Taavi Kerikmäe

b. April 30 1976 Tartu

Taavi Kerikmäe’s passions are experimental music, free improvisation, music technology and electroacoustics. He has performed in many festivals in collaboration with numerous artists of contemporary, classical and jazz music.

Taavi Kerikmäe started his music studies in Tartu Heino Eller Music School with Anu Antzon. He continued at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, where he was a graduate of Aleksandra Jouzapénaité-Eesmaa’s piano class in 2000 and obtained a Master’s degree in chamber music class with Marje Lohuaru in 2003. In 2004, he graduated from the National Superior Conservatory of Music and Dance in Lyon, where he later was a Master’s student of contemporary music with Prof. Fabrice Pierre. Since 2005, he continues with PhD studies at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre.

Taavi Kerikmäe is currently the head of the Centre for Contemporary Music and Improvisation department of Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, teaching free improvisation and contemporary music. He has also given master classes and lectures at Warsaw Fryderyk Chopin Music Academy, Madrid Royal Conservatory of Music, Patumthan International Theatre Festival at Thailand, and Greenland.

Kerikmäe has performed in numerous festivals in Estonia and abroad (IRCAM’s festival Agora in Paris, Les Musiques in Marseille, Why Note and Festival Pierre Boulez in St. Etienne, Les Musicades and Musiques en Scéne in Lyon, Fruits de Mhêre in Mhêre’, Time of Music in Viitasaari, Meridian in Bucharest, Stockhausen not Stochausen in Palermo and others). He has given concerts in all over Europe, Greenland, South Korea, Thailand and Russia.

Since 2004, he is a member of European Improvisators Ensemble (EIE), which is a group of well-known European free improvisers. Kerikmäe has worked on free improvisation with foreign artists like Chris Cutler, Jacques DiDonato, Juozas Milasius, Isabelle Duthoit, Eric Echampard, Xavier Charles, Jean-Marc Montera, Paul Lovens, Ucihashi Kazuhiza, Martine Altenburger, Michel Doneda, Noel Achoté, Jean-Francois Pauvros, Camilla Hoitenga and others.

His long time ensemble partner has been Mart Soo. Their latest CD “Taavi Kerikmäe - Mart Soo +1” was nominated by the Estonian Association of the Phonogram Producersas as the best jazz CD in 2007. Since 2005, Kerikmäe and Soo have been organizing festival and concerts series called Improtest. Kerikmäe is also a member of Estonian improvisational contemporary music ensemble U:, free improvisational ensemble ASK and Broken Time Orchestra (electronic music).

Kerikmäe has worked with composers like Pierre Boulez, Tristan Murail, Vinko Globokar, Gilbert Amy, Sylvano Bussotti, François-Bernard Mâche, Alessandro Solbiatti, Thierry LeMey, Louis Andriessen, Yang Liqing and Deqing Wen. He has premiered music by Kimmo Kuitunen, Roméo Monteiro, Frédéric Pattar, Tatjana Kozlova, Toivo Tulev, Mari Vihmand, Märt-Mattis Lill and Tauno Aints.

Kerikmäe has created music for several dance performances and stage plays: Dear guests! Please be reminded... by Dmitri Hartchenko (2001), Meelega by Raido Mägi (2001), Undiin by Hartchenko (2006), Mäng by Mart Kangro (2006), Hamlet in Estonian National Opera by Oksana Titova (2007) and Can’t Get No/Satisfaction by Mart Kangro (2009). With his music for stage play Kajakas in Pärnu Theatre Endla, he won the Theatre Music Award of Estonian Authors’ Society in 2007.

- Cultural award Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) of France (2016);
- Annual Prize of the Endowment for Music of Cultural Endowment of Estonia as a versatile and innovative musician (2014);
- Annual Prize of the Endowment for Music of Cultural Endowment of Estonia with the new music ensemble U: (2009);
- Theatre Music Award of Estonian Authors’ Society for the music for stage play Kajakas (2008).

Look also: Taavi Kerikmäe

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(updated in August 2016)

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