Peeter Lilje

13.10.1950 Valga – 28.10.1993 Oulu

Peeter Lilje lives in Estonian audience memories as a valued conductor of Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and Estonian National Opera. His repertoire comprised nearly 30 operas and over 30 vocal symphonic poems, the most valued by critics were performs of Johannes Brahms´ „German Requiem“, Giuseppe Verdi´s Requiem, Carl Orff´s „Carmina Burana“, Hector Berlioz´ „Romeo et Juliet“. During the 18 years of cooperation, Lilje obtained to give over 400 concerts with Estonian National Symphony Orchestra. Several recordings has assembled in Estonian Public Broadcast archive and also many CD-s has been released. Lilje´s most favored and inspiring composers were Johannes Brahms, Jean Sibelius, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Gustav Mahler ja Dmitry Shostakovich. He has also often performed premieres of Estonian composers works including Lepo Sumera Symphony no.2, dedicated to Lilje.

Peeter Lilje began music studies on violin at Valga Children Music School, where he also leaned during the studies to play trumpet and other brass-wind instruments. He continued studies on conducting at Tartu Music School (later Heino Eller Tartu Music School) under the guidance of Vaike Uibopuu and Valve Lepik, gaduating in 1969. In 1974 Lilje graduated from Tallinn State Conservatory (later Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre) under the guidance of Arvo Ratassepp, where he also studied ochestral conducting with Roman Matsov. After that Lilje entered Rimsky-Korsakov St. Petersburg state conservatory, graduating in 1980 under the guidance of Arvids and Maris Jansons.

In 1973 Lilje began his work as choirmaster at Estonian National Opera, after that as an assistant of concuctor Neeme Järvi and since 1975–1993 as a concuctor. Lilje made his debut in 1975 performing Giuseppe Verdi´s „La traviata“. His repertoire comprised nearly 30 operas including Igor Stravisnky „Mavra“ and „The Rake's Progress“, Dmitry Shostakovich´s „Katerina Izmailova“, Sergei Prokoviev „Betrothal in a Monastery“, Benjamin Britten´s „Albert Herring“, Eduard Tubin´s „Barbara von Tisenhausen“ and Eino Tamberg´s „Cyrano de Bergerac“ and „Lend“ („Flight“) and many others operas by Giuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In 1976 Lilje began cooperation with Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and made his debut by premiere of Eduard Tubin´s IX Symphony. In the beginning of 1980, after emigration of conductor Neeme Järvi, Lilje took over all his concerts planned for season 1979/80. At the same spring, after final examination at St Petersburg Conservatoire, Lilje became principal conductor until 1990, when he started work as a principal conductor of Oulu Symphony Orchestra. He stayed at this position until 1993 also conducing at Oulu City Theatre and 1990–1992 as a guest conductor at Kuopio Symphony Orchestra. Lilje continued cooperation with Estonian National Symphony Orchestra until the end of his life, last time he stood in front of the orchestra on 17th september in 1993 at concert venue Linnahall in Tallinn.

In 1984–1987 Lilje teached conducting at Tallinn State Conservatoty (later Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre) and conducted Tallinn State Conservatory Symphony Orchestra. His students include renowed conductors as Vello Pähn, Arvo Volmer, Erki Pehk, Tarmo Vaask and Lauri Sirp.

At student years in Tartu Lilje earned a living as a jazz pianist, in 1970-s he played piano at ensemble „Collage“. Lilje has also conducted Estonian representive song for Eurovision selection round („Muretut meelt ja südametuld“). Besides Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Lilje has conducted many orchestras in Soviet Union and abroad, often cooperation engaged Lilje with Saint Petersburg Academic Symphony Orchestra, with which Lilje also participated at tours in Europe: in 1982 with Jevgeni Mravinski in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Franz and Spain and in 1993 with Juri Termiskanov in Germany, Franz and Great Britain. In 1987 Lilje conducted Radio and Central Television Symphony Orchestra concerts in Spain. Lilje has conducted as a guest conductor at several theatres abroad including Teatro Colón Buenos Aires, The Mariinsky Theatre, The Finnish National Opera, The Mecklenburg State Theatre and The Latvian National Opera. Instrumental concert recitals gave him oportunity to cooperate with renowed musicians as Viktor Tretyakov, Viktor Pikaizen, Igor Oistrakh, Tatjana Grindenko, Liana Isaksdze, Oleg Kagan, Sergei Stadler, Maksim Vengerov, Natalia Gutman ja Nikolai Petrov, long time cooperation engaged Lilje with Estonian pianist Kalle randalu.

Peeter Lilje has participated at movie „Šlaager“ (Tallinnfilm, 1982). Also movies „Minooride taga on algus“ (Eesti Telefilm, 1986) and „Uue tee lävel…“ (Eesti televisioon, 1994) has developed of Peeter Lilje. Since 1975 Peeter Lilje belonged to Estonian Theatre Union. His recognicions include laureate’s title at young musicians’ and actors’ festival of the Soviet Union (1976), Merited Artist of the Estonian SSR (1981) and People’s Artist of the Estonian SSR (1987). Since 1998 Peeter Lilje´s Foundation begun as a part of The Estonian National Culture Foundation.

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