One of the most original contemporary composers in Estonia whose musical language comprises Oriental and Western, avant-garde and archaic, acoustic and electronic without falling into eclectic abracadabra.
Vähi’s music is always a subjective expression of his spirituality rooted in deep faith, which he contrasts with a hyper modern complex world and its actually intellectual and perfect, but often just as inexplicable and soulless contemporary music. …his empathy converted into mystical connections between the cultures of different countries and epochs in exotic music. (DiscorD, UK)
● In the Mystical Land of Kaydara for narrator, vocal soloists, two choirs and symphony orchestra, Feb 13th Berlin / Germany − IMZ International Music + Media Centre presents: Avant Première Screenings; Feb 18th, 2017, Shanghai Symphony Hall, China, performers Matias Haakana (tenor), Markus Nieminen (baritone), Anatoly Safiulin (basso), Peeter Oja (narrator), Shanghai Opera House Chorus, Estonian National Male Choir, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, conductor Kristjan Järvi; Feb 18th − release of DVD by ERP and SSI
● April Night’s Dream for electronic keyboards, percussion, phonogram and urban sounds; première in the frame of Estonian Music Days on Apr 7th at 9.15 pm on the roof-stage of the Estonia Opera House (Estonia Ave 4, Tallinn); performers Peeter Vähi (electronic keyboards), Hele-Riin Uib (percussion) and Tammo Sumera (sound engineering); for free
● Forty-two for chamber orchestra, Feb 4th Estonia Concert Hall and Feb 5th Jõhvi Concert Hall, MustonenFest, performers Aleksey Utkin (oboe) and Russian State Academic Chamber Orchestra; Feb 25th, Tel Aviv Festival, Israel, performers Muki Zohar (oboe), The Israel Camerata, conductor Andres Mustonen
● In memoriam HM, Feb 25th, Tel Aviv Festival, Israel; performers Muki Zohar (oboe), Andres Mustonen (violin), The Israel Camerata Jerusalem
● Talk show Puutepunktid − Mar 16th Estonian Theatre and Music Museum, buy ticket
Peeter Vähi was born in Estonia, in 1955. In his youth he learned to play the accordion, the piano and the double bass. In 1974 he began composition studies in the Estonian Academy of Music under the supervision by Prof Eino Tamberg, graduating as composer in 1980. Peeter Vähi has worked as a free-lance composer and a record producer; also as a concert producer in the Estonian National Concert Institute (1990−2000). Currently he is the artistic director of ERP (Estonian Record Productions) and of international music festivals − Eastern Music Festival Orient (1992 − present day), Glasperlenspiel Festival (1995 − present day). He is / was a member of the Estonian Composers’ Union (since 1982, a member of the board since 1992), the vice-chairman of the council of the Estonian Institute of Buddhism (2002−2014), a full member of Estonian Academic Oriental Society (since 1982), a member of Culture Council of the Estonian President (2001−2008), and the president of Drikung Kagyu Ratna Shri Centre (1992−2005), and a member of Estonia-Japan Association (since 2010).
Peeter Vähi’s works are characterized by broad-minded stylistic versatility, listener-friendly sound, skilful application of exotic instruments and electronic facilities, a wide range of moods from philosophical and meditative right through to Baroque movements. Noteworthy are composer’s wide horizons, in his vocal compositions he has used the lyrics (in addition to his native Estonian language) in Sanskrit, Tibetan, German, English, Latvian, Russian, Latin, Japanese, Fulani and Coptic languages. His most important works are oratorio Mary Magdalene Gospel, Mystical Uniting for chamber ensemble, Call of Sacred Drums for percussion ensemble and symphony orchestra, cantata Supreme Silence for mezzo-soprano, male choir and handbells, African initiation rite In the Mystical Land of Kaydara for narrator, vocal soloists, two choirs and symphony orchestra, Forty-two (different arrangements), flute concerto Chant of the Celestial Lake.
