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Last year I taught a masterclass in Pärnu with the local symphony orchestra, and this year we planned a new cooperation to finish off the concert season both in Pärnu and in Mikkeli. For a small orchestra like St Michel Strings these joint concerts always give new inspiration and enthusiasm - and who doesn't love to travel to new places! Pärnu City Orchestra took an excellent care of us during our visit there. We were accommodated in a spa hotel and my musicians took the full opportunity to relax whenever we were not having rehearsals. Our program was traditional in the best sense: Mendelssohn Hebrides Overture, Shumann Cello Concerto and Schubert Symphony No. 1.

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My soloist for these two concerts was Silver Ainomäe, who currently is the principal cello of the Colorado Symphony in the US. For him this was the first opportunity to perform the Schumann with an orchestra, and he played wonderfully. This concerto is one of the pieces I wanted to program in Mikkeli for a long time already, since it is one of my favorite concertos. I played it myself in my graduation recital some fifteen years ago, when cello was still my main interest.

The only caveat in this project was, that it proved impossible to schedule the concerts in the two cities back to back. We had one week in between the two concerts, and could only have a dress rehearsal to warm up the orchestra for our season finale in Mikkeli. Considering the circumstances the concert went remarkably well, but for the next joint concert with Pärnu City Orchestra I will try to make the scheduling work better. Wishing a long and bright future for this new partnership!