Juhan Simm

August 12, 1885 Kivilõppe village, Vana-Suislepa parish – December 20, 1959 Tartu
Member of the Estonian Composers' Union since 1945
Honorary member of the EAssociation of Professional Actors of Estonia since 1935

Composer and conductor.

Juhan Simm studied in faculty of physics and mathematics of University of Tartu (1906–1910), conducting under Alexander von Fielitz and composition under Wilhelm Klatte in Berlin Stern Conservatory (1912–1914). Thereafter he improved his skills in conducting in Grand Opéra in Paris in 1924.

In 1906–1910, Simm played cello in Vanemuine orchestra, from 1914–1916 he was a music director and 1916–1941 a conductor in Vanemuine Theatre. Also he worked as a teacher of music theory subjects and conducting (1926–1927 and 1944–1951) in Tartu Music School. In 1908, Simm founded a male choir in Tartu that since 1912 beared the name of Estonian Students’ United Male Choir and is known as a Tartu Academic Male Choir from 1965 till today. In 1923, he founded also Male Choir of Tartu Male Song Society (Juhan Simm Male Choir) and conducted Mixed Choir of Vanemuine Music Department as well (1916–1925).

Simm was intensively bound with the organizing song celebrations – he was one of the general directors of general song celebrations in 1923, 1933, 1938, 1947 and 1950, also at several county song days and male song days. In addition to activity as a musician, he published the music criticism.

His oeuvre, national romatic in style, consists mainly of choral music, including An Island of My Own  and To Mulgimaa that belong to a permanent repertoire of many choirs and general song celebrations, and popular songplay Wooing Ride.

Juhan Simm has been ascribed the title of Merited Conductor (1936) and Estonian SSR People’s Artist (1947), Golden Badge of the Estonian Actors’ Union (1936) and Order of the Estonian Red Cross 3rd Class (1938).

© EMIC 2014

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).