Estonian conductor Tõnu Kaljuste has established a formidable reputation as an interpreter of contemporary composers like Kurtag, Penderecki, Kancheli and Schnittke, and is particularly celebrated as a champion of Estonian composers such as Arvo Pärt, Erkki-Sven Tüür, Veljo Tormis, Heino Eller and Tõnu Kõrvits.
Tõnu Kaljuste is the founder of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra. He has also been Chief Conductor and First Guest Conductor of the Swedish Radio Choir and Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Chamber Choir.
In 2004 he founded Nargen Festival and oversaw the building of a new concert venue (Omari Barn) on the island of Naissaar, Estonia. A full-length documentary about the birth of the festival, “Headwind Hall”, was released in 2007.
Tõnu Kaljuste is currently the head of the conducting faculty at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre.
His discography includes many recordings with ECM Records, Virgin Classic and Caprice Records. His three world première recordings of Te Deum, In Principio as well as Orient & Occident, all by Arvo Pärt, for ECM Records were each Grammy-nominated, and his other recordings have won several prizes (Diapason d‘Or, Cannes Classical Award, Edison Prize, Brit Award).
He has appeared with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Camerata Salzburg, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Symphony Orchestra of Wales, Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and Irish Chamber Orchestra, among others.
In 2007/08 Kaljuste made his debut at the Hamburg Opera with Lera Auerbach’s ballet The Little Mermaid. At the 2007 Nargen Festival, he conducted Fidelio with the Chamber Orchestra Tallinn and Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, as well as Haydn’s opera Il mondo della luna in 2008. He has conducted John Adams’ “El Niño” with the Norwegian State Opera Company and Orchestra, and most recently with Estonian National Symphony Orchestra.
Forthcoming highlights include engagements with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Gunma Symphony Japan, Estonian National Symphony and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra.
Tõnu Kaljuste has been appointed a member of the Royal Music Academy of Sweden and was awarded the Japanese ABC Music Award and Robert Edler Prize.