heli ja Keel, planned premiere in 2022, performers Iris Oja (mezzo) and String Quartet of Tallinn Chamber Orchestra
Tuba Concerto, commissioned by Toomas Oskar Kahur (tuba) and Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, planned premiere in 2022
Sada kepioopi for folk-country band, commissioned by ensemble KukerPillid, planned recording in 2021, planned live premiere on April 1st, 2022

List of main works
Media reviews
Articles, books, blogs
Photographs, exhibitions

Download photos: Peeter Vähi (Tallinn, 2012, photo by Kaupo Kikkas, jpg, RGB, 5.4 MB); Peeter Vähi (Tallinn, 2012, photo by Kaupo Kikkas, jpg, RGB, 4 MB); Peeter Vähi (Oman, 2003, photo by T. Jokinen, jpg, 300 dpi, 840 KB); Peeter Vähi (India, 2003, photo by T Pruuli, jpg, 300 dpi, 1.8 MB), drawing (by Andres Adamson, Pärnu Postimees, 2007, jpg, 1.8 MB), Peeter Vähi (Tallinn, 2010, photo by M Puškarev, jpg, RGB, 300 dpi, 3.3 MB); Peeter Vähi, piano (Tallinn, 2012, photo by Kaupo Kikkas, jpg, RGB, 5.75 MB); Peeter Vähi at his studio  (Tallinn, 2012, photo by Kaupo Kikkas, jpg, monochrome, 4.5 MB); Peeter Vähi (Tian-shan, 2017, photo by Tiina Jokinen, jpg, RGB, 300 dpi, 3 MB)

Additional info:
Wikipedia (in English, German, Farsi, Ukrainian, Estonian, Finnish, Azerbaijani, Bulgarian, KazakhCroatian, Serbian, Slovak, Romanian, Turkish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Uzbek, Italian, Hungarian, French, Tagalog, PolishDutch, Lithuanian, Japanese, Czech, Hindi, Vietnamese, Korean, Arabic, Thai, Afrikaans, Hebrew, Indonesian, Malay)
Academic dictionaries and encyclopedias (in German)
List of works (in French)
Estonian Music Information Centre (in Estonian, English)
Estonian Composers’ Union (in Estonian)
Edition49 (in Estonian, English, German, French)
Tähelaev (Estonian TV, 2012, 73 min)
See also interview with Peeter Vähi (Lev Ryzhkov, Sputnik, 06.10.16, Moscow / Russia, in Russian language)

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