Olavi Kasemaa

b. 03.12.1943 Käsmu

Olavi Kasemaa is an outstanding saxophonist and the founder and developer of Estonian saxophone school. He is founder and member of the Tallinn Saxophone Quartet (1979), professor at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, his students comprise several diplomants and laureates of international contests. With his pedagogical work he has strongly influenced development of saxophone teaching level at music schools, a number of his students also have became saxophone teachers at music schools.

Olavi Kasemaa began music studies at Rakvere Children‘s Music School, studying violin with Jaan Pakk. In 1961–1962 and 1965–1967, Kasemaa continued violin studies at the Tallinn Music School with Sulev Orgse and Paul Purga. Violin studies discontinued after an accident with his finger and Olavi switched instrument to saxophone and continued studies at the Tallinn State Conservatoire. In 1973, Kasemaa graduated from the Tallinn State Conservatoire, having studied besides saxophone (with Juhan Kaljaspoolik) also brass conducting under the guidance of Helmut Orusaar. Olavi Kasemaa continued postgraduate studies at the Institute of History, from where he gained Candidate in History Grade in 1989.

Since 1972, Olavi Kasemaa has worked at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (since 1991 docent and 1999 professor). In 1980, he founded the saxophone department at the Tallinn State Conservatoire. Since 2002, he is also a teacher at the Tallinn Music High School. He has teached saxophone also at the Georg Ots Tallinn Music School (1984–2004), at Helino Eller Music School in Tartu (1995–1998) and at the Tallinn Pedagogical University (1999–2001). His students among the others have been: Villu Veski, Virgo Veldi, Raivo Tafenau, Sulev Sommer etc.

Olevi Kasemaa has been a board member of the Estonian Choir Union (1992–1995) and an editor of Estonian Biographical Lexicon of Science. He is a member of the Estonian Union of Sience History and Science Philosophy, as well as the International Union of Brass and Wind Music Developers and Researchers. Olavi Kasemaa has founded the Tallinn Saxophone Quartet in 1983, and has given recitals with it at renowed festivals such as Valencia (Spain, 1997) and Montreal (Kanada, 2000), at World Saxophone Congress and EUROCASS (2001, Helsinki). In 1998–2002 the Tallinn Saxophone Quartet was representative of French Company Vandoren. Over 25 Estonian composers have written works for Tallinn Saxophone Quartet. Tallinn Saxophone Quartet has recorded for Estonian Public Broadcast, released a LP (1989) and four CD-s (1994, 2000, 2003).

As a soloist, Olavi Kasemaa has often performed works of Hillar Kareva. He has also done saxophone quartet arrangements and played with several orchestras, including Tallinn Chamber Orchestra. He has led several master courses in Estonia and abroad and has published both musical and scientific articles in Estonian and foreign journals. In 1998, Olavi Kasemaa and Villu Veski were musical directors of saxophone festival Saxomania.


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