Ants Sõber

November 30.1928 Tudu village, Roela parish, Virumaa county – June 30, 1995 Tallinn
Member of the Estonian Composers' Union since 1955
Member of the Estonian Theatre Union since 1974

Ants Sõber studied in Rakvere I Gymnasium (1942–1945) and Rakvere Teachers’ Seminar (1945–1947). In 1949, he graduated from Tallinn Music School in music theory, having studied there also composition under Villem Kapp. The same year, he graduated also from the Tallinn Teachers’ Institute in mathematics and physics and in 1954, composition from the Tallinn State Conservatory as a student of Aado Velmet and Heino Eller.

Ants Sõber worked as a teacher of mathematics and physics in Tallinn I Secondary School (1949–1954), the chief inspector of the Estonian SSR Government of Arts (1954–1957), chief editor of music broadcasts in Estonian Radio (1957–1970), consultant by Estonian Composers’ Union (1970–1973) and director of Theatre Estonia (1973–1988).

In Ants Sõber’s oeuvre, mainly works connected with vocal are prevailing. Considerable part in it is formed by vocal-symphonic music from which the most extensive piece is the oratorio Armies with Flags on the poetry of Jaan Kross. Among others, his worklist includes children cantatas Summer of Pioneers, Boys’ Song and The World Is Made for Boys. For children, Sõber has created also numerous songs and two songplays on texts by Liina Raudsik – Spring Party in the Forest and The Dream of Little Mari. In vocal chamber music, the dominating genre is solo song cycle with accompanying instruments like piano, organ, piano quintet, wind quintet and others. Many choral songs have been collected into cycles as well (African Songs, Three Vernal Songs, Seven Autumn Moments). Ants Sõber’s music includes also symphonic music (two symphonies, two organ concertos), chamber works (five string quartets, wind quintet, pieces for clarinet, oboe, French horn, trumpet) and stage music (operetta Crossing Roads, opera Arve Jomm). Eloquent images, strong sense of form, reliance on polyphonic develpoment and melodies based on folksy songs are characterising Ants Sõber’s music. Composer’s interest in topics of contemporary life is reflecting in his creation.

Ants Sõber is Estonian SSR Merted Worker of Art (1987) and laureate of Estonian SSR Annual Music Award (1983).

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