Reviewing the Pärnu Music Festival which ended with standing ovations on Sunday night,  the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes today “With the Pärnu Music Festival Paavo Järvi creates competiton for Europe and, from 2017, he will start to export a part of it. This is bound to cause a stir on the European festival scene.”

The festival, which Paavo Järvi created six years ago in the idyllic old fashioned seaside resort of Pärnu on the Baltic Sea, is quickly drawing the attention of journalists overseas. The BBC Music Magazine wrote “Pärnu, Estonia’s summer capital, is tucked within a huge natural harbour on the Baltic country’s southern coast. Mysteriously unknown to British holiday-makers but a firm favourite with the Finns (and, once upon a time, violinist David Oistrakh and composer Dmitri Shostakovich), the city boasts pristine white beaches with a gloriously safe, swimmable patch of sea, a delightful mix of old and new architecture, lush wooded spaces, superb restaurants and more spas than you could shake a stick at. Oh, and a truly wonderful music festival that’s starting at last to make a name for itself outside Estonia.”

For Paavo, the Pärnu Music Festival is not just another festival. Having emigrated with his family aged 18 to the States, it is the chance to return to his roots, to showcase the culture and beauty of his country and to nurture the next generation of musicians.  And it is here that he has created the Estonian Festival Orchestra, uniting the best of Estonian musicians with colleagues from around the world which, according to The Arts Desk “… begs comparison with the elasticity of Abbado’s concerts with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, which is as good as it can get.” The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung adds “Järvi could go into open competition with Lucerne and Verbier”.

The next Pärnu Music Festival will take place in August 2017 and will be followed by Paavo Järvi and the Estonian Festival Orchestra’s first performances abroad at festivals around the Baltic coast. In 2018 – the year in which Estonia celebrates 100 years of independence – the Estonian Festival Orchestra will spread it’s wings yet further with performances across Europe.

Photo: Kaupo Kikkas