May 9, 1907 Kidaste village, Kõrgessaare parish, Hiiumaa – November 11, 1982 Tallinn
Member of the Estonian Composer's Union 1946–1948
Johannes Kappel was organist, conductor, composer of sacred music and founder of Tallinn Dome Church Symphony Orchestra.
After taking theology studies at the Tallinn Baptist Theology Seminar, Johannes Kappel obtained his musical education at the Tallinn Conservatoire, from where he graduated in 1936 majoring in organ (Prof. August Topman) and in 1940 in composition (Prof. Artur Kapp). In conservatoire he also studied choral conducting with August Topman.
In 1945–1948, he worked at the Tallinn State Conservatoire and the Tallinn Music School as a music theory teacher and secretary of studies but due to his religious views was removed from work as well as from the Estonian Composers’ Union.
In 1954–1982, he was organist and conductor at the Tallinn Dome Church, where he founded the Dome Church Symphony Orchestra in 1956. The orchestra acted until 1984.
From 1960 to 1982, Kappel worked at the Institute of Theology as lecturer in church music and main conductor of the students’ choir. Under his conducting, the choir performed movements from large-scale vocal-symphonic works in co-operation with the Dome Church Symphony Orchestra. The choir gave numerous concerts in churches all over Estonia, also in Riga, Petseri, Pushkino and Finland.
Kappel also organized portrait concerts of Estonian composers, including Enn Võrk, August Topman, Hugo Lepnurm and concerts of his own sacred music.
Johannes Kappel’s oeuvre is not very numerous – he has written a few instrumental works, solo and choir songs, and four sacred cantatas for choir. His music is characterized by romantic expressions and rich emotionality.
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