Timo Steiner

b. May 6, 1976, Tallinn
Member of the Estonian Composers' Union since 1999

Timo Steiner is a composer with an open mind, whose music is characterized by playful stylistic contrasts, variant development and a mosaic-like or block-based structure.

Timo Steiner graduated in 1994 from the composition department of the Tallinn Music High School (teachers René Eespere, Toomas Trass, Mati Kuulberg) and in 1999 from the Estonian Academy of Music as a student of Prof. Jaan Rääts. From 1999 to 2001 he studied in the Academy’s master’s degree program under Raimo Kangro. Steiner has also attended Prof. Marek Stachowski’s master classes in Rostock, Germany, and improved his skills at the Moscow Conservatoire under Prof. Roman Ledenev.

In 1997, Timo Steiner founded the Bowed Piano Ensemble and served as its artistic director (the ensemble was conceived for the NYYD Festival and was active until 2000, recording music for Estonian Radio; many Estonian composers wrote pieces for the group).

In 1999, Timo Steiner, along with composer Ülo Krigul, laid the foundation for the Estonian Academy of Music’s Autumn Festival. In 2000, Steiner joined the Estonian Music Days organizing committee and since 2003 has been its artistic director. From 1996, Steiner teaches composition and music theory at the Tallinn Music High School, and since autumn 2005, serves as TMHS's director.

Besides Estonian contemporary music festivals, Timo Steiner’s works have been performed in Lithuania (Musica Ficta in Vilnius, 1997), the US (Descendants of Cain in San Francisco, 1999), Russia (cantata Until We Meet at the festival From Avant-Garde to the Present Day, St. Petersburg, 1999; Meisterwerk at the festival The Seasons in Moscow, 2003), Germany (Salute to Europe in Weimar, 2003; In memoriam at the Internationales Jugendmusik Festival im Rodachtal, 2004) and more.

In 1998, Steiner’s Diary of Minotaur won the guitar works competition at the Estonian Music Days Festival. The chamber orchestra work Sunrise Academy won the Estonian Academy of Music competition and was played at the inauguration of the new Academy building in 1999. In 2002, Timo Steiner won the Heino Eller prize. Steiner has twice received the Annual Prize of the Endowment for Music of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia: for artistic direction of the Estonian Music Days Festival and Estonian music propaganda in 2006 and for a new opera of original style, and efficient activities in media and education in 2011. In 2019, Timo Steiner was awarded the Music Prize of the Estonian Music Council. Estonian Public Broadcasting has released Timo Steiner's author CD The Clouds Will Disturb (2008).

Timo Steiner:

* I always have several dozen versions of my pieces. I try out different ideas and roads.

* Storytelling is important, even in an instrumental piece. Naturally it is an abstract story, characters that develop; a vision as a series of pictures. One picture is of a wintry day – the sun and the snow glittering, it’s painful to go out but pleasant… I have dealt with this image in a number of works. The other picture is of flowing – cascade of streets, cars flowing down streets, a river flowing…

* It seems that European composers have cultural experience within them, irrespective of their style. American composers are not burdened by history. They are more free and jovial, flirt with different musical styles. Not like Schnittke, for example, whose stylistic conflicts contain a painful, oppressive experience. I have tried to avoid this kind of oppressiveness in my works. No doubt there is a cultural experience in my music, but it can be played around with.

Look also: http://www.myspace.com/steinertimo

© EMIC 2006
(updated 2019, October)

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