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At the Estonia Concert Hall with ERSO

This year I finally had time to get seriously back to my doctoral studies at EMTA (Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre), and the big challenge for this spring was to organise my fourth and final doctoral concert. The three earlier concerts I did with the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra in Finland, but by the recommendation of the Estonian conductor and choirmaster Tõnu Kaljuste I had the possibility of conducting ERSO (The Estonian National Orchestra) in a matinee concert as part of Kaljuste's Nargenfestival and the Tallinn Old Town Days.

The topic of my doctoral work is the three symphonies of the Finnish composer Leevi Madetoja, and in this concert I revisited his first symphony (which by the way is also the topic of my thesis which is due later this year). To honor the 100-year jubilee of Finnish independence I built a Finnish program around this piece - the rest of the works were Swans by Väinö Raitio, Karelia Suite by Jean Sibelius, and a shorter tone poem Dance Vision by Leevi Madetoja.

Our rehearsal schedule was very challenging due to the busy week with all kinds of concerts and rehearsals for ERSO, so there was a four day gap between my rehearsals and the actual concert (I cannot recall any other instance with such a weird scheduling). Luckily we also had a short dress rehearsal on the concert day and could repeat what we had been learning the previous week. With the exception of the Karelia Suite all the repertoire was new to ERSO. Despite the difficulties the concert was a success, and hopefully it will not stay as the only occasion ever when ERSO played Madetoja!