Harri Kõrvits

October 16, 1915 Paide – April 9, 2003 Tallinn
Member of the Estonian Composers' Union since 1944
Member of the Estonian Association of Journalists since 1964
Buried in Tallinn Forest Cemetery

Musicologist and composer Harri Kõrvits studied in Tallinn Conservatory organ in the class of Hugo Lepnurm (1939–1940), choral and orchestral conducting with Tuudur Vettik and Olav Roots (1940–1941), and graduated from the conservatory in musicology under the tutelage of Artur Vahter (1952).

Harri Kõrvits was sexton and organist in Koeru church (1935–1938) and Tallinn St. Charles’s church (1939–1940), he also belonged in the State Artistic Ensembles of the Estonian SSR in Yaroslavl during the war (1942–1944).

Harri Kõrvits had different positions in Estonian music life: he was a director of music department of Estonian SSR Government of Arts (1943–1945), inspector of music department of Estonian SSR Government of Arts (1949–1953), secretary in chief of the Estonian Composers’ Union (1944–1950), artistic director of the Estonian Radio (1945–1949), director of Estonian Theatre and Music Museum (1953–1959), editor in chief of the music broadcasts in Estonian Radio (1970–1975) and editor of the music broadcasts in Estonian Radio (1975–1987). He also worked as a chief of department in Estonian SSR State Central Archive (1959–1962) and was director of the culture department of magazine Eesti Kommunist (1962–1970).

Harri Kõrvits supervised musicology students in Tallinn State Conservatory (1952–1962), researched Estonian music history, contributed to the books "Estonian music" I (1968) and II (1975). He has written monographs of Eugen Kapp (Moscow, 1959; Tallinn, 1964), Tiit Kuusik (Tallinn, 1963), Karl Ots (Tallinn, 1968), Eduard Sõrmus (Tallinn, 1968; Tallinn, 1972; Leipzig, 1978). He compiled comprehensive series of radio broadcasts ("Hundred years of Estonian violin music" as an example), as well as compiled and edited the publication "Estonian Folk Songs" (1954–1965, alternately with Aado Velmet).

Harri Kõrvits has written choral-, folksy and popular songs, music for plays and also lyrics. "Yachtsmen's song" and "Karepa Waltz" have gained wider popularity. Choral songs "Famous weaver", "The weaver", "Forest planting song" and "An oath" have been performed in song celebrations. In 1990ies, he wrote numerous sacred choral-, solo- and children’s songs, his songbook "15 Chorales" was published in 1998.

Harri Kõrvits is the Merited Cultural Worker of the Estonian SSR (1985).

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