Ants Sööt

Ants Sööt
b. 8.08.1935 Elva – 17.10.2013 Tallinn

Ants Sööt was Estonian renowned choir conductor and pedagogue, founder of several choirs and one of principal conductors of Estonian Song Celebrations in 1980–2004.

Ants Sööt graduated from Tartu Music School in 1955 under the guidance of Voldemar Kliimand and from Tallinn State Conservatoire with Jüri Variste.

In 1956–1961 Ants Sööt was music teacher and choir conductor of Tallinn 4. High School. In 1961–1971 Ants Sööt worked as a pedagogue at Tallinn Pedagogical Institute (later Tallinn University) and 1971–2004 at Tallin State Consevatory (since 1980 docent, 1992 professor and since 2000 professor emeritus). Over forty students has graduated Ants Sööt’s class including Ülle Raud, Tiit Saluveer, Alari Tamm, Lydia Rahula, Ülo Krigul, Vello Rand, Aarne Saluveer, Aivar Mäe, Lii Leitma, Külli Kiivet, Indre Umberg ect.

Since 1952 Ants Sööt has conducted several choirs including Estonian Foundation of Friendship and Cultural Ties with Foreign Countries Choir (1959–1961) and Female Choir of Tallinn Education Workers (1975–1988). In 1988 the choir won II prize at international contest in Hungary, Debrecen. Ants Sööt has been founder and long-time conductor of several choirs including Tallinn Students' Mixed Choir (1962–1981), which has won prizes at republican and all-union contests. From Female Choir of Tallinn Education Workers, Ants Sööt developed mixed choir „Olevine“ and was in 1976–1993  conductor of it. In 1985 the choir was awarded Estonian SSR Merited colletive. In 1988 Sööt founded Tallinn Teachers' Female Choir and was in 1988–1944 conductor of it. During 1989–1991 the choir won five prizes at international choir contests. In 1988 Sööt also founded Female Choir of Estonian Choral Conductors and was conductor of it until 2007. Also this choir has won prizes at international contest, in 2001 the choir was awarded Choir of the World in Wales, Llangollen. In 1988 CD was released by Female Choir of Estonian Choral Conductors.

Ants Sööt’s concert programs included lots of Estonian choral music, among others music by Mart Saar, Gustav Ernesaks, Ester Mäe, Veljo Tormis, Lembit Veevo, Anti Marguste, Kuldar Sink, Peep Sarapik and Tiina Kiiaspea. He has made recordings for Estonian Public Broadcast with Tallinn Students' Mixed Choir and Olevine. Also choir music CD „Sööt muusikasse“ („Sööt in music“) has released conducted by Ants Sööt. Ants Sööt has conducted at County Song Days, also in 1967–2004 at Student Song Celebration „Gaudeamus“. In Vilnius (2002) and in Riga (2004) was Ants Sööt also artistic director of Estonian program. In 1980–2004 Ants Sööt was one of principal conductors of  Estonian Song Celebrations.

As a choir conductor Ants Sööt has won prizes at international choir contests, including interpretation prizes in France (Tours) and Spain (Tolosa) in 1989, Spain (Cantonigroses) in 1990, Switzerland (Montreux) in 1991 and conductor prize in Netherlands (Arnheim) in 1995. He was awarded Estonian SSR merited artist in 1978,  Estonia's State Cultural Award in 1996 and Annual Prize of Estonian Cultural Endowment for Folk Art and Order of the White Star, 5th class in 2002. In 2006 Ants Sööt was given Gustav Ernesaks Foundation choir music scholarship.

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