ECMTA Autumn Gathering 2015 took place October 30 to November 1 at the Heino Eller School in Tartu, Estonia. The gathering was filled with seminars, workshops and concerts from Friday afternoon till Sunday. In addition to chamber music ensembles from music schools in Tartu and Tallinn, there were welcome student ensembles from participating ECMTA partners. As in previous gatherings and meetings ECMTA teachers and professors were invited to give master classes.
The Autumn Gathering was organized by The Heino Eller Tartu Music College in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Research, Estonian Cultural Capital and the City of Tartu for financial support. Our partners for organising the program were Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre and University of Tartu, our colleagues, chamber music professors from Tallinn and Tartu. There were 3 different size halls, including a brand new concert hall, for masterclasses, lectures and concerts, as well as a large number of rehearsal and classrooms for meetings, lessons and practice. Their work in collaboration with local and state authorities, as well as with the Estoniana Academy of Music and Theatre in Tallinn, provided many examples of best practice that was of great interest to ECMTA members.
Friday 30th October, the first day of the Autumn Gathering, was a resounding success. Students ensembles and teachers participating from Tallinn, Riga and Espoo in the FEsTaRi arrived on Thursday night and Friday morning, and in the afternoon the first concert of the festival in Eller Hall featured music by Estonian, Latvian and Finnish composers. In the evening the FEsTaRi teachers were joined by ECMTA delegates for a welcome cocktail, followed by the inaugural concert of the Autumn Gathering, featuring all Estonian students from the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, the G. Ots Tallinn Music High School, Tallinn Music High School and the H. Eller Tartu Music College giving expert performances of Estonian chamber music by Kapp, Sink, Tubin, Kareva, Rääts and Mägi. After the concert, a bus was provided to take all students and teachers to the Soo Guesthouse, 10 km outside of Tartu in the countryside, for a traditional meal in a beautifully restored farmhouse. Halfway through the meal, served on enormous platters to participants seated a long wooden tables, the University folk dancing club arrived in colourful costumes to provide not only entertainment but instruction: at one point almost the entire room was dancing. A magical evening to conclude a day rich in musical discoveries, with special thanks to our hosts and the Estonian Cultural Endowment.
The second day of FEsTaRI and the ECMTA Autumn Gathering on Saturday 31st October has come to a majestic conclusion with a fabulous banquet at the Eduard Vilde restaurant in Tartu. There was no dancing tonight, but delicious food and drink, some short films about the culture, nature and history of Estonia, and one delightful Latvian birthday celebration. It was a day of incredibly intense activity: 5 presentations in the Members forum, masterclasses, the FEsTaRi concert at 14.00, our guest speakers from Tartu University - Music and the Brain - then our workgroups followed by the ECMTA evening concert at 19.00... then dinner! Beautiful performances, fascinating talks, stimulating discussions, inspiring projects!
On Sunday 1st of November there was a splendid conclusion to the FEsTaRi Student Chamber Music Festival and the ECMTA Autumn Gathering: after a morning filled with an incredible number of simultaneous masterclasses, the ECMTA workgroups came together to discuss ways of integrating research on the benefits and requirements of chamber music training into more long-term projects for both education in general and professional development in particular. After a wonderfully lively and wholesome lunch in the Eller School's cafeteria the delegates, students and public were treated to an elegant and enthusiastic final concert, featuring along with the student ensembles a rousing arrangement of a Bach Prelude and Fugue played by the Tartu Horn Choir, performances of professors from Tartu and Espoo, and an almost dramatic incident involving a broken cello string... the result of which was a change in the order of the programme that allowed us to leave the hall with J. Medins Romance in our ears. Speeches of thanks as well as the boisterous reception following the concert, framed the event in a spirit of mutual appreciation and friendship.
Many thanks again to Kadri Leivategija and the H. Eller Tartu Music College, who did marvellous work in organizing the meeting. ECMTA Autumn Gathering 2015 took place October 30 to November 1 at the Heino Eller School in Tartu, Estonia.
Photos: Petras Kúnca