XXV Festival ORIENT et OCCIDENT
Dear festival guests,
Our festival Orient et Occident has reached its 25th year â€“ this is a whole quarter of a century. If we consider life and history more broadly, this is but a droplet in the ocean of time. Still, if we look at how many extraordinary phenomena have emerged at the festival during these years and how much has changed within and around us during this time, it looks like the period were not so short after all. Everything is relative. A whole new generation has been born and has grown up and we also have to face the fact that several among us have departed. At this point I would like to recall Jaan Unt, the legendary lecturer and a friend whom we often consulted on the languages and cultures of the Classical Antiquity and who gave a brilliant talk at our first festival on the influence of the Greek culture of the Antiquity on later European culture throughout the centuries. I would also like to mention Professor Helmut PiirimĂ¤e who during these years shared with us many interesting points of knowledge on the role of Tartu as a historical meeting point of trade routes and cultural trajectories between the East and the West. Professor PiirimĂ¤e also participated as a lecturer in several concerts-cum-talks of the FA Schola Ensemble. Also Professor Peeter Tulviste, who in his role as the Rector of the University supported research into early music as well as other activities in the field and the emergence of the festival, is no longer with us. Nevertheless, the festival will not forget its friends and we hope that the refreshing reverberations of music and fine arts will sound further than this temporal world.
The organisation of this yearâ€™s festival has by no means been easy due to the world-wide virus pandemic. Nevertheless we will attempt to bring to you a colourful programme on two great festival evenings. The performers include Paul Grant (Switzerland) who is playing santur and tabla at this festival. His accompanying ensemble consists of Arno Kalbus (tabla) and Saile Johanna Langsepp (tambura). Paul Grant is one of the few Western musicians to have become a top performer in the world of Asian music. He started his journey as a musician playing rock, jazz and blues, but already in 1972 he became devoted to classical Asian music cultures, playing and teaching santur, sitar and tabla. For the first time, it will be possible to hear kora, the traditional harp-like African instrument that will be played by the virtuoso young instrumentalist Noumassan DembelĂ© from Burkina Faso. The festival audience is already familiar with Dariush Rasouli from Iran who plays the Persian ney and uncontestedly belongs to the best in his field both as regards his mastery of the instrument and his profound understanding of music and the world. The KuuKuu ensemble will perform both melodies from the archaic layer of the Japanese shakuhachi as well as improvisations that lead back to Estonian folk music. The festival also welcomes conductor and violinist Andres Mustonen, the founder and leader of the group Hortus Musicus, and violinist and multi-instrumentalist Taivo NiitvĂ¤gi, an once member of Hortus Musicus who has been leading the group Linnamuusikud (City Musicians) that he founded in 1983. The festival is hosted by the FA Schola Ensemble that celebrates 20 years of activities under this name, while also continuing an uninterrupted tradition that was started 35 years ago by what was then called the Tartu Early Music Ensemble and continued under the name of Via Sonora starting from the early 1990s.
We wish all of you sound health and wonderful festival experiences!