Summer Festivals Part VII - Pärnu Music Festival Järvi Academy

Unlike us, music journalist David Nice has been to Estonia to witness the Pärnu Music Festival Järvi Academy. I hope David does not mind us quoting parts of his wonderful article - his description of the festival is most vivid and we are pretty jealous not to have had a first hand experience ourselves.
Many thanks to Kristjan Hallik, the Festival's manager and board member for organizing the wonderful photo!
From left to right: Kristjan, Irene, Triin, Jonathan, Paavo Järvi, Marina, Jasmine, Geoffrey, Olga.

"A guiding principle of the Pärnu Music Festival (…) has been to raise the game of young Estonian musicians. In the congenial atmosphere of this old-fashioned summer retreat (….) where the likes of David Oistrakh and Shostakovich came for the nearest thing to western tolerance and understanding in the Soviet Union, conservatoire students play in an "Academy". It serves as a training ground for 15 aspiring conductors from all over the world in short sessions under Neeme and Paavo, as well as Järvi senior's long-term colleague and Paavo's first conducting tutor, Ukrainian-born Leonid Grin. (…) The world-class caliber of the other band, the Pärnu Festival Orchestra (…) An outstanding festival ensemble working as one became quickly apparent in the first concert. I heard in the loveable if not acoustically perfect 1,000-seater concert hall opened, partly on the Järvis' urging, in 2002. (…)

This year's winner was French violinist Marina Chiche, a model of madcap collegiality but not, in the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Academy Orchestra, of sweet, full violin tone. When I met him, Paavo Järvi also used the term "crazy" to describe an essential quality of the non-Estonian players in the Festival Orchestra. His idea was to try and loosen up the half-quota of very fine Estonian professional musicians by seating them with experienced foreign counterparts. The leader of the healthy mix, Florian Donderer, of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie and a positive presence among the trainee conductors, was the born leader (…), commanding but genial and collegial.

(…) the 15 master class conductors were asked to show their abilities the next evening. With each needing a movement, it was clear that the Mozart "Linz" Symphony would need to be repeated.

By then, we'd recognized the star: Ukrainian Oleksandr Poliykov, graced with something of the relaxed, less-is-more manner of Järvi-père as he injected immediate authority and a different sound taking over mid-flight for the finale of the concerto. Also outstanding were South Korean June-Sung Park, managing the swingingly violent central movement of the impressive Tubin Sixth, and Jonathan Bloxham, cleanly expressive and communicative in its more problematic finale."

Meet the conductors, soloists and orchestra members on HELLO STAGE:

Jonathan Bloxham is a conductor and a cellist who too has his own festival - he founded Northern Chords, a chamber music festival in 2009 with which he aims to bring world class musicians to the Northern region of the UK. Upcoming concerts in the new season will take him around England (including the Wigmore Hall), New Zealand and Hong Kong. Have a look at Jonathan's Orange Twist as well.

The Spanish conductor Irene Gómez-Calado is currently based in Paris where she is assistant conductor at the Orchestre des Grands Écoles de Paris. On top she too is regularly assisting Enrique Mazzola at the Orchestre National d´Île de France.

Geoffrey McDonald is based in the USA and has been working at the Opera Philadelphia workshop of Charlie Parker's Yardbird just up to the beginning of the Pärnu festival. He is the Music Director of the Longy Conservatory Orchestra, the On Site Opera and the Bard College Orchestra. He too is an instructor at the Bard College Conservatory Graduate Program for Conducting.

Chloe van Soeterstede is the founder and Music Director of the Arch Sinfonia and the viola of the Stella Quartet. She is off to the Royal Northern College of Music to start her postgraduate and will work with with Mark Heron, Clark Rundell, Sir Mark Elder in partnership with the BBC Philharmonic and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Together with the Arch Sinfonia she will appear at London's Cadogan Hall and Sadler's Wells.

Principal Horn at the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Alec Frank- Gemmill is not pictured in the photo above. He devides his time between concertos, recitals, chamber music and orchestral playing and, most recently, conducting. He too played in the Festival Orchestra for several years. Alec is a Borletti-Buitoni Trust fellow.

Florian Donderer - who too is missing in the photo - did not only lead the Orchestra and was amongst the young conductors, he too gave one of the string master classes. True to the motto on his profile: musician, conductor, in-between-worlds, all over the world… he is not only leading Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen but is high in demand by all other chamber orchestras whenever play/conduct is needed. He is a keen chamber musician - just before Pärnu (where he joined in to play chamber music on top of everything else) he has been to Lars Vogt’s Festival in Heimbach where he has been a regular for many years.

Like Florian Marina Chiche was wearing several hats, being a soloist and giving a master class. From Pärnu she jetted directly to Verbier to take part in the festival there and is still in Switzerland doing more chamber music in Ernen. Next she is off to Korea and will perform in the UK, France and Latvia before returning to Trossingen for some teaching.

Triin Ruubel too was giving a master class and has been the soloist in Neeme Järvi's concert (performing Mendelssohn’s Violin concerto). Just before the end of the last season Triin has been appointed concertmaster of the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra! Congratulations!

The last (but not least) of the Pärnu Violins is Olga Caceanova. Born in Moldavia she has lived and studied all around the world and has now settled in Berlin where she happens to perform her next recitals - amongst them in the Deutsche Bundesrat.

Our funding member Jasmine Choi was one of the soloists in last year’s edition of the festival. This year she returned for giving a master class and for some orchestra fun before she was off to join yet other festival orchestra (Mostly Mozart in NYC). She has a busy season ahead of her with concerts and recitals in France, Korea, Austria, Spain, Bangkok, Luzern, Berlin and Bucharest.

The Festival is already in its 5th year. Academy and Orchestra alumni are:

Brazilian conductor Simone Menezes who is just about to move to Paris,
Holly Mathieson,
David Mollard,
Jan Wierzba
Tianyi Lu,
Charles Coleman,
Nathaniel Meyer
Robin Browning,
and Mariko Hara.

Some of them just joint recently and the pages are still very work in progress. And please forgive me if I did not spot you - add yourself to this amazing list in the comments!

If you are an alumni or recent member of the Academy or Orchestra remember, get in touch with the Festival office or with us to get your voucher code for a complimentary PRO membership on HELLO STAGE!
Author: Bettina Mehne
Comments [1]
Bettina Mehne - 2015-08-08 08:03 edited
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