Estonian Music Week in Toronto is a week long music festival, which celebrates the Republic of Estonia's 100th birthday. The festival is one of the official Estonia 100 national program events and has received support from the Estonian government. The festival will take place May 24-29, 2018.


The festival performers include highly valued professional musicians from Estonia and Canada, including Canadian-Estonians. The festival offers concerts for all audiences with various musical tastes. Choir music, modern classical instrumental and vocal music, jazz, ethnomusic, indie and electronical music will all be represented. Works by Estonian, Canadian (including Canadian-Estonian), and world composers will be performed - pieces are both contemporary as well as from the past, including contemporary works inspired by Estonian folk music. Pieces commissioned for the festival will also be performed for the first time.


EMW has two main artistic goals: to showcase some of the best Estonian contemporary musical culture, in a very wide array of genres to Canadian audiences and to create space for new artistic collaborations between Estonian and Canadian artists and composers.  We consider the collaborations with Canadian artists and composers extremely important - a festival is a great way to offer and gain experiences for the audiences, but through EMW we aim deeper - to foster new artistic collaborations through double bill settings in performances between Canadian and Estonian artists and commissioned new works for some of the performing ensembles and artists.


In addition to the concerts other events include: a seminar to bring together Canadian and Estonian music sector representatives and to offer opportunities to exchange information and create new contacts; a jazz singing workshop; a festival pre-program film screening in collaboration with EstDocs, and exhibits to introduce Estonian music culture and much more.



The goal of Estonian Music Week is to bring Estonia's rich and diverse music culture to the music friends of Canada and create bridges with Canadian musicians. The Estonian Documentary Film Festival EstDocs has done great work promoting Estonian film to Canada via Toronto. The language of music is even more universal than the language of film.


Estonia and Estonians (including Estonians abroad) have a large amount of good music and incredible musicians to offer the world. Music events, including music festivals (i.e. Jõekääru Jazz) have been organized by Toronto Estonians for decades. Musical collectives from Estonia are frequently performing in Toronto today. Recently a large portion of these concerts have been organized and funded by the Estonian Studies Centre/VEMU (Museum of Estonians Abroad). For this reason, ESC/VEMU believes that it is time to have a more regular large scale and multi-genre Estonian music event in Toronto.



Estonia is the country with a population of 1.3 million people, where over 2 million concert visits occur a year.


The tradition of Song Festivals have played an important role in the development and preservation of Estonian identity. The first Song Festival took place in Tartu in 1869 and in 2019 we will be celebrating 150 years of festivals. The song and dance festival tradition is included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. Estonians are by nature quiet, introverts, and serious, but during the Song Festival they open their hearts/souls. These festivals bring together Estonians from all over the world. Almost 800 Estonians from Canada participated in the last Song Festival in 2014.


Estonians are people of the Singing Revolution; people who sung themselves to freedom. Hundreds of thousands of Estonians gathered publicly between 1986 and 1991, in an effort to end decades of Soviet occupation. The American filmmakers James Tusty and Maureen Castle Tusty made this unique historical phenomenon known internationally with their film The Singing Revolution (2006).


Estonia has a rich number of top musicians, composers, and wide range of grassroots musical pursuits. For several years, Arvo Pärt has been named the most played living composer. Choirs all over the world perform the choir music written by Veljo Tormis which is based on the ancient and unique “regi” song tradition. Estonia is also the country of incredible conductors, where one magician follows another: Neeme Järvi, Tõnu Kaljuste, Paavo Järvi, Jaan-Eik Tulve, Anu Tali etc.


Ethno fanatic Estonians double the number of  the Viljandi City's population during the ,Viljandi Folk Music Festival which introduces world music by enticing performers and audience members from all over the world. We distribute Ethno Ladles (etnokulbid)  and vote for Accordion Kings (lõõtsakuningad).


Festival fanatic Estonians rush from one Estonian city to the other to participate in the liveliness and the many diverse musical temptations. Tallinn Music Week and jazz music festival Jazzkaar have grown into hugely popular events both locally and internationally.


Estonia is the country of piano constructors (we have a piano brand named after the country itself, Estonia!) and traditional musical instrument craft makers (lõõtsa-,  torupilli- ja kandlemeistrid).


Estonia is the country of the commotion of the sea and quiet of the bog – nature resounds in our music.




“Laul teeb rinna rõõmsaks” (Song is food for the soul)
Igal linnul oma laul (Every bird has its own song)
Kuidas lind, nõnda laul (As is the bird, as is the song)
Pillimeest ja pillimehe sõpra ära löö (Don't hit the musician nor his/her friend)

Häda õpetab lugema, häda õpetab laulma (Trouble teaches to read, trouble teaches to sing)

Ega leelost leiba saa, ega laul kata lauda (Song does not provide bread let alone a meal)