American Musicologist Mimi S. Daitz Introduces Tormis's Music

11 Apr 2024

Mimi Daitz NY

Musicologist and choral conductor Mimi S. Daitz was born and raised in New York. For the last 30 years, her research has focused on Estonia and the music of Veljo Tormis.

"It was the 20th century, it was not just folk music, it was his voice. There are many very good choral composers in the U.S., but not many have what we call a composer's voice that you can spor right away. Even if you don't know, you know this is his composition, and Veljo developed his voice. That was very important to me," said musicologist Mimi Daitz.

Fascinated by the Estonian composer's music, Daitz has also conducted Tormis's works many times, and Americans have well received the arrangements of Estonian folk songs.

"All the conductors that I know who have performed Veljo's music, it has been a hit at their concerts. First of all, Estonia, which Americans don't know about and think Estonian, it is going to be very difficult, but it is not. Knowing the language and speaking it is difficult, but the pronunciations are fantastic. It's a very good language for singing, it has vowels and it is consistent," said Daitz.

In 2004, Mimi S. Daitz published a book about the legacy of Tormis, to which an updated version was added two years ago.

Next year, the 95th birthday of Veljo Tormis will be celebrated in the United States with several concerts, and preparations are already underway.

Watch the video of the interview at the Estonian Cultural Days in New York through the Estonian Public Broadcasting website.