Anton Kasemets

December 10, 1890 Rabivere manor, Kohila parish – January 11, 1978 Toronto, Canada

Musicologist and choir conductor, author of solo and choral songs.

Having obtained the grounding in harmonium at home, Kasemets substituted organist Theodor Tedder in Tallinn Kaarli church already from 1904. 1908–1914, Kasemets studied organ in St. Petersburg Conservatory in the class of Louis Homilius and Jacques Samuel Handschin, and composition with Vassili Kalafat, Mikhail Chernov and Maximilian Steinberg, he also gave there gymnasium examinations (1912). Thereafter he improved his skills in Berlin (1922) and Vienna (1928) in the field of music pedagogy and choir conducting. In 1935, he graduated as an extern from the Tallinn Conservatory as a highschool music teacher.

He conducted numerous choirs: choirs of St. Petersburg Estonian Education Society (1909–1914), choir of Tallinn Kaarli Congregation (1916–1918), mixed choir of School Youth Music Society (1918–1924), mixed choir of Tallinn Department of All-Estonian Youth Association (1925–1929).

In 1922, Kasemets was selected the member of the council and board of the Estonian Singers’ Union. In 1925–1927 he worked as an editor by Muusikaleht and as a music teacher in standard education schools in Tallinn. In 1929–1933 he held a post of director of Theatre Estonia and after that continued pedagogical activities in English College as an assistant director and in Tallinn Conservatory as a pedagogue of choir conducting and music history (1941–1944). Kasemets was one of the general leaders of VIII and IX Estonian Song Celebration, Tallinn youth song celebrations, Virumaa II Song Celebration and several song days.

Kasemets researched music theory and music history, he compiled many study books on music: Elementary Music Study (1918, second printings 1921 and 1924), Study of Counterpoint, Canon, Fugue and Musical Forms (1934), Development of Estonian Music (1937), Music of Estonian Emigrees (Kauge Kodu 1, 1946). He also translated Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Practical Manual of Harmony (1921) and A. Maltsev’s Study of Vocal Training (1920), and was estimated music critic (mainly at magazine „Vaba maa“) as well. In 1944, Kasemets escaped to Germany and was active as a music teaher and conductor of Estonia choirs in Geislingen and Bamberg. In 1950, he moved to USA – worked in Detroit as a music teacher and performed as an organist. Since 1972 he lived in Canada. In 1939, he was ascribed the Order of the Estonian Red Cross, IV Class.