Alfred Karindi

b. May 30, 1901 Kõnnu village, Illuka parish – d. April 13, 1969 Tallinn
Member of the Estonian Composers' Union since 1944–1950 and from 1954
Buried at Tallinn Forest Cemetery

Alfred Karindi (Karafin until 1935) was a composer, organist and choral conductor. His oeuvre leaves us remarkable pieces for organ and quantity of choral music, solo songs, chamber pieces and orchestral works. He enriched Estonian music scene with his activity as a choral conductor and organist.

Karindi studied organ with Johannes Kärt in Tartu Higher Music School from 1920 and graduated from the same school in composition under Heino Eller in 1927. In 1931, he graduated as an external student from Tallinn Conservatory in organ and composition as a student of August Topman and Artur Kapp.

Karindi worked as a music teacher in Tartu 2nd primary school (1921–1927), Tartu Higher Music School (1925–1928) and University of Tartu (1928–1932). For a long time, he was a teacher of music theory subjects and organ also in Tallinn State Conservatory (1940–1950, 1955–1969, since 1944 the head of theory department, since 1946 professor). Among his students there are Aime Tampere, Gennadi Podelski, Ira Trilljärv and others. Karindi was arrested illegitimately in 1950, thereafter lived in prison camp in Mordva where he was disengaged from in 1954.

As an organist, Karindi was active in Tartu Maarja Church (1925–1929), University of Tartu Church (1929–1933) and Tallinn Kaarli Church (1933–1940 and 1948). His improvisation skill was widely acknowledged.

As a choral conductor, Karindi worked actively in Tartu and Tallinn. He conducted Tartu Male Song Society choir (1925–1928), Tartu Student Mixed Choir (1927–1933), Miina Härma Song Society Mixed Choir (1929–1931), Tartu Maarja Church Mixed Choir (1925–1929) and Mixed Choir „Cantate Domino“ of University of Tartu Church (1929–1933). With the latter one, he gave concerts throughout Estonia and performed Mozart’s Requiem for many times. Also he was the leader of Tallinn Kaarli Church choir (1933–1940, since 1939 Kaarli Oratorio Choir), Tallinn City Servants Male Choir (1935–1938), Tallinn Male Song Society choir (from 1938, 1944–1950 J. Tomp Culture Palace Male Choir) and Tallinn Female Song Society choir (from 1942, 1944–1950 ESSR State Philharmony Female Choir). In 1957 he founded Mixed Choir of Graduates of Higher Schools (since 1992 Alfred Karindi Mixed Choir) and was its chief conductor till the end of his life. In 1947 and 1965 he was a conductor of mixed and female choirs at the general song celebrations.

The main part of Karindi’s work is formed by choral and organ music and solo songs. Also he has written orchestral music (Symphony, Elegiac Poem), chamber pieces and large scale vocal symphonic works (cantatas From the Book of Times, Travelling Waters a.o.). In choral music, composer was furthest fascinated by nature lyrics. His songs in serious mood and with introverted sight has not been performed very often due to their complicated musical language. In the top of his songs there are "Night song" (Anna Haava), "Our proud beach" (Kaarel Korsen), "How gloomy for how long" (Juhan Liiv), "Winter night" (Villem Ridala), "Spring song" (Karl Eduard Sööt). Karindi has altogether 19 organ works, including four sonatas, passacaglias, choral preludes, fugue and others. Lullaby (Berceuse) – 2nd part of the Third Organ Sonata, is one of the most popular pieces in Estonian organ music.

Alfred Karindi was ascribed the honorary title of Estonian SSR Honoured Worker in Arts (1947) and Estonian SSR State Award (1948). In 1986, the memorial table was opened in composer’s birthplace Kõnnu village.

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