Peeter Lilje 70
October 17, 2020 in the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre Hall
Soloist: Ivari Ilja (piano)
Conductor: Arvo Volmer
Estonian National Opera Female Chorus
Peeter Lilje (1950–1993) was one of the most remarkable conductors in the Estonian music scene. “He was delicately aware of the nuances of a piece and was willing to fine-tune them endlessly, so that they would reach the audience in their entirety. At the same time, you could clearly hear the unstoppable flow of the music, as if an arch above all the elements: it seemed that the arrangement would last forever, until at one point you would know that it is, after all, ending, and that the ending comes at precisely the right time and in the right manner. Such an understanding of the whole is known to few,” Merike Vaitmaa writes in the article “The Unforgettable Peeter Lilje”, 21.09.2018, Sirp.
The numerous concerts and opera performances he conducted attest to a fruitful artist who dedicated his life to music. The co-operation between Peeter Lilje and the National Opera lasted for 21 years with him starting out as a chorus master and assistant conductor in 1972–1975, and since 1975 as a conductor. During this time, Peeter Lilje brought more than 20 operas to the stage, including Tubin’s “Barbara von Tisenhusen”, Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” and “La Fille du regiment”, Verdi’s “La traviata”, “Attila” and “A Masked Ball”, Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” and “The Magic Flute”, Tamberg’s “Cyrano de Bergerac” and “Flight”, Stravinsky’s “The Rake’s Progress”, Prokofiev’s “Betrothal in a Monastery”, Bizet’s “Carmen” and Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly”. His last one was “Albert Herring”, which premiered in September 1993.
In 1980–1990, he was the principal conductor of Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, conducting many orchestras from the Soviet Union and from abroad then as well as later on.
From 1990 until his death in October 1993, Peeter Lilje worked as the principal conductor of the Oulu Symphony Orchestra. He also conducted opera performances at the Oulu City Theatre and was the first guest conductor of the Kuopio Symphony Orchestra in 1990–1992
At the concert in memory of Peeter Lilje, the following will be performed: one of W. A. Mozart’s most famous pieces, Symphony No. 31 in D major, K. 297, subtitled “The Paris Symphony”, Eduard Tubin’s suite from the ballet “Kratt”, and Frédéric Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11, with Ivari Ilja as the soloist.