Pianist Ivari Ilja celebrates his jubilee with a solo recital

Photo: Kaupo Kikkas

On May 8 the exceptional Estonian pianist, internationally recognized artist Ivari Ilja celebrates his 60th birthday. Highly acclaimed as a solo pianist, accompanist, ensemble musician and as a teacher, the rector of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre celebrates his jubilee with a solo recital at the White Hall of the Tallinn Philharmonic Society House of Blackheads. The program will consist of works by Frédéric Chopin, including Fantaisie in F minor, Op. 49; Mazurkas, Op. 33; Scherzo No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 31; Nocturnes, Op. 62; Impromptu No. 2 in F♯ major, Op. 36 and Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op. 58. The concert begins at 7 PM.

Ivari Ilja studied the piano at the Tallinn State Conservatoire with Professor Laine Mets and at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatoire with Professor Vera Gornostayeva and Professor Sergey Dorensky. Ilja has held recitals worldwide and performed as a soloist with several symphony orchestras such as Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, Nordic Symphony Orchestra under Jüri Alperten, Veronika Dudarova, Stephen Gunzenhauser, Eri Klas, Leo Krämer, Theodore Kuchar, Peeter Lilje, Hannu Norjanen, Urs Schneider, Arvo Volmer, Anu Tali and others. Ilja is also a recognized ensemble musician. His collaboration with renowned mezzo-soprano Irina Arkhipova, soprano Maria Guleghina, and baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky, has been particularly successful. Together they have performed on several concert stages of the world, including La Scala in Milan, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Wigmore Hall in London, the Bolshoi Theatre of Moscow, the great halls of St. Peterburg Philharmonic and Moscow Conservatory, Staatsoper Hamburg, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Suntory Hall of Tokyo, Alice Tully Hall of New York, the Kennedy Center of Washington, Musikverein of Vienna, Mozarteum of Salzburg.

Ivari Ilja’s repertoire mostly consists of romantic music, primarily of the works by Frédéric Chopin, Johannes Brahms, Robert Schumann, but also Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Sergei Prokofiev, Benjamin Britten (including his piano concerto) and others.

In 2001, Ilja was awarded the Estonian National Culture Award and in 2006, the prize of the Estonian Music Council. He is currently Chairman of the Board of the Estonian Association of Professional Musicians and the President of the Estonian Music Council.

Ivari Ilja started teaching piano at the Tallinn State Conservatory in 1986 (since 1999 as a professor), from 2000-2015, Ilja has been the head of the piano department of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. His best-known students are Sten Lassmann, Mihkel Poll, Maksim Štšura. Johan Randvere, Sten Heinoja.  Since September 1, 2017, Ivari Ilja is the rector of the academy.

See also: Tallinn Philharmonic Society House of Blackheads