This season, the ‘Maestro’ series is opened by Olari Elts, chief conductor of ERSO. 2025 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of one of the most important composers and most influential symphonists of the twentieth century – Dmitri Shostakovich. To commemorate this occasion, Elts, ERSO, and violinist Isabelle Faust will perform the composer’s Violin Concerto No. 2 and Symphony No. 4. The latter was completed in the 1930s during a time when Shostakovich as a composer had fallen into disfavour in the Soviet Union. The tragic and dark finale of the symphony most likely reflects public disapproval that befell Shostakovich. Isabelle Faust, who is performing with ERSO for the second time, dives into each piece by keeping in mind its place in music history, using historically accurate instruments, and striving for the closest possible authenticity according to modern knowledge. This means that she is able to perform the works of widely differing composers with great passion. Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto is one of the most multifaceted and unpredictable compositions by the symphonist, where a soloist can demonstrate their command of melodic tone as well as technical mastery.

Maestro Gilbert Varga returns to ERSO in February. Following the successful performance of Schönberg’s Transfigured Night with the string section of ERSO last season, he will bring Arthur Honegger’s Symphony No. 2 to the stage, performed by an exciting mix of instruments. In addition to the strings, the composer used one trumpet in the symphony. Under Varga’s guidance, ERSO will perform compositions by Ruth Crawford Seeger for the first time during this concert. Although nowadays, she is primarily known as a folk music expert, Crawford Seeger was a ground-breaking ultra-modernist in her youth, whose experimental music predicted the development of modernism in American music. Music for Small Orchestra, performed during this concert, was her first orchestral piece, while Andante for Strings comes from her only string quartet. 15-year-old talented violin soloist Seohyun Kim will perform Violin Concerto No. 2 by Polish violin virtuoso Henryk Wieniawski. Kim received the first prize at the 2023 Tibor Varga Violin Competition (Tibor Varga is the father of Gilbert Varga), while also being the youngest contestant.

In March, conductor Yan Pascal Tortelier brings French music to the Estonia Concert Hall. Tortelier is a highly anticipated guest at the most prestigious orchestras of the world. He is a conductor emeritus of the BBC Philharmonic and his last appointment was as the principal conductor of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. The concert features incidental music written by Georges Bizet for Alphonse Daudet’s drama  L’Arlésienne. Swiss pianist and soloist Louis Schwizgebel will perform one of the most popular piano concertos of the nineteenth century – Piano Concerto No. 2 by Camille Saint-Saëns. Schwizgebel is an internationally recognised artist, first prize winner of the Geneva International Music Competition, and second prize winner of the Leeds International Piano Competition. The symphonic triptych Nocturnes by Claude Debussy paints images of France at dusk. The Ellerhein Girls’ Choir will sing in the third part of the composition. The concert ends with the symphonic poem The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Paul Dukas, based on a poem of the same name by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

The ‘Maestro’ series will end in May, when Honorary Artistic Director for Life Neeme Järvi will guide ERSO through the final performance. The playlist includes Joachim Raff’s Cavatina and Symphony No. 11. The Swiss composer, pianist, and teacher Joachim Raff was one of the most famous German musicians of his time. After his death, his works were largely forgotten. However, the twenty-first century has witnessed a revival of interest in Raff’s Romantic musical style, confirmed by new releases of recordings of his chamber and orchestra music The soloist of the concert, soprano Elina Nechayeva, has collaborated with Järvi on numerous occasions over a long period. Their previous performance together – Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 – took place in September 2023. Nechayeva will perform Richard Strauss’ cycle Sechs Lieder (Six Songs) set to the poems by Clemens Brentano. Strauss wrote nearly 220 songs over the course of his life, which are still popular on stages today. This cycle is particularly suitable for a coloratura soprano whose voice can convey dramatic nuances.

Series sponsored by EPIIM

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ELTS, FAUST JA ŠOSTAKOVITŠ
  • 10.01.25 at 18:00 - Estonia kontserdisaal (eelkontsert)
  • 10.01.25 at 19:00 - Estonia Concert Hall
Dmitri Šostakovitš
ISABELLE FAUST viiul, ERSO, dirigent OLARI ELTS
Concert series ‘MAESTRO’
  • 10.01.25 at 18:00 - Estonia kontserdisaal (eelkontsert)
  • 10.01.25 at 19:00 - Estonia Concert Hall
  • 21.02.25 at 19:00 - Estonia Concert Hall
  • 28.03.25 at 18:00 - Estonia kontserdisaal (eelkontsert)
  • 28.03.25 at 19:00 - Estonia Concert Hall
  • 09.05.25 at 19:00 - Estonia Concert Hall
MAESTRO GILBERT VARGA
  • 21.02.25 at 19:00 - Estonia Concert Hall
Ruth Crawford Seeger, Henryk Wieniawski, Arthur Honegger
SEOHYUN KIM viiul, ERSO, dirigent GILBERT VARGA
PRANTSUSE VÄRVID
  • 28.03.25 at 18:00 - Estonia kontserdisaal (eelkontsert)
  • 28.03.25 at 19:00 - Estonia Concert Hall
Georges Bizet, Camille Saint-Saëns, Claude Debussy, Paul Dukas
LOUIS SCHWIZGEBEL klaver, tütarlastekoor Ellerhein, ERSO, dirigent YAN PASCAL TORTELIER
NEEME JÄRVI JA KEVADKLASSIKA
  • 09.05.25 at 19:00 - Estonia Concert Hall
Joachim Raff, Richard Strauss
ELINA NECHAYEVA sopran, ERSO, dirigent NEEME JÄRVI