Uno Naissoo

March 25, 1928 Viljandi – January 5, 1980 Tallinn
Member of the Estonian Composers' Union since 1954

Uno Naissoo excelled in diverse musical activity – he was a composer, pedagogue, active musical figure, musical theorist and jazz musician. His abundant song oeuvre belongs into the treasury of Estonian music. Also his contribution to jazz teaching and organizing musical life is priceless.

Naissoo entered to Tallinn State Conservatory in Tuudur Vettik’s choral conducting class in 1946, from 1947 he studied Heino Eller’s composition class which he graduated from in 1952.

Naissoo was a longtime pedagogue of music theory subjects in Georg Ots Tallinn Music School (1952–1980), thereat initiator and director of popular music department founded in 1977, and teacher of popular music also in Tallinn State Conservatory (1979–1980). For a long time he supervised the youth section of Estonian Composers’ Union (1954–1980).

Naissoo has directed ensembles Swing Club (1947–1957), Rütmikud (1948–1950), Metronoom, Stuudio 8, Ekspromt 4 and Tallinn Music School Jazz Ensemble, where he himself played piano, accordion, double bass, althorn and valve trombone. He was one of the founder of Estonian Radio Male Quartet (1960) and Tallinn Chamber Choir (1962). In 1947, he established the first Estonian jazz organization Swing Club and was one of the generator and artistic director of Tallinn jazz festivals (1949).

Naissoo has created mainly popular and jazz music. His oeuvre consists of hundreds of songs and numerous pieces for ensemble and orchestra (incl. 7 jazz suites), as well as choral works, wind and folk music, music for children, film and theatre music. Naissoo’s style has been described as a combination of West Coast jazz, bepop, Estonian folk music and methods of new music. Among his popular songs one can find both folksy fooling songs and domestic pictures as well as finely harmonized concert romances. The most wellknown of them are "My home", "When it’s Midsummer Day", "The May began in March", "If you want to be good", "Cowberries glow on the heath" and others. The most poplar is also his music to feature film "The Last Relict" (written together with his son Tõnu Naissoo). Major part of his songs are written on Heldur Karmo’s texts, yet he has used also poetry by Hando Runnel, Leelo Tungal, Viktor Sokolov and others. His jazz pieces and songs have gained international fame (most known performers: Finnish music Olli Häme and English saxophone player Brice Turner). His music is regularly presented at the jazz festivals both in Estonia (Jazzkaar) and abroad. His works have deserved several prizes at the competitions, including 2nd prize at the all-union festival in 1962 and many awards at the republican competitions.

Hes has published musical theoretical discussions and criticism in periodicals and is an author of several music schoolbooks (The Basis of Harmony, 1961; Jazz Harmony and Orchestration, 1969; Elementary Harmony, 1977; Harmony for Advanced Students, 1977).

Uno Naissoo has been ascribed the title of Estonian SSR Merited Art Worker (1965) and Estonian SSR People’s Artist (1978). He has deserved the Literary and Art Award of Young Communist League of Estonia for his youth songs (1974) and Annual Music Award of Estonian SSR (1976). From 1983, Uno Naissoo composition contest takes place in Georg Ots Tallinn Music School.

Naissoo’s author-CD-s are "Mälestusi kodust" (Melodija, 1978) and "Dedication" (Forte, 1995). His songs have been published in several compendiums (Estonian Department of USSR Music Foundation, 1961 and 1965; Estonian State Publishing House, 1962; Eesti Raamat 1973 and 1978; SP Muusikaprojekt, 1997).

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