In the field of music, the General Principles of Cultural Policy up to 2020 (see chapter 1.1) state that:
- the state supports the diversity of the Estonian music scene, creating opportunities for participating in the high-level music life all over Estonia and continuously directing concert experiences at children and youth;
- the state ensures the necessary operational and developmental conditions for institutions and top collectives forming the basis for the music culture. The activities of various private musical collectives and concert organisers are also supported, as well at the organisation of diverse and high-level music festivals;
- the Estonian National Opera is promoting national musical theatre, making available Estonia’s and the world’s best musical, opera, and ballet works;
- in cooperation between the state and the private sector, instrument funds have been created for acquiring, renewing, maintaining, and renting out musical instruments to ensure the international competitiveness of Estonian musicians;
- the aim of the state is to create better opportunities for the activities of Estonian composers and interprets and the popularisation of the works. The state supports the commissioning of new musical works from Estonian composers and helping the Estonian composers and interprets reach the international arena. The state regards it as important to collect, document, publish, and promote the valuable legacy of Estonian composers and interprets;
- the state supports a wholesome musical education system to prepare competitive professionals for all areas of musical culture. Musical education on all levels of education (i.e. on the level of pre-school, basic, secondary, and higher education) is an essential prerequisite for ensuring the sustainability of professional musical culture. The state also supports the organisation of musical competitions and participation in international competitions supporting the development of interpretation and musical creation and raising the professional level of musicians;
- the state facilitates the development of music-related entrepreneurship and professional support structure (incl. managers, agencies) and supports the export of music in the whole chain of operation, including in-service training and internships abroad, organising performing festivals and concerts in Estonia and the target market and musical collectives taking part in international festivals. Estonian music plays an important role in the development of the country’s international image and cultural tourism.
The Estonian National Opera is a legal entity governed by public law (National Opera Act). The Estonian National Opera is the main promoter of Estonian musical theatre, with compositions, operas and ballets from Estonia and abroad in its repertoire.