Martin Klusák / / Impressions of Tartu

It was an interesting coincidence to be part of TAiR in the first place. One wonders about how, being a musician, I decided to place an application in a printmaking museum residency in Estonia. There was something really interesting in Estonian music that had driven my interest this geographical way – in the past, I loved exploring music of Arvo Pärt, Erkki-Sven Tüür, Veljo Tormis, Lepo Sumera, and others. I wouldn’t have guessed that I would meet one of these composers in person one day.

I was never sure if I came across the open call of the TAiR by just browsing possibilities online, or by clicking on a Facebook post of my friend Tina-Maria Aalto from Finland, who had been a resident artist in Tartu a few years ago.

However, what triggered all, was this years’ topic of the Tartu residency – “The 100th anniversary of the independence of Estonia”. I had two composition commissions, both of which were to be premiered in Prague in 2018 – one should celebrate the 100th anniversary of the independence of Czechoslovakia, the other one was going to be performed alongside Arvo Pärt’s Tabula Rasa and ideally should reflect upon the aesthetics of this piece. So I decided to go for it, and try this application. I was really pleased when I got to know I was going to Tartu in January 2018.

 

In the beginning, I intended to work like a hermit, close myself up in the apartment or in a library, and work. Later it was clear there were so many sources of inspirations around that I decided to explore them while having this opportunity.

Salme, Lemmit, Agnieszka and others were really helpful in providing me the necessary connections in Tartu to get it touch with the local music community. Meeting the composer Age Veeroos was quite essential, together we visited a few concerts, such as the world premiere of Errki-Sven Tüür’s 9th symphony in Tallinn, or a concert in the Jaani church, where a composition of Age’s talented student Marta-Liisa Talvet was premiered. Age also introduced me to the local music school staff and facilities, and organized a composer’s talk there, where Marta-Liisa and I presented our works.

Among other events I had the chance to see, there was a concert of the Estonian Chamber Philharmonic Choir (which featured music of Arvo Pärt and Guillaume de Machaut in a really interesting way using Estonian historical instruments), the opera Estonian History: A Nation Born of Shock (whose authors I also had the chance to meet in person), and three Estonian films –  “November”, “Mehetapja / Süütu / Vari”, and “Suur Tõll”.

All of this was really inspirational and led me to creating new sound recordings and a fragment of a new sound piece.

 

I also enjoyed Tartu’s surrounding areas, I found the Tähtvere park and Tiksoja woods quite nice for jogging. Agnieszka also recommended me to visit Taevaskoda, which is a beautiful sacred natural area not far from Tartu. And of course, I visited Tallinn several times, such a beautiful city!

Thanks to Age, Salme and other friends, I got in touch with the music academy in Tallinn and now we are hoping for a future staff exchange between them and my academy in Prague.

Swimming in the winter sea

What I’ll never forget about, are two truly nordic experiences – one of them was walking on a frozen river near Taevaskoda, the other was jumping in the Baltic sea – I was happy to try out this crazy Estonian habit of winter swimming, and it wasn’t bad at all!

Had there been more time, I would have explored the shores of the Peipsi lake as well. But at least there is a reason to visit Tartu once again sometime.

 

My residency ended with two gigs, where I had the possibility to present my pieces – one organized by Salme and the Genialistide Klubi in Tartu, and the other one by Henri Hütt and the MIMstuudio in Tallinn, where I was invited to present one of my audiovisual projects.

I did an important part of my composition work as well, and I was happy that Tartu was a good trigger of inspiration! I find this the most important aspect of my stay and hopefully will benefit from it very much in the future. Thank you Lemmit, Salme, Agnieszka, Age, and many more of you! for this wonderful experience in Tartu!

Comments are closed.