Tüür maintains close relationships with top musicians such as Paavo Järvi and has been composer-in-residence at several renowned festivals as well as at the Berlin Philharmonie and the Tonhalle Zurich.
In 2014, Tüür was awarded the Culture Prize of the Republic of Estonia for his clarinet concerto “Peregrinus ecstaticus” and his work “De Profundis”. Monaco award. In the same year, Tüür received the prize of the Christoph and Stephan Kaske Foundation in Munich.
With a diverse musical background and a variety of interests and influences, Erkki-Sven Tüür is one of the most unique composers in contemporary music. Tüür founded the rock group “In Spe” in 1979 and worked for the group until 1983 as a composer, flutist, keyboardist and singer. Part of Estonia’s vibrant contemporary music scene, he undertook instrumental studies at the Tallinn Music School, studied composition with Jaan Rääts at the Estonian Academy of Music and took lessons from Lepo Sumera.
Intense, high-energy transformations form the main character of Tüür’s works, with instrumental music at the forefront of his work. To date he has composed nine symphonies, pieces for symphony and string orchestras, nine instrumental concertos, a wide range of chamber music works and an opera. Tüür would like to raise existential questions with his music, above all the question: “What is our task?” preoccupies him. He noted that this is a recurring question from thinkers and philosophers from different countries. One of his goals is to reach the creative energy of the listener. Tüür believes that music as an abstract form of art is capable of creating different visions for each of us and each individual being, for we are all unique. His approach to composition is similar to the way an architect designs a powerful building such as a cathedral, theater or other public space. However, he believes that a composer’s responsibility goes beyond that of an architect because he constructs drama within space with different characters and forces, creating a specific, living form of energy.
Tüür is well known in Estonia and has collaborated with leading Estonian musicians such as the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra or the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra. He celebrated his first success abroad in Finland with his composition “Insula Deserta” (1989). Since then he has received numerous commissions from well-known orchestras and renowned musicians from all over Europe, North America and Australia. He composed works for the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Hilliard Ensemble, the Munich Chamber Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, among others. Tüür primarily composes works for symphony orchestra. His pieces have been performed by the BBC orchestras, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic, the NDR Symphony Orchestra, the NHK Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in well-known venues such as the Wiener Musikverein, the Leipzig Gewandhaus , the Berlin Philharmonic, the Salle Pleyel in Paris, the Royal Albert Hall, the Carnegie Hall and the Suntory Hall in Tokyo. Tüür has developed close relationships with composers such as Paavo Järvi, Tõnu Kaljuste, Olari Elts, Arvo Volmer, Anu Tali and many more.
Many well-known soloists and musicians have worked with Tüür, for example Dame Evelyn Glennie, Pedro Carneiro, Colin Currie (percussion); Isabelle van Keulen, Gidon Kremer, Leila Josefowicz, Pekka Kuusisto, Christian Tetzlaff, Carolin Widmann, Richard Tognetti, Florian Donderer (violin), Lars Anders Tomter, Lawrence Power (viola), David Geringas, Tanja Tetzlaff, Nicolas Altstaedt, Ivan Monighetti, Jan Vogler (cello), Michael Collins, Jörg Widmann (clarinet), Lars Vogt, and Thomas Larcher (piano). “Wallenberg”, Tüür’s only opera, premiered in Dortmund in 2001 and was included in the program of the Estonian National Opera in 2007. In 2013, the Baden State Theater in Karlsruhe also performed “Wallenberg”. His most recently published works include the clarinet concerto “Peregrinus Ecstaticus” which was commissioned by YLE, the Finnish Broadcasting Corporation and premiered in September 2013 with clarinetist Christoffer Sundqvist and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hannu Lintu. Premiered in 2015 by the Orchester de Paris and Paavo Järvi, Sow the Wind… is a stormy piece reflecting on how irreversible processes like climate change are and the impact they are having on future generations, for example through gusts of wind turning into hurricanes. Most recently, Tüür has received commissions from the National Orchestra of Belgium, the Orchester de Paris, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
From 1991 to 2011 Erkki-Sven Tüür was the artistic director of the International Festival NYYD in Tallinn, for which he received his second annual prize from the Foundation for Music of the Cultural Foundation of Estonia in 2005, the first he received 2003 for his CD “Exodus”. He has also won the annual Estonian Music Prize (1987, 1988), the Estonian Culture Prize (1997), the Baltic Assembly Culture Prize (1998), the Great Bear Prize (1996, 1997) and the annual Prize of the Estonian Music Council ( 2003) received. In 2014, Tüür was awarded the Culture Prize of the Republic of Estonia for his clarinet concerto “Peregrinus ecstaticus” and his work “De Profundis”. Monaco award. In the same year, Tüür received the prize of the Christoph and Stephan Kaske Foundation in Munich.