Robert Jürjendal

January 10, 1966, Kunda, Estonia
Member of the Estonian Composers' Union since 2012

Robert Jürjendal studied classical guitar at the G.Ots Music School in 1981–1985, taking also composition classes with Anti Marguste. In 2011, he received the bachelor’s degree in music education at the University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy. Since 1992, he has three times taken part of Guitar Craft courses led by British guitarist and pedagogue Robert Frippi, and as well as the tour with The Berlin Guitar Ensemble in Germany.

In 1993, under his leadership ensemble Weekend Guitar Trio (Robert Jürjendal / Mart Soo / Tõnis Leemets) was founded. For this ensemble Robert Jürjendal has composed and arranged most of his ensemble music. In 1995, Weekend Guitar Trio received the I Prize at the Guitar Contest in Lausanne, Switzerland. The ensemble has released 7 CDs. Weekend Guitar Trio has collaborated with Gregorian chant ensemble Vox Clamantis and with many foreign artists, among the others Toyah Willcox, Jan Bang and Petras Vishnauskas. In 2005, Weekend Guitar Trio was awarded the Year’s Award of the Estonian Cultural Endowment for their concert activity in Estonia and abroad.

Robert Jürjendal has participated in production of more than 30 CDs as a guitar player, composer and producer. His working partners through the years have been Tõnis Mägi (Tõnis Mägi & 777), Arvo Urb (Fragile), Riho Sibul, Ain Agan, Kärt Johanson, Henn Rebane, Siiri Sisask, Jaak Tuksam, Sofia Joons (Strand Rand), Indrek Patte (Linnutee), David Rothenberg (U.S.), John Wieczorek (U.S.), Petri Kuljuntausta (Finland), Nadia Utkina (Udmurtia), Toyah Willcox (UK), Markus Reuter (Austria), Tim Bowness (UK), Peter Chilvers (UK), Andi Pupato (Switzerland), Jan Bang (Norway) and many others.

Robert Jürjendal has composed commissioned works for solo guitar and voice, string quartet, two harpsichords, recorders, guitar quartet, chamber orchestra, Estonian National Male Choir and various chamber ensembles. In 1997, he was awarded the Estonian Guitar Society Award for the best solo guitar work Autumn Prelude – Flashbacks from Summer (Mälestusi suvest – sügisprelüüd). He has written music for various stage plays, nature films, short films and antropology films – Black With Red, Lanswood gardens (dir. Pawel Kuczynski, Poland), Measure Of Man (dir. M. Kõrver).

In spring 2007, Robert Jürjendal started a new project called UMA with corno da caccia player Aleksei Saks, with whom he performed at London Jazz Festival in 2009. Ensemble UMA has collaborated and recorded with reputed musicians like Andi Pupato (Nick Bärtsch Ronin), Markus Reuter ( Tuner, Stickmen) and Tim Bowness (No-Man). Since the spring 2012, one of the partners of UMA has been Estonian well-known mezzo soprano Iris Oja. In 2011, ensemble Slow Electric with British musicians Tim Bowness and Peter Chilvers was founded. Robert Jürjendal has performed at music festivals in the U.S., England, Germany, France, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Moldova, Russia and elsewhere.

In 2012, Robert Jürjendal began recording his first solo album. The album features several of his partners, including English avant-garde musician and flutist Geoff Leigh (Henry Cow). In 2011, he began compile and record his academic chamber music album. The album features such musicians as Ene Nael, Imbi Tarum, Aleksei Saks, Madis Metsamart, Heiki Mätlik, Terje Terasmaa, Arvo Leibur and many others of Estonian interpreters.

At the present time, Robert Jürjendal is an active free-lance musician and composer. In 2011, he began his Master studies at the University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy. He works as a music teacher at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, and at the Viljandi Culture Academy. Robert Jürjendal is a member of Estonian Jazz Union and the Estonian Guitar Society, he also belongs to the work group of Viljandi Guitar Festival. Estonian Public Broadcasting named Jürjendal as the Musician of the Year 2016.

Robert Jürjendal: Guitar and electronics have been my long-time means of expression. Despite this, I think that the limitation of the musical thinking of one specific instrument puts obstacles to the development of musical perception. I am more interested in human - what he thinks, feels and worships. Certainly, there is much to do with coincidence that the way into my musical world has found the harpsichord, recorder, trumpet, Corno da Caccia, string quartet, vibraphone and the human voice, and along with these instruments a number of open and bright personalities of musicians.

Look also:
Weekend Guitar Trio

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