In mid-January, the long-awaited tour of the Estonian Festival Orchestra kicked off, led by conductor Paavo Järvi. The tour's launch was marked by the international premiere of Erkki-Sven Tüür's new work "Mythos" in Brussels. A mini festival, dedicated to another well-known Estonian composer, also took place in Brussels. On 26-28 January, the Flagey Building was filled with Arvo Pärt's music, films, exhibitions and lectures inspired by his works. The weekend's performances featuring Tõnu Kaljuste, Risto Joost, Kaspars Putninš, the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra were completely sold out. In addition to the music of Arvo Pärt, the works of Ülo Krigul, Veljo Tormis and Liisa Hirsch were also performed, with the latter composer's work enjoying its premiere. In addition to Brussels, celebrations also reached the United States, where the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, directed by Neeme Järvi, began its tour. Estonian musicians' concerts were also enjoyed in England at the renowned Barbican Centre in London and in Dublin, Ireland, where the Grammy Award-winning Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir performed. The concerts have been a great success, they were completely sold out at both the London and Dublin venues.
In addition to the music events, Michel Sittow's exhibition was opened at the U.S. National Gallery in Washington, in collaboration with the Art Museum of Estonia. Sittow is the first Estonian artist whose works have graced the walls of the National Gallery. Also as part of our centenary celebrations, Estonian jewellery and leather artists had the opportunity to take part in Stockholm Fashion Week, where seven Estonian designers were introduced during the three-day event.
"In January, just a mere few weeks before Estonia's great anniversary, a number of initiatives which took a long time to prepare, were finally launched. For example, both Michel Sittow's exhibition and Arvo Pärt's weekend were in the planning stages for years, requiring the commitment and problem-solving capabilities of countless people. We are truly happy, that both the audience and our partners abroad have appreciated this effort with their gratitude and warm welcome. In addition, more future opportunities for cooperation are being dicussed, thanks to these successes," Head of the Estonia 100 International Programme Jorma Sarv was pleased to announce. According to Sarv, the tempo will not wane in February – various very interesting events will take place in more than 20 cities, starting in Riga all the way to Stockholm, Berlin, Brussels, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Tbilisi and Sydney.
More than 40 events in cooperation with various partners will take place during the centenary month, in addition to dozens of celebrations organised by Estonians abroad and friends of Estonia from New York to Beirut. One of the biggest festivities of Estonians living abroad is the week-long ESTIVAL beginning on 10 February in Stockholm. Travelling from Estonia to perform at ESTIVAL are Trad.Attack!, Mari Kalkun, Liisi Koikson and the popular party circuit "Ennu ratas". Just prior to the Anniversary of the Republic, the Baltikum Festival will begin in Berlin, the opening concert of which is dedicated to the work of Arvo Pärt. Other Estonian artists featured will be Maarja Nuut, as well as Kristjan Randalu and Tuulikki Bartosik performing with the Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra, conducted by Kristjan Järvi. The busy week of February at the Berlin Concert Hall will continue on into March, when Arvo Pärt and Robert Wilson's "Adam's Passion" will be performed outside of Estonia for the first time.
The international programme of Estonia 100 began last year with Estonia holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first time, hosting nearly 100 events in half a year. The celebratory international programme runs until the end of 2018. Although the schedule remains open, as of today 138 events are known to be taking place outside of Estonia to mark the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia.