Leho Karin

October 6, 1968, Tallinn
Member of the Association of Estonian Professional Musicians

Leho Karin is one of the most highly valued cellists in Estonia. He studied cello at Tallinn Music High School with Laine Leichter and graduated from the Tallinn State Conservatoire in 1991 as a student of Professor Toomas Velmet. In 1991–1992, he studied with Frans Helmerson at the Edsberg Music Institute in Sweden and in 1992–1993 with Martin Ostertag at the Higher School of Music in Karlsruhe. He also took further lessons with Professors Mikhail Homitser (Russia) and Josef Schwab (Germany). Leho Karin was a laureate of the Estonian National Contest of String Players in 1987 and participated at the ARD Competition in Munich in 1990.

In 1992–1993, Leho Karin was a member of the Estonian National Symphony orchestra. In 1993, he joined the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, and he has performed with the orchestra in many countries in Europe as well as Japan and the US. He has made numerous recordings, including recordings for ECM of works by Arvo Pärt, Heino Eller and Erkki-Sven Tüür. In 2021, Erkki-Sven Tüür’s CD Lost Prayers (ECM) recorded in collaboration with Leho Karin was declared the Chamber Music Album of the Year by the Estonian Music Council and the Estonian Association of Phonogram Producers. In 1993-2012 Karin played the cello in NYYD Ensemble, which performed at many important contemporary music festivals in Europe, including ArtGenda in Copenhagen (1996), Baltic Arts in London (1996), Musiikin Aika in Viitasaari, Finland (2001), Warsaw Autumn in Poland, Gaida in Vilnius, MaerzMusik in Berlin (2003) and Klangspuren in Austria.

As a member of Nyyd Ensemble, Leho Karin performed the works of Charles Ives (String Quartet No. 1, From the Salvation Army) and John Adams (John’s Book of Alleged Dances) in collaboration with Swedish Stråkkvartett in 2005 at the Tonsättarfestival in Stockholm. Since 2013, Leho Karin has played cello in the contemporary music group YXUS Ensemble, which has grown out of the NYYD Ensemble. In the same year, Yxus Ensemble had a collaboration project with Danish ensemble Theatre of Voices in which they performed and recorded the works of Arvo Pärt and Galina Grigorjeva. Karin has played tenor viola da gamba in the ensemble GambarinG with Tõnu Jõesaar and Peeter Klaas. Since 1995, he has also been working as a cello teacher at Tallinn Music High School.

Leho Karin has appeared as a soloist in Finland, Sweden, and Russia, and has taken part in various music projects in Estonia. He has played with the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and the Saarbrücken Radio Orchestra. Aside from large scale classical works (Haydn and Tchaikovsky, among others), his repertoire also includes music of the 20th century, such as Britten’s Cello Symphony, Mania by Esa-Pekka Salonen, Cello Concerto by Erkki-Sven Tüür, 1st movement of Eduard Tubin’s unfinished cello concerto and more. He has collaborated with several Estonian composers such as Raimo Kangro, Galina Grigorjeva, Erkki-Sven Tüür, René Eespere, Tõnu Kõrvits, and Helena Tulve, and is often the first performer of their new compositions.

In 2018, Leho Karin was awarded the Annual Prize of the Endowment for Music of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia for his passionate and inspiring performances together with the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, YXUS Ensemble, and other chamber ensembles.

© EMIC 2013
(updated in April 2021)

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