To celebrate the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, there is a whole calendar of cultural events, taking place all over the EU and beyond. These events also celebrate the forthcoming centenary of the founding of the Republic of Estonia in 1918. Here are some occasions you will definitely want to put in your diary.
This is a selection of the many cultural events celebrating the Estonian Presidency and the incoming centenary of Estonia. Please also visit our full calendar of cultural events to see the many ways to celebrate these milestones.
Where? Various EU member states
When? Throughout 2017 and 2018
Estonian band Trad.Attack! are something different: taking as their starting point old recordings from archives around Estonia, the trio craft elegant pop-folk music and grooves you can dance to. Trad.Attack!’s first album Ah! saw the group travel as far as China on tour, building a sizeable fanbase thanks to their accessible tunes and their friendly manner at concerts. Taking long-vanished village voices, the band build a full, often surprising, sound of their own.
The All Around Europe tour will take Trad.Attack! to various EU member states between 1 July 2017 and 31 December 2018, promoting their new album Shimmer Gold, which takes their signature sound in a bold new direction.
Where? Various EU capital cities
When? June 2017 to June 2018
100 years of Estonian history means a host of interesting characters that can be brought to life. (R)estart Reality, a series of installations by Edward von Lõngus, promises to do just that. Street art will combine with digital technology to bring people from the past into the present day, through moving images that the public can interact with using smartphones and tablets.
It’s a show that incorporates augmented reality into a fun history lesson, and brings the 'wow' factor to cities all over the EU, while showing members of the public the kinds of people they can meet in Estonia. If you’re in Paris, London and a variety of other cities, you might see nature-loving Lembit, or digital nomads Tiit and Miina, or a whole host of other interesting figures pop up in front of your very eyes.
Where? Jurmala, Turku, Stockholm and Copenhagen
When? 14-24 August 2017
Paavo Järvi is one of the legendary names in Estonian music, and the famous conductor steps up to take charge of the Estonian Festival Orchestra’s renowned players, who will celebrate the Estonian Presidency by journeying to some of Europe’s most interesting summer music festivals, as well as some of the Baltic Sea region’s nicest concert venues.
You can hear expertly played classical music at places such as the Berwaldhallen in Stockholm and Tivoli Concert Hall in Copenhagen, as part of a packed schedule for the orchestra.
Where? gallery @ oxo, Oxo Tower Wharf, London
When? 12-25 September 2017
Size Doesn’t Matter will coincide with The London Design Festival, and shows how much progress has been made by Estonian designers, even though Estonia is a small country. The aim of the exhibition is to showcase a wave of design talent that has created high-quality small-production-run products, and new innovative industrial products.
One such example is clothing designer Reet Aus, who showed in the documentary 'Out of Fashion' how passionate she was about reducing the level of waste in the fashion industry, through the principle of upcycling (reusing materials in order to make superior-quality products). There are also designers from a multitude of other industries and backgrounds, showing their own innovative creations.
Where? BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels
When? 14 September to 12 November 2017
This exhibition puts artists together with technology, in a perfect example of what can be done with the latest advances, and some classic human creativity. There are two parts to the exhibition, the first being an historical part that looks at artists working in Estonia and Moscow in the 1960s and ‘70s, containing an interactive installation by Jüri Sobolev.
This is followed by a contemporary part which puts the focus on artists working on similar interests, but using the technological advances of recent years. Many of these artists are up-and-coming young creators, given their chance to shine. The exhibition is curated by Kumu Art Museum.
Where? Musical Instruments Museum, Brussels
When? 19 October 2017 to 15 April 2018
Folk music is at the heart of Estonian culture, both in tradition and in modern times. New and exciting updates are coming all the time to music that is still passed from generation to generation like a family photo album, as Brussels visitors will find out. ALIVE! seeks to demonstrate the modern appeal of the folk genre, while still revealing its roots.
The exhibition will show visitors the instruments that contribute to a great folk song, looking at those instruments’ role in today’s society. Using photos, videos, texts and original recordings and backed up by interactivity to bring it right into the 21st century, ALIVE! opens with the Torupilli Jussi Trio, a folk band which will perform several workshops for local children as well as music teachers.
Where? Various EU locations
When? 10-19 November 2017
Jazzpresent to Europe, a collaboration between the Estonian Jazz Union and Jazzkaar festival, takes the best of Estonian jazz to Belgium, the UK, France and Germany, showing off the incredible talents in this small country to a new audience. If you like your music vital, vibrant and fresh, treat yourself to this Jazzpresent to Europe.
When? November 2017
The Estonian National Opera tours Finland to celebrate the Estonian Presidency. Most of the concerts take place in Helsinki and Tampere. The collective has long had a great reputation in Estonia, and now brings classics like Delibes’ Coppelia and Verdi’s La Traviata to a wide audience, along with new projects like the Concert for Babies, a special event that plans to introduce the youngest of audience-members to a child-friendly version of classical music in an experience which parents and youngsters alike are sure to love.
When? December 2017
The events of the Estonian Presidency’s international programme are not just about culture. There are also events on the calendar that showcase the progress Estonia is making in the digital world, while reaching out to other EU states’ top talents. One such event is the virtual reality conference taking place in Helsinki, which looks at the many things that unite Estonian virtual reality developers with those in other countries and seeks to bridge the gap where it comes to differences in approach.
Estonia is gaining a good reputation for the creation of virtual reality software, and this conference brings people together for networking, while also providing informative talks and workshops for delegates, to push the virtual reality industry forward.
Where? Flagey Concert Hall, Brussels
When? 27-28 January 2018
Arvo Pärt was recently ranked as the world’s most-played living composer of classical music. The 81-year-old, born in Paide during Estonia’s first period of independence, forms part of the story of a nation, and his music, described by some as following the style of 'holy minimalism', has been used on countless film soundtracks. Tom Service in The Guardian remarked that Pärt is "one of those composers you might think you know," and this prestigious festival in Brussels is your chance to get to know his music even better.
Some of the cultural events linked to the Estonian Presidency continue into 2018, as a large part of the programme is being delivered to celebrate both the Presidency and also the centenary of the Republic of Estonia, which is in 2018.