Kaljo Raid

March 4, 1921 Tallinn–January 21, 2005 Richmond Hill, Ontario
Buried at Toronto York cemetery

Kaljo Raid was one of the most reknown expatriate Estonian composer, talented cellist, fruitful publicist and longtime pastor.

Kaljo Raid graduated from Tallinn Conservatory in composition under Heino Eller in 1944, where he studied also cello with August Karjus and orchestral conducting with Olav Roots. He played cello in Theatre Estonia orchestra (1938–1941) and State Broadcast Symphony Orchestra (1942–1944).

In 1944, Kaljo Raid emigrated to Sweden, where he studied theology at the University of Stockholm. In 1946, he moved to USA, where he graduated from the Andover Newton Theological School in Massachusetts. He improved his skills in cello in the masterclasses of Misha Nieland and Raya Garbousova (1949), and in composition in Tanglewood Berkshire Music Center at the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s summer course (supervisor Jacques Ibert, 1950) as well as in Colorado Aspen Institute summer course (supervisors Darius Milhaud and Charles Jones, 1951–1953).

Kaljo Raid worked in Minnesota St Paul Bethel College as a teacher of music theory, composition and cello (1949–1953), from the year 1954 he was a longtime pastor of Toronto Estonian Baptist Church. He performed as a cellist at the concerts and events of Estonian community, often together with violinist Valdeko Kangro. In 1987, he completed the orchestration of the first movement of Eduard Tubin’s Symphony No. 11. He wrote forewords and edited religious books, published sermons, articles, books and travelogues. Travels took him to Australia, Brasil, Israel and other countries. In 1964, he made a three month trip around the world, also he stayed longer in South America (1966) and Africa (1970). Kaljo Raid was an initiator of cultural life of expatriate Estonians and founder of the weekly estonian language radio broadcasts.

Kaljo Raid’s worklist contains about 500 titles, including four symphonies, chamber music, solo songs, cantata Proverbs and choral songs. His music has been performed on concert stages, in churches, on radio and televison both in Europe and North America. In 1996, his author evenings took place in Estonia. One of his significant works is opera Fiery Chariots that was first perfomed in 1996 in Toronto on the occasion of composer’s 75th birthday. "Mary's Song of Praise" was in the program of Estonian Song Celebration in 1994.

In Raid’s music, Christian worldview manifests, foremost expressed in vocal works but in several instrumental pieces as well. He has used various modern techniques such as dodecaphony and polyrhythm, but also has derived the inspiration from folk music and early music.

His music has been published in Canada, Estonia and Germany, including author CD-s "Chamber Music by Kaljo Raid" (1996), "Kaljo Raid 80. Johannes Tall 75" (2003) and "Estonian composers in North America. Volume 1. Kaljo Raid" (2007). His choir songs have appeared in print in compendiums "Four Christmas Carols" (1994) and "Christmas Carols 1939–1993" (1994), arrangements of folk songs for voice and piano in collection "Estonian Folksongs" (1991).

In 1996, Estonian Central Council in Canada gave an Order of Merit to Kaljo Raid.

© EMIK 2015

The texts on the EMIC's homepage are protected by the copyright law. They can be used for non-commercial purposes referring to the author (when specified) and source (Estonian Music Information Centre).