10 – 19 JULY
The Pärnu Music Festival has always been about family and, in addition to concerts and masterclasses led by Paavo, Kristjan and Neeme Järvi, this year’s edition welcomes two families of Estonian composers and musicians, as well an extended family of international guests who flock to Pärnu each summer to be part of the annual reunion.

This summer also sees the start of a new, annual initiative to commission works from female Estonian composers, commencing with world-premieres by Helena Tulva and Maria Kõrvits. “Since the inauguration of the Pärnu Music Festival we have regularly championed new music and Helena Tulva was our Composer in Residence already in 2012” says Paavo Järvi. “Today Helena is not only one of Estonia’s most influential composers but also the guiding light to a younger generation of composers, including her student Maria Kõrvits. I am delighted that we will be presenting world-premieres from two such talented artists, both of whom have very different and individual voices. Maria’s new chamber piece will be unveiled in the Gala Concert on 16 July and I look forward to seeing the score of Helena’s latest orchestral work, which I will conduct the premiere of with the Estonian Festival Orchestra in the closing festival concerts on 18 and 19 July.”

Neeme Järvi and the Järvi Academy Youth Symphony Orchestra open the festival with Beethoven Symphony No. 1, Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony and Friedrich Gulda’s seldom heard Concerto for Cello and Wind Orchestra with soloist Indrek Leivategija (10 July). The following night Kristjan Järvi and the BSP plunge us “deep into the soul of Estonian and Nordic folklore”, with a performance that intertwines new works with reimagined masterpieces by Sibelius, Tormis, Pärt, and Tchaikovsky (11 July).

For the first of four concerts with Paavo Järvi and the Estonian Festival Orchestra (EFO), accordian soloist Ksenija Sidorova returns to Pärnu to give the world premiere of a new work by Tõnu Kõrvits (13 July), in a programme which also features Bizet’s Roma Symphony.

The soloist in Bruch’s Violin Concerto, for the EFO’s second concert is young Estonian violinist, Hans Christian Aavik, winner of the 2022 Carl Nielsen Competition. Hans Christian also leads the concert funded by the Estonian Foundation of Musical Instruments (15 July) which supports upcoming musicians by loaning valuable instruments, whilst his brother Henri Christofer Aavik, is the conductor of the late night concert (15 July) featuring flute soloist Maarika Järvi.

Making their first appearances at the festival are international guest soloists Alisa Weilerstein (cello) and Kirill Gerstein (piano), who join Paavo Järvi and the EFO for performances of Elgar’s Cello Concerto (19 July) and Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (20 July). Both concerts also present the world premiere of Helena Tulve’s latest work, the composer’s first orchestral piece since 2013 and the closing commission of this year’s festival.

In the lead up to the festival, Alpha Classics will release the Estonian Festival Orchestra’s fifth album with Paavo Järvi. “Ship of Fools”, is dedicated to three works by Jüri Reinvere, all premiered in recent years at the Pärnu Music Festival.