In September and October, the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the Estonian centenary celebrations brought Estonian talents to several important arts and cultural centres in Europe. There were many surprising and exhilarating moments for both the audiences and the performers; here are some of the highlights.
The digital street art of Edward von Lõngus arrived in Berlin
In early September, the European tour of Edward von Lõngus took him to the street art Mecca Berlin. Hundred-year-old Estonians have taken over no less than five districts of Berlin: Kreuzberg, Wedding, Prenzlauer Berg, Tiergarten and Friedrichshain.
Diana Marossek, in charge of Berlin Street Art, was charmed and praised Lõngus for the considered content and perfect execution of his works. "His works are a breath of fresh air in Berlin, and the inclusion of digital technology means they will inspire the street artists of the new generation," Marossek commented. "The fact that he is Estonian is a big surprise for the Berlin street art scene – such high-quality works surpassed our expectations."
Estonian jazz artists performed with Belgian musicians at the Flagey Concert Hall in Brussels
On 12 and 13 September, the jazz project B-EST brought together Estonian and Belgian jazz musicians. On the first night, the Maria Faust Sacrum Facere project of Estonian saxophonist and composer Maria Faust performed with the Belgian group De Beren Gieren, and on the second night, the bassist Peedu Kass and his band Peedu Kass Momentum joined local musicians from LG Jazz Collective. The fact that Peedu Kass attracted a full house speaks for itself. In November, Peedu kass will perform at the London Jazz Festival.
The opening of the Kumu exhibition 'The Archaeology of the Screen: The Estonian Example' at the BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts
On 14 September, an exhibition of contemporary art, curated by the Estonian Kumu Art Museum, opened at the BOZAR Centre in Brussels, and it was remarkable not only for its content but also its location. Namely, the exhibition opened a new wing of the most important cultural centre of Brussels. Estonians, as we know, like being first! The exhibition is open until 12 November.
The formal concert of the Estonian Presidency at the BOZAR Centre
On 20 September, the Estonian National Male Choir performed at BOZAR, astounding the audience with their masculine tones and surprising programme. The concert also initiated BOZAR's new organ, and organist Toomas Trass brought added power to the event. Endless ovations at the end of the concert testified to the unequivocal success of the evening!
The concert is available to listening at the Klassikaraadio website (in English).
The premiere of the production of A Midsummer Night's Dream by the NO99 Theatre at the Konzerthaus Berlin
In early October, the NO99 Theatre gave three performances at one of the most prestigious concert halls in Berlin, treating local audiences to something novel and refreshing. While a storm was ravaging Berlin before the opening night, the audience left the theatre with a positive shock. The Germans were so thrilled by the production that it moved the head of the concert hall to say he had never seen anything like it before!
The largest ever exhibition of Konrad Mägi opened in Rome
On 9 October, a major exhibition of painter Konrad Mägi was opened at the prestigious Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea. It is the largest exhibition of Mägi's works outside Estonia; it includes nearly 50 paintings and includes his best landscapes. Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid opened the exhibition.
The exhibition runs until 28 January.
Estonian folk instruments and melodies in Brussels
On 19 October, Brussels was alive with the sound of Estonian singing and folk instruments. In the morning, the exhibition 'ALIVE! A story of Estonian traditional music instruments' was opened at one of the most beautiful buildings of the city, the Musical Instruments Museum. At the opening, Torupilli Jussi Trio demonstrated how the displayed instruments actually sound. In workshops, the children of Brussels could try out an Ozark harp and get to know bagpipes. The exhibition is open until 15 April 2018.
In the evening, Maarja Nuut, who skilfully combines the old and the new, performed her mystical tunes from the past at BOZAR. Her concert 'Une meeles' took the audience on a journey into the enchanting forests of Estonia.