One of the world’s most prestigious choirs, the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (EPCC), will be performing, along with the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, in Galway as part of Ireland’s ‘Day of Welcomes’ celebrations.  Galway is officially ‘welcoming’ Estonia to the European Union as part of Irish EU Presidency Cultural Programme organised to celebrate the historic accession of 10 new countries to the EU.

The concert, which takes place in St. Nicholas’ Church in Galway at 10.30pm on Friday 30th April, is being called ‘The Last Concert of Old Europe’ and will feature ‘Te Deum’ by Estonia’s most famous composer, Arvo Pärt, whose work the EPCC regularly premiers.

The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir was founded in 1981 by conductor Tonu Kaljuste. Kaljuste acted as artistic director and chief conductor of the choir for 20 years before inviting the British conductor, Paul Hiller, to take over in 2001.  However, it will be Kaljuste conducting the EPCC in this, its first ever visit to Ireland.

The repertoire of the choir ranges from Gregorian chant to late Baroque and 20th century music. The EPCC has recorded a number of CDs featuring this work, several of which have been nominated for Grammy Awards.  Other awards picked up by the choir during its 23 year history include three gold medals and the Grand Prix at the 1991 Takarazuka Chamber Choir Competition in Japan.  

The choir has performed successfully with such distinguished orchestras as the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, the Prague Radio Orchestra and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, the latter orchestra having toured extensively with the choir both in Europe and the US, focussing mainly on works by Arvo Pärt.

Performing approximately 60 concerts a year which are split equally between Estonia and the ‘rest of the world’, the EPCC has toured across the globe with highlights including the 1999/2000 season tour of Australia with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the 2001 performance of Handel’s Messiah in St. Petersburg Philharmonic Hall and the ‘Baltic Voices’ concert in Denmark during the choirs last season to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia.

Tickets for this concert are free and can be acquired from the Town Hall Theatre Galway on +353 (0) 91 569 777.

The ‘Last Concert of Old Europe’ will be broadcast live on LYRIC FM with Presenter Paul Herriott, from 10.30pm on Friday 30th April 2004.

The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir will also perform the same programme at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, at 3pm on Saturday 1st May 2004. Admission is free.