08/07/2021 - 14/07/2021

Tartu St John's church

November 29, 2019
May 15, 2020

July 8th–13th, 2021, Tartu

It is music’s big secret that it demands our soul only, but wholly.
Hermann Hesse


During the festival’s first years in Tartu it could easily be said that Glasperlenspiel opened and closed the city’s summer season. So fragile and careful was the cultural life in Tartu those days that the only escape for its inhabitants was to find whichever other place to enjoy the hottest time of the year. Today, it can be said that Tartu is the hottest location in Estonian culture life and regardless of the season at that. It is ever harder to find a vacant week in Tartu’s calendar for domesticating yet another exciting festival. It still happens, though, as Tartu is a cool place and can accommodate most good ideas.
14 summers in Tartu – within those years the Glasperlenspiel has established itself as a phenomenon of special place and sound having its own aura and high expectations by the audience. It is a living proof that the festival enjoys great success both with the citizens and guests of Tartu alike.
The Glasperelenspiel has a unique face of its own among classical music festivals bringing up positive emotions from the earliest layers of music while initiating contacts and sourcing inspiration from any century or era, blending and intertwining it with our contemporary sounds and colours, literature and art – all that while demanding our soul only. And putting it all through a shaker the result can only be an exulted and spiritually enhanced audience. I have said before and will repeat here again that the Glasperlenspiel builds a kind of musical kingdom in Tartu which on the one hand hides away from the daily urban bustle between the church walls, but one the other hand opens up to the whole wide world and its grateful listeners. The world’s top musicians, orchestras and conductors find their way here and plenty are those that wish to be subjects of that musical kingdom.
Tartu is a city rich in culture: as City of Literature and the European Culture Capital 2024 it is proud to host top events of the world culture. With every passing year, contacts and friends from every corner of the Globe become more important for Tartu. On our path to the European Culture Capital it is encouraging to rely on the renowned festival with strong tradition and hope that the Glasperlenspiel sounds will enrich Tartu for many a year to come. It is my firm belief that during the year of Culture Capital, the Glasperlenspiel will extend into all corners of South Estonia in the the city’s framework of collaboration agreements.
Hereby, I am honored to congratulate Estonian Record Productions on their 20th anniversary and wish them good sounds and rich colours! Stay well and have a great festival in Tartu!

Urmas Klaas
Mayor of Tartu


Thu, July 8th at 7 pm St John’s church
Gidon Kremer (violin, Latvia / Germany), Tatiana Grindenko (violin, Russia), Kremerata Baltica
Programme: Pärt, Bach, Britten, Kancheli… one of the most outstanding international European music collectives Kremerata Baltica (artistic director Gidon Kremer). The Kremerata’s extraordinary artistic level is proved by the New York Times, Grammy Award, numerous recordings for Deutsche Grammophon and ECM as well as stage partners like Martha Argerich, Evgeni Kissin, Vadim Repin, Yo-Yo Ma, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Christoph Eschenbach, Kent Nagano, Sir Simon Rattle etc.

Kremerata Baltica live. Georgs Pelēcis, Flowering Jasmine, fragment, 3 min 44 sec, mp3, 320 Kbps

Gidon Kremer was born in Riga. His father was Jewish and had survived the Holocaust. His mother had German-Swedish origins. He began playing the violin at the age of 4, receiving instruction from his father and grandfather who were both professional violinists. From 1965 Gidon Kremer studied with David Oistrakh at the Moscow Conservatory. In 1967, he won 3rd prize at the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition in Brussels; then, in 1969, 2nd prize at the Montreal International Violin Competition followed by 1st prize at the Paganini Competition in Genoa; and finally 1st prize in 1970 at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.
Kremer’s first concert in the West was in Vienna’s Musikverein in 1970, where he played with the Wiener Symphoniker. He debuted in Germany at the festival Bachwoche Ansbach and in the Berlin Philharmonie in 1975 and in London under André Previn in 1976, followed by appearances at the Salzburg Festival in 1976 and in New York City and in Japan in 1977. In 1980, he left the USSR and settled in Germany. In 1981, Kremer founded a music festival in Lockenhaus, Austria, with a focus on new and unconventional programming, serving as artistic director for 30 years until 2011. In 1997, Kremer founded Kremerata Baltica.
He has a large discography on the Deutsche Grammophon, for which he has recorded since 1978. He has also recorded for Philips Records, EMI, Decca Records, ECM and Nonesuch Records. Celebrating the 70th birthday of Gidon Kremer, on 14 October 2016 Deutsche Grammophon released a box set “GIDON KREMER Complete Concerto Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon”. ECM Records marked the occasion with a new album released in 2017, recorded together with Kremerata Baltica.