Vähi’s music has been performed by European, Asian and American orchestras (among them the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, European Union Chamber Orchestra, WDR Symphony Orchestra / Cologne, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, MDR Symphony Orchestra / Leipzig, Vienna Tonkünstler Symphony Orchestra, Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, State Academic Chamber Orchestra of Russia / Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Taipei Philharmonic Orchestra, NDR Symphony Orchestra / Hamburg, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra), choirs (Tōkyō Philharmonic Chorus, State Choir Latvija), chamber (Slava Grigoryan, Rémi Boucher, Gidon Kremer, Duo Mari & Håkon Samuelsen, Raschèr Saxophone Quartet) and ethno musicians (Sevara Nazarkhan, Hiroyuki Koinuma, Hayashi Eitetsu taiko-ensemble) and naturally, by most of the Estonian top musicians such as Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Glasperlenspiel Sinfonietta, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Estonian National Male Choir RAM, girl’s choir Ellerhein, Early Music Consort Hortus Musicus, the Järvi “dynasty”, conductors Andres Mustonen, Risto Joost and Eri Klas, handbell ensemble Arsis, bassoon-player Martin Kuuskmann, pianist-harpsichordist Irina Zahharenkova, pianist Kalle Randalu, tenor Mati Turi, basso Priit Volmer, Tanel Padar, etc. In addition to the conventional venues, concerts of Vähi’s music have taken place on the open-air stage of World Exhibition EXPO 2000, in Roerich Museum, in the Royal Palace of Sweden. His music has been performed at the Estonian National Song Festivals, in the White House in Washington DC, in a Japanese Buddhist Temple, at the 50th anniversary celebrations of UNESCO in Strasbourg and at the Luzhniki Arena in Moscow.
Vähi’s works have been published by ERP, Erdenklang Musikverlag, Eres Edition, Edition 49, CultureWare Music Publ, and Maren Musikverlag. His music has been released on about 70 records, including 12 solo-albums.
As a keyboarder Peeter Vähi has performed with different ensembles (pop-rock group Vitamiin, jazz-rock group Uus Generatsioon, experimental projects), orchestras and choirs (including the 30,000-members choir at the Estonian National Song Festivals). In recent decades Peeter Vähi has been in close co-operation with musicians from Tibet, India, Japan, Uzbekistan, China / Taiwan, Siberia and other parts of Asia.
Works in process
Double Concerto for violin, cello and symphony orchestra, commissioned by Keynote Artist Management (UK), planned première 2017, first performers Duo Mari and Håkon Samuelsen
Download photos: Peeter Vähi (Tallinn, 2012, photo by Kaupo Kikkas, jpg, RGB, 5.4 MB); Peeter Vähi (Tallinn, 2012, photo by Kaupo Kikkas, jpg, RGB, 4 MB); Peeter Vähi (Oman, 2003, photo by T Jokinen, jpg, 300 dpi, 840 KB); Peeter Vähi (India, 2003, photo by T Pruuli, jpg, 300 dpi, 1.8 MB), drawing (by Andres Adamson, Pärnu Postimees, 2007, jpg, 1.8 MB), Peeter Vähi (Tallinn, 2010, photo by M Puškarev, jpg, RGB, 300 dpi, 3.3 MB); Peeter Vähi, piano (Tallinn, 2012, photo by Kaupo Kikkas, jpg, RGB, 5.75 MB); Peeter Vähi at his studio (Tallinn, 2012, photo by Kaupo Kikkas, jpg, monochrome, 4.5 MB)
Wikipedia (in English, German, Farsi, Ukrainian, Estonian, Finnish, Azerbaijani)
Academic dictionaries and encyclopedias (in German)
Cyclopaedia (in German)
List of works (in French)
Estonian Music Information Centre (in Estonian, English)
Estonian Composers’ Union (in Estonian, English)
Edition49 (in Estonian, English, German, French)
Tähelaev (Estonian TV, 2012, 73 min)
See also interview with Peeter Vähi (Lev Ryzhkov, Sputnik, 06.10-16, Moscow / Russia, in Russian language)