Tuudur Vettik

January 4, 1898 Uniküla Village, Väike-Maarja Parish – May 20, 1982 Tallinn
Member of the Estonian Composers’ Union since 1944 (1944–1950, since 1956).

The works composed for choirs and solo songs form the most significant part of composer, pedagogue, choir conductor and musicologist Tuudur Vettik’s output. The most popular of them are "Nocturne" (text: Kersti Merilaas), "Moon" (text: Tuudur Vettik), "From Gold of the Northern Sun" (text: Markus Univer) and many others. Being an excellent choral conductor himself, he knew very well the possibilities of use of different voice types, he also had a refined sense of text. Vettik has mainly used in his choral music Estonian traditional texts and words by Estonian poets (Ernst Enno, Villem Ridala, Juhan Smuul, Anna Haava, Julius Oro and others), including words written by composer himself. Many of his choral songs have won prizes at choral composition competitions.

From 1914–1918, Tuudur Vettik studied at the Tartu Teachers’ Seminar. In 1919, he continued at the Tartu Higher School of Music – firstly violin under supervision of Eddy Bullerian and Alfred Papmehl and further graduated in music pedagogy with August Topman and Juhan Aavik in 1926. He also took lessons in composition with Artur Kapp and improved his skills in private with Mart Saar.

From 1919–1940, Vettik was as a music teacher at the Jakob Westholm Gymnasium in Tallinn, the Tallinn Teachers’ Seminar and the Tallinn Pedagogical Institute. In 1940, he started to work as a choir conducting lecturer at the Tallinn State Conservatory till he was illegally arrested in 1950. He was set free after staying in different prison camps in 1956 and was rehabilitated in 1968. In 1956, he continued his work at Tallinn State Conservatory (1947 professor, 1940–1946 the head of the department, 1946–1947 dean). Together with Gustav Ernesaks and Jüri Variste, Vettik was one of the founders of the choral conductors’ generation in Estonia. Among his pupils there are Udo Kasemets, Ants Kiilaspea, Roman Toi, Arno Kallikorm, Voldemar Rumessen, Roland Laasmäe, Ants Üleoja and Uno Taremaa.

In 1920–1930ies Vettik was a very active figure in Estonian music life – he conducted many choirs (e. g. mixed and male choirs of Tungal Youth Society, mixed choir of the University Extension School Society, male choir Estonian Singers), wrote books and articles, was a board member (1927–1932) and the chairman (1931) of the Estonian Singers’ Union, member of the editorial board of music magazine Muusikaleht (1930–1932) and since 1937, a board member of the Estonian Academic Society of Composers. Vettik has all together conducted 24 choirs and he was beloved chief conductor at Estonian Song Celebrations (including in 1933, 1938, 1947, 1960, 1969, 1980). He has also written several handbooks for choral conductors and choir singers (articulation, music theory) and articles.

Tuudur Vettik was given the honorary title of Estonian SSR Honoured Worker in Arts (1947), Estonian SSR People’s Artist (1980) and has been awarded Soviet Estonia Prize (1948).

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