Peeter Laja

b. December 12, 1897 Meeksi parish – d. April 13, 1970 Pärnu
Member of the Estonian Composers' Union 1945–1950 and 1952–1970
Buried at the Raadi cemetary in Tartu

Music pedagogue, organist and composer Peeter Lajas was a versatile figure in Estonian music field, who, in addition to composing and being talented organ and piano player, directed several choirs, performed as a solo singer, founded Pärnu Music School and published piano schoolbooks.

Peeter Laja graduated from Tartu Griwing Music School in 1919 and Tallinn Conservatory in 1925 in organ performance under August Topman and composition under Artur Kapp. In 1928, he also completed his studies in speciality of singing and music teacher.

He was active as an organist in EELC Tartu (1919–1921), Tallinn St. John’s (1921–1926) and Võru St. Catherine’s congregation. Since 1919, he permanently gave organ concerts, performing together with symphony orchestra as well. He worked as a music teacher in Tartu, Tallinn, Võru, Väimela and Pärnu. In 1945, he founded Pärnu Music School, in which he worked as a principal from 1945–1950.

Peeter Laja has conducted various choirs, including mixed choir "Raudam" in Tallinn (1922), mixed choir of "Kannel" society in Võru (1926–1931), mixed choir of "Endla" society in Pärnu and Pärnu male choir of Estonian Academic Music Society (from 1933). He directed joint choirs in Võru Song Days (1926–1930) and Pärnumaa Song Festival (1934), also was a organiser of the general song celebrations in 1928 and 1933.

Laja has been performed as a pianist, written music critics and published a schoolbooks in piano performance ("Klaverimängu õpetus", I 1935, II 1937).

Peeter Laja worklist consists of symphonic, organ, chamber and wind music. His music can be characterised by romantic mode of expression.

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