Fri, July 9th at 12.15 pm St John’s church (in co-operation with festival Orient)
Shashwati Mandal (vocal, India)


Fri, July 9th at 7 pm St John’s church
Estonian National Male Choir, Mikk Üleoja (conductor)
Programme: Schönberg, Reger

Estonian National Male Choir RAM was established by Estonian choral music legend, conductor and composer Gustav Ernesaks. Having sung mostly a cappella during its early years, RAM has grown into a world-famous professional choir that often performs large symphonic compositions.
Estonian National Male Choir frequently records for Estonian National Broadcasting and has collaborated with such labels as Deutsche Grammophon, Sony, Warner Finlandia, Alba Records, Virgin Classics, CCn’C …
In 2004 RAM was awarded the Grammy award for the best choral performance, first for Estonia (Sibelius’ cantatas, in collaboration with Ellerhein choir, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and conductor Paavo Järvi).
Starting from the 2011/2012 season Estonian National Male Choir is led by chief conductor and artistic director Mikk Üleoja. The list of previous conductors includes Harald Uibo, Uno Järvela, Olev Oja, Kuno Areng, Ants Üleoja, Ants Soots, Kaspars Putniņš and others. The choir’s repertoire spans from Renaissance to contemporary.
During its long history Estonian National Male Choir has performed all over Estonia and former Soviet Union, as well as in many European countries, Israel, Canada, the USA, China, Japan and Singapore.

Mikk Üleoja graduated from the Estonian Academy of Music in 1997 as a choir conductor (Prof. Ants Üleoja) and completed his Master’s Degree in music at the same place in 2004 (supervised by Prof. Toomas Siitan). He has sang in the World Youth Choir (1989–1992), Estonian National Male Choir (1994–1996), Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (1996–2000), and in the Gregorian ensemble Vox Clamantis (1998–2011). Mikk Üleoja has been the conductor of the St Michael’s Boys’ Choir, the chief conductor of the chamber choir Mattone and Kaarli Church Concert Choir, and taught conducting at the Viljandi Culture Academy of the University of Tartu. Since the 2011/2012 season, Mikk Üleoja is the chief conductor and artistic director of the Estonian National Male Choir.

Fri, July 9th at 10 pm St John’s church

• Sat, July 10th at 7 pm St John’s church
Maya Amir (mezzo soprano), Barrocade – the Israeli Baroque Orchestra, Andres Mustonen (conductor)
Programme: Corelli, Vivaldi, Bach

Andres Mustonen is an outstanding Estonian conductor and violinist who has worked with leading orchestras of Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Latvia and Lithuania. His repertoire spans from early music to works of new music with a special emphasis on performing religious masterpieces. In 1972 Mustonen founded the early music consort Hortus Musicus which is still actively performing across the world. He has also conducted and directed several concert series and festivals like MustonenFest. Mustonen has many rewards: Estonian State Cultural Award, Estonian Radio Musician of the Year, IV Class Order of the White Star, the Prize of Estonian Music Council, a gold medal from the Ministry of Culture of Republic of Armenia.

Sat, July 10th at 10 pm St John’s church
Based on LA DIVINA COMMEDIA, dedicated to the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death
Musicians, actors, narrators
Concert curator – Marius Peterson




Sun, July 11th at 3 pm Autovabaduse puiestee (‘Car-free Boulevard’)
In co-operation with the City of Tartu and Tiigi Seltsimaja
Reigo Ahven (percussion), Peeter Vähi (electronics)
Percussion-show with a hundred (!) drums and the audience in the role of orchestra
Programme: Vähi-Ahven








Sun, July 11th at 10 pm St John’s church
Peep Lassmann (piano)
Messiaen, Ravel

Peep Lassmann is one of the most outstanding pianists in Estonia, valued as a soloist and ensemble partner. He has achieved recognition for his interpretation of Olivier Messiaen’s piano music, he gave the Estonian premiere of the grand cycles Vingt regards sur l’ enfant Jesus and Catalogue d’Oiseau. Lassmann is also pedagogue and an active figure in Estonian musical life.
Lassmann began his musical studies with Prof. Heljo Sepp, whose supervision he remained under until graduating from the Tallinn Conservatoire. He continued with Emil Gilels in Moscow Conservatoire (1971–1973). Already during his university years, Lassmann was awarded many prizes at the piano competitions, the most valuable is the 2nd prize at the competition for pianists of the whole former Soviet Union in 1969.
As an active concert pianist, Lassmann has given recitals and performed with chamber ensembles. Concert trips have taken Lassmann in many countries of Europe, America and Asia. He has performed together with such conductors as Paavo Berglund, Neeme Järvi, Eri Klas, Nikolai Rabinovich, Nikolai Alexeev, Peeter Lilje, Arvo Volmer, Paul Mägi, Andres Mustonen
Being an acitve figure in Estonian musical life, Lassmann is related to many musical institutions: he is a chairman of the board of Estonian Piano Teachers Association (since 1991), the president of Estonian Music Council (since 1995), the vicepresident of Association of Baltic Academies of Music (since 2002), the councellor of Estonian National Opera (since 1998) and the chairman of the board of Estonian Ornithological Society (since 2003). Lassmann has been the member of the board of The European Association of Conservatoires (2000–2006) and the Academic Council of the President of Estonia (2002–2006). He was also a foundation member of Association of Estonian Professional Musicians and has been its first chairman (1998–2002).

Mon, July 12th at 7 pm St John’s church
Ivari Ilja (piano)
Chopin, Tubin, Vähi (première), Kõrvits

Ivari Ilja is one of the most exceptional and memorable talents among Estonian pianists. Besides being a brilliant soloist, he is highly appreciated as an ensemble partner and a teacher.
Ilja graduated from Tallinn Music High School, he continued his studies at Tallinn State Conservatory with Prof Laine Mets. In 1984, he graduated from Moscow Conservatory in the class of Prof Vera Gornostayeva and in 1986, as a post-graduate student of Prof Sergey Dorensky.
Already during his university years, Ilja took part in piano competitions and was awarded many prizes: 2nd prize at the Contest of Estonian Pianists in 1980, 3rd prize at the Contest of Pianists in Minsk (1980), he received a Diploma for Artistic Merit at the Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw (1985) and won 4th prize and a Special Prize at the Vianna da Motta Competition in Lisbon (1987).
In 1978-1981, Ilja worked as a rehearsal pianist at the Estonian National Opera. After finishing his studies in Moscow in 1986, he started teaching piano at the Tallinn Conservatory (since 1999 a professor). Since 2000, Ilja has been the head of the piano department of Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre and since 2017, he is the rector of the academy. His best-known students are Sten Lassmann, Mihkel Poll, Antti Siirala, Mihkel Mattisen, Mihhail Gerts, Maksim Štšura.
Ivari Ilja has held recitals in Estonia, Russia, Sweden, Finland and performed as a soloist with several symphony orchestras such as Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, the St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, Nordic Symphony Orchestra…
Ivari Ilja is also a recognized ensemble musician. His collaboration with renowned singers mezzo-soprano Irina Arkhipova, baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky… Together they have performed on several concert stages of the world, including La Scala in Milan, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Wigmore Hall in London, the Bolshoi Theatre of Moscow, the great halls of St Peterburg Philharmonic and Moscow Conservatory, Staatsoper Hamburg, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Suntory Hall of Tokyo, Alice Tully Hall of New York, the Kennedy Center of Washington, Musikverein of Vienna, Mozarteum of Salzburg. Since 2003, he has repeatedly toured with Dmitri Hvorostovsky in the US, the UK and elsewhere.
His repertoire mostly consists of romantic music, primarily of the works by Chopin, Brahms, Schumann, but also Mozart, Prokofiev, Britten…

Mon, July 12th at 10 pm St John’s church
Collegium Musicale & Maria Faust Band, Endrik Üksvärav (conductor)
Faust, Mölder

Estonian chamber choir Collegium Musicale was founded by conductor Endrik Üksvärav in 2010. The repertoire extends from Renaissance to contemporary music. The special place in the repertoire belongs to Estonian composers: Arvo Pärt, Veljo Tormis, Pärt Uusberg etc. The aim is to offer high level musical emotions and be the ambassadors of Estonian music.
The choir has co-operated with different orchestras and ensembles – Helsinki Baroque Orchestra, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Raschèr Saxophone Quartet, Tallinn Baroque Orchestra, NFM Leopoldinum Chamber Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Baroque orchestra Barrocade, Corelli Consort, Klaaspärlimäng Sinfonietta, string quartet Prezioso etc and conductors Andres Mustonen, Tõnu Kaljuste, Kaspars Putniņš, Simon Carrington, Jos van Veldhoven, Gianluca Marciano, Darrel Ang, Mihhail Gerts etc. Collegium Musicale has had concert tours in Italy, France, Russia, Finland, Germany, Poland, Czech, Malta and Japan.
Estonian Choral Association has announced Collegium Musicale 3 times as the Choir of the Year – 2011, 2014 and 2017. There is no other choir who had got that title so many times. The CD Peegel peeglis has got the prize Choral CD of the Year 2012. In 2018 Collegium Musicale and conductor Endrik Üksvärav won the Music Award 2018 of Estonian Cultural Endowment – for the brilliant promotion of Estonian choral music and for a dedicated and high-level presentation both in Estonia and abroad.

Collegium Musicale. Maria Faust. Maarja Missa (Mass of Mary), fragment, 3 min 21 sec, mp3, 256 Kbps


Tue, July 13th at 7 pm St John’s church
Hans Christian Aavik (violin), Glasperlenspiel Sinfonietta, Andres Kaljuste (conductor)
Kruusmaa (première), Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky



Glasperlenspiel Sinfonietta (concertmaster Arvo Leibur) was born within the festival in 2008. The repertoire of the collective spans from Bach to Pärt and Piazzolla, from classical masterpieces to cross-over projects. Sinfonietta has performed in the most famous concert venues of the world and given concerts almost everywhere in Europe, South America, Russia, Iran and other countries. The orchestra has also participated in numerous international and domestic music festivals. The Sinfonietta members share a common belief that centuries’ old music still lives and breathes today, bringing joy and pleasure to the audience, and can invigorate souls and minds regardless of style.

Conductor Andres Kaljuste is described by maestro Paavo Järvi as “blessed with trademark instinctive musicianship, a sensitive approach to sound and an ability to form an easy and natural bond with orchestral musicians”.
Ever since graduating from the Sibelius Academy’s orchestral conducting class, Kaljuste has appeared as a guest conductor with the Helsinki Philharmonic, Lahti Sinfonia, Tampere Symphony Orchestra, Estonian National Opera, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, Odense Symphony Orchestra and Aalborg Symphony Orhestra among others.
Before taking up orchestral conducting studies at the Sibelius Academy, Kaljuste trained as a violinist and violist, gaining valuable experience as a player in top orchestras in London, Berlin and most recently as a guest principal viola of the Helsinki Philharmonic.

Art exhibitions : July 8th–31st St John’s church
Universe of the master – Paintings by Nicolas Roerich (reproductions) – in co-operation with the International Center of the Roerichs and Estonian Roerich Society
Live-paintings by Tarrvi Laamann









Master classes of Indian classical music with Shashwati Mandal

Peeter Vähi – artistic director
Taavet – artistic adviser
Tiina Jokinen – executive director
Kadri Kiis – producer, accountant
Kaidi Ugandi – manager of Glasperlenspiel Sinfonietta
Meeta Morozov – musicologist, editor of festival booklet
Olavi Sööt – co-producer, video, logistics
Mart Kivisild – design
Tarmo Tuvike – marketing director, PR
Johannes Vähi – co-producer, webmaster, logistics
Marje Hansar – social media

Special thanks: Tartu City Government, Urmas Klaas, Ministry of Culture of Estonia, Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Toyota, Tartu St John’s church, Juhani Jaeger, Triin Käpp, Jana Raud, Eduard Kramp, Jelena Aleksandrova, Tartu Heino Eller Music College, Kadri Leivategija, Kaupo Kiis, Kristel Leppik, Maara Parhomenko, volunteers

Due to travel restrictions caused by a coronavirus pandemic, the organizers reserve the right to make changes to the festival programme.

Next festival: July 7th–12th, 2022

Previous festivals: 2020; 2019; 2018; 2017201620152014; 201320122011201020092008; 2007; 20062005ArchivesGlasperlenspiel 2003 and 2004

Toyota Baltic AS
Eesti Kultuurkapital