Who is Tõnu Kaljuste?
Born in Tallinn, Kaljuste is the child of Heino Kaljuste, an Estonian choral conductor, and Lia Kaljuste, a radio journalist. Tõnu sang in his father's choirs as a child, and graduated from the Tallinn Music High School in 1971. He completed a graduate degree at the Tallinn Conservatory in 1976, studying with Jüri Variste and Roman Matsov, and continued as a postgraduate at the Leningrad Conservatory until 1978.
Kaljuste took his father's role as leader of the Ellerhein Chamber choir in 1974, an ensemble that performed choral works ranging from Renaissance music to contemporary avant-garde music. He was professor of choral conducting at the Tallinn Conservatory from 1978 to 1980, and won the Best Conductor prize at the 1980 Béla Bartók International Choral Competition. With financial support from the Estonian government, Kaljuste turned the Ellerhein Chamber Choir into a full-time ensemble, and renamed it the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir in 1981. Kaljuste also conducted with the Estonian National Opera between 1978 and 1995.
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