The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (EPCC) is one of the best-known Estonian music ensembles in the world. The EPCC was founded in 1981 by Tõnu Kaljuste, who was the artistic director and chief conductor for twenty years. In the years 2001–2007, the English musician Paul Hillier took over and between the years 2008–2013 the artistic director and chief conductor was Daniel Reuss. Since 2014 Kaspars Putniņš has been the artistic director and chief conductor of the choir.
The repertoire of the choir extends from Gregorian chant and baroque to the music of the 21st century, with a special focus on the work of Estonian composers, such as Arvo Pärt, Veljo Tormis, Erkki-Sven Tüür, Galina Grigoryeva, Toivo Tulev, Tõnu Kõrvits, Helena Tulve, and introducing their output to the world. Each season the choir gives about 60–70 concerts both in Estonia and abroad.
The EPCC has cooperated with a number of outstanding conductors including Claudio Abbado, Helmuth Rilling, Eric Ericson, Ward Swingle, Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi, Nikolai Alekseyev, Olari Elts, Andrew Lawrence-King, Roland Böer, Frieder Bernius, Stephen Layton, Marc Minkowski, Christoph Poppen, Sir Colin Davis, Michael Riesman, Louis Langree, Paul McCreesh, Gottfried von der Goltz, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Gustavo Dudamel etc.
The EPCC has also worked with the following world-class orchestras such as the Norwegian, Australian, Lithuanian, Prague and Stuttgardt Chamber Orchestras, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Berlin Rundfunk Orchestra, Concerto Copenhagen, Concerto Palatino, the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra, the Salzburg Camerata, Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble, the Philip Glass Ensemble, the North Netherland Symphony Orchestra, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Basel Chamber Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra.
The EPCC has been a welcome guest at numerous music festivals and outstanding venues all over the world including the BBC Proms, the Mozartwoche, the Abu Gosh Music Festival, the Hong Kong Arts Festival, the Moscow Easter Festival, the Musikfest Bremen, the Salzburg Festspiele, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Festival Aix-en-Provence, the International Cervantino Festival, the Vale of Glamorgan Festival, the Bergen International Festival, the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, the Sydney Opera House, Wiener Konzerthaus, the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Versailles Opéra Royal, Palau de la Musica in Barcelona, the Esplanade in Singapore, LSO St Luke’s and Barbican Centre in London, Flagey Concert Hall in Brussels, the National Concert Hall in Dublin, the Kennedy Centre in Washington, the Lincoln Centre, Metropolitan Museum and Carnegie Hall in New York, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles etc.
Another important aspect in the choir’s life is recording music (for ECM, Virgin Classics, Carus, Harmonia Mundi and Ondine), resulting in various award-winning CDs. The EPCC recordings have twice won a Grammy-Award for Best Choral Performance: in 2007 for the album of Arvo Pärt’s Da Pacem (Harmonia Mundi) with conductor Paul Hillier and Arvo Pärt’s Adam’s Lament (ECM) with conductor Tõnu Kaljuste. All in all, the choir has 14 Grammy nominations with works by Arvo Pärt, Erkki-Sven Tüür and the music from the Nordic countries. The EPCC recordings have also won the award Diapason d’or, Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, Danish Music Award, de Choc de l’Année Classica 2014, and more.