Foreign Ministry Cultural Stipends Awarded to Creators of Film ‘Tangerines’, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Kristiina Ehin, Ilmar Lehtpere and Anne Erm


No. 4-E

Today Foreign Minister Urmas Paet presented the 2013 Foreign Ministry cultural stipends to thank and recognise those Estonians who have helped to improve the international reputation and recognition of Estonia through culture. “We appreciate the contribution made by the people we are recognising today to introducing Estonia abroad, and the same applies to all others who have done the same with their creative work," said Paet. “I am very pleased that the diverse and impressive creative works of our people are offering us great opportunities to showcase Estonia abroad."

“We recognise the people behind the Estonian-Georgian film ‘Tangerines’ for explaining political and security issues from a humane angle,” Paet said. “The film, created by Ivo Felt, Zaza Urushadze, Rein Kotov, Lembit Ulfsak, Elmo Nüganen, Raivo Trass and many others, is an example of successful cooperation in the area of feature films and has touched cinemagoers in many countries.“ The film has won several awards at such international film festivals as those held in Warsaw, Mannheim-Heidelberg and Tbilisi.

The Estonian National Symphony Orchestra (ERSO) is another recipient of the Foreign Ministry cultural stipend this year. Paet presented ERSO conductors Neeme Järvi, Nikolai Aleksejev and Anu Tali with letters of gratitude. ERSO Director Kadri Tali accepted the cultural stipend on behalf of the orchestra. “We want to recognise ERSO for their successful tour of the United States last November, where our musicians received great feedback from both audiences and the American media,” said Paet. “As a cultural ambassador, ERSO has represented Estonia and introduced Estonian music in the best possible manner at many international music festivals.” The high quality of ERSO has also been highlighted in the media and recognised with many awards, the most important of which was Estonia's first Grammy in 2004. ERSO is the oldest regularly performing symphony orchestra in Estonia.

ERSO gave 15 concerts in the United States during its three-week tour. Seven were conducted by Chief Conductor and Artistic Director Neeme Järvi, seven by former Chief Conductor Nikolai Aleksejev and one by Anu Tali. The programme consisted of nine different pieces by Arvo Pärt, Veljo Tormis, Jean Sibelius, Johannes Brahms, Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Antonin Dvorak.

Paet said that poet and short story writer Kristiina Ehin and poet and translator Ilmar Lehtpere also deserved recognition for introducing Estonian literature to the world. “Kristiina and Ilmar have helped take Estonian poetry and literature to Europe and North America,” he explained. Two bilingual selections of Ehin’s verses were published in the United States last year (‘1001 talve – 1001 Winters’ and ‘Ühe hingetõmbega – In a Single Breath’), both of which were translated by Lehtpere. “Interest in the tour last autumn showed that poetry reaches across language barriers and national borders,” Paet added. Ehin and Lehtpere have won important international awards for their work. ‘1001 Winters – 1001 talve’ was nominated for the British Poetry Society's Popescu Prize, which is the most reputable prize for translated poetry in the English language space.

Paet also recognised Anne Erm for introducing world culture and music in Estonia. The Jazzkaar Festival was launched on the initiative of Erm in 1990 and her contribution to the introduction of Estonian popular music and musicians has been immense. “The festival has brought many famous jazz musicians to Estonia and placed Estonian jazz music on the world map,” he said. “The festival is seen as a calling card of the Estonian music scene today."

Last year’s recipients of the stipends were Ewert and The Two Dragons, Ilmar Raag, Riina Sildos, Laine Mägi and Kalle Kasemaa. The recipients in 2011 were Aivar Mäe and members of the creative team of the 11th Youth Song and Dance Celebration ‘The Wide World Begins in a Small Land’: Aet Maatee, Veronika Portsmuth, Märt Agu and Raul Talmar. The recipients in 2010 were Arvo Pärt, Tõnu Kaljuste and Tiina Lokk, and in 2009 Imbi Paju and Tiit Ojasoo.

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