Alo Mattiisen

April 22, 1961 Jõgeva – May 30, 1996 Tallinn
Member of the Estonian Composers' Union since 1988

Alo Mattiisen’s name became widely known during the Singing Revolution in 1987–1988, when he achieved great popularity for his protest and patriotic songs: at first with song "No Land Is Alone" (1987), written for the support of the Phosphorite War in Virumaa region and then with "Five Awakening Songs" (1988), composed to enthuse the national re-awakening of Estonians with the help of song and lyrics. Although the songs (over 80) form the major part of Mattiisen’s oeuvre, he has also composed large-scale vocal works (e.g. two oratorios, two musicals, short opera, cantata), music for symphony orchestra (e. g. symphony), choral music, instrumental pieces and numerous music for plays, films, and TV productions, also electronic music.

Alo Mattiisen received the secondary education from the Jõgeva 1st Secondary School and studied piano at the Jõgeva Music School for Children. In 1984, Mattiisen graduated from the Tallinn State Conservatory in music pedagogics with Heino Rannap and in 1988, in composition with Prof. Eino Tamberg.

In 1983, when Erkki-Sven Tüür left the ensemble In Spe, Alo Mattiisen became the new leader, composer and keyboard player in the ensemble. The cooperation with In Spe lasted about ten years. Mattiisen has worked as the music teacher in Jõelähtme School and as the music editor in Estonian Radio and Commercial Television (Reklaamitelevisoon). Later he was active as a volunteer composer.

Alo Mattiisen has composed nearly 200 works in different genres. He received the first recognition in Tartu Music Days, especially with the Concerto for Tape-machine in D major (1984), performed by ensemble In Spe. Next to songs, also musicals Charlotte’s Web (1983) and The Little Mermaid, oratorios The Green Egg (1985) and Näärmed (1987) and short opera Dispute (1995) are the most popular from among Mattiisen’s works.

Mattiisen’s diverse vocal music includes mainly light music songs, but he has also written choral music. He has used mostly texts written by his classmate, writer and poet Jüri Leesment. His songs have been performed by pop singers Ivo Linna, Henry Laks, Silvi Vrait, Antti Kammiste, Janika Sillamaa, ensembles In Spe and Jäääär and many others. Several his songs have been performed at Estonian Song Celebrations and other great-monumental events. In addition, many of his works have won prizes at competitions, like The Green Egg and Facing the Time. In 1996, short opera Dispute was awarded the Annual Prize of Estonian Cultural Foundation.

Alo Mattiisen’s music are available on many compact discs and author CD-s, like "Lähedased laulud" (AM, 1993), "Ajaga silmitsi" (Eesti Raadio, 1997), "Roheline muna. Näärmed" (Klesment Audio Productions, 2000), "Alo Mattiisen: 50 parimat laulu" (Hitivabrik 2004). Also documentary about Alo Mattiisen has been released (Eesti Telefilm, 1988).

Alo Mattiisen has received the Estonian SSR Annual Prize for music (1988, 1989) and the Estonian State Cultural Award (1996). Since 1997, annual Alo Mattiisen Music Days are organised in Jõgeva, the memorial room of the composer is established in the Betti Alver Museum in Jõgeva.

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