The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (EPCC) is entering the NFT and Metaverse world, with a purpose to grow its community in the global digital society. The EPCC launched the “Joonas” NFT collection on the platform, which was presented at the “NFT Tallinn 2023” conference on May 9th and 10th.


The first “Joonas” NFT was bought by Ilo Meeze at the auction held as part of NFT Tallinn.

Ilo, could you speak about your background a bit? And what is your relationship with music? How are you related?

Ilo Meeze:  I have a master’s degree in jazz music. I’m a bass player. I started playing music when I was eleven years old. The first instrument I was playing was Irish Tin Whistle, so a folk instrument. But that was not very cool in high school. So, I quickly switched to the bass guitar because that was very cool. And then I started playing in bands and I was self-taught, so I actually couldn’t read music until I was 20 years old. Yeah, I learned to read music then. And then I went to the Conservatory of Ghent in Belgium, did a three-year bachelor program. Then I did one year exchange program in Copenhagen. I came back, finished the master’s, and I got a reward also for the best jazz performance. And afterwards kept on playing and teaching music as well. Teaching I had been doing since I was 17, teaching my friends how to play, and then teaching young children in summer music camps.


And then two years ago, it was a tough time because I couldn’t play music anymore in 2020, teaching was also very hard to do. And so, I switched careers and got into this new technological business online. And this is how I’m here today in NFT Tallinn.


You had never heard before about the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, had you?


Ilo Meeze: No, I’d never heard about it, but I love choir music very much. Flanders has a very rich tradition of polyphonic music, and I’ve always been a big fan of our polyphonic composers. And I have a secret dream of maybe one day singing in a choir as well, because I really love the resonance in the room and singing together and it’s a thing of beauty, I think. So, yeah, I didn’t know about the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, but I’m very happy, I do now.


You participated at the NFT Tallinn Conference, where the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir had an auction, and you made the highest bid at the auction. And you are the first one who bought the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir’s NFT from the collection “Joonas” (“Jonah”). Why?


Ilo Meeze: That’s a good question. I think sometimes a life throws you a ball and it’s up to you if you want to catch it or not. And I think this was a situation like that. During the day we talked a bit, and I was impressed because I have not seen many music institutions exploring new technologies. In Belgium, the Brussels Jazz Orchestra does do this, but they have not done NFT or something like this. And yeah, like Estonia spearheading this. So, I was impressed and interested, and I was interested in buying a piece of the collection.


At that time, I wasn’t planning on participating at the auction, but then the auction happened, and I asked myself the question, “Do I bid?” and something inside me said “Yes, just do it!”, so I did.


Is this plan of yours to start collecting art NFTs or have you done it before?


Ilo Meeze: No. Around one year ago, I thought, like, actually, I would like to start collecting art pieces for a multitude of reasons. One of the reasons is that it’s a very nice thing to have, but most importantly – it’s your vote, it’s your way of saying this is important in the world. I think this is important in the world.

So, you exercise your right to vote through it. That’s how I see it. And this is the first piece I’m buying actually. So, I hope to continue doing it and I will for sure follow the platform and see if there’s more auctions happening.


You are now part of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir’s community. How do you feel?


Ilo Meeze: Very happy. Very happy. It’s been wonderful. I got a tour here as well and I’ve seen the rehearsal rooms and the archive room and the old clothing and especially I love folk music, old folk music. So, it’s been very nice to connect this way. And I’m looking forward to seeing the recording of “Joonas”.