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Veljo Tormis (Composer)

Born: 7th August 1930, Kuusalu, Estonia

Died: 21st January 2017

Nationality: Estonian

Veljo Tormis was an Estonian composer, regarded as one of the great contemporary choral composers and one of the most important composers of the 20th century in Estonia. Internationally, his fame arises chiefly from his extensive body of choral music, which exceeds 500 individual choral songs, most of it a cappella. The great majority of these pieces are based on traditional ancient Estonian folksongs (regilaulud), either textually, melodically, or merely stylistically.

His composition most often performed outside Estonia, Curse Upon Iron (Raua needmine) (1972), invokes ancient Shamanistic traditions to construct an allegory about the evils of war. Some of his works were banned by the Soviet government, but because folk music was fundamental to his style most of his compositions were accepted by the censors.

Further Reading: Tormis

Obituary, Veljo Tormis (1930-2017)

The Estonian composer has died at the age of 86.

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