Parnu mixes academia with music

  • 2006-01-11
  • By TBT staff
TALLINN - The Parnu Contempo-rary Music Days have long held a reputation for creativity, and this year the event will have Estonians scratching their heads yet again. "Music and Architecture" is the festival theme, and what a splendid combination this turns out to be.
The festival's main inspiration is Greek composer Iannis Xenakis (1922's2001), who also happens to be one of the Music Days' theme musicians. Xenakis' modernistic music is characterized by his architectural way of thinking. This may sound confusing, but once you hear Xenakis' compositions the idea will materialize within your ears.

Adolf Loos, one of the most innovative architects of the century, will be the star of this year's Music Days, alongside the New Vienna school, which he worked with closely. But there are also local inspirations, such as Estonian composer Erkki-Sven Tuur. The architectural (or architectonic) dimension of Tuur's music will keep academic discussion alive for hours on-end.

As for music theory, Dufay and Bach will bring out the connection between composition and architecture. Some of Estonia's most renowned musicologists will be delivering lectures on the subject, as well as Ludwig Holtmeier, a Schoenberg expert and publisher of the magazine "Musik & Asthetik," Nicholas Cook, a leading musicologist from London, and Francois-Bernard Mache, president of the Iannis Xenakis Association. The grand old man of Estonian modern art, Leonhard Lapin, will also be lecturing on architecture.

In between all of this discussion, an array of performances will lighten up the week. Performers such as Estonia's NYYD Ensemble, Ensemble U, Cyberstudio, and Toivo Tulev will make up the musical agenda, while the exposition "Iannis Xenakis: composer and architect" will entice those with a more visual appreciation of art.

Initiated in 1988, Parnu Contemporary Music Days paint a picture of 20th century music history, focusing on modernism and the century's aesthetic and philosophical principles. The festival also connects different forms of art, philosophy and literature theory and practice. This may sound heavy, but once you sit down to enjoy the concerts, performances and lectures the event's academic tone will float right over.

The music days are organized by the Estonian Arnold Schoenberg Association and the Parnu Concert Agency, and held every other year, alternating with Tartu. The event's creative genius lies in art director Mart-Matis Lill, a young composer and president of the Association.  And while we're throwing out names, chief producers Andrus Kallastu from Parnu and Tartu's Mart Jaanson, who are both composers as well, should take just as much credit.

All in all the event will include 14 lectures, a round-table discussion, several concerts and the workshop "Music and Architecture: looking for a common denominator." So put on your thinking cap, open your ears and head out to Parnu for a week of cultured entertainment. o

Parnu Contemporary

Music Days

Jan. 18-22

More info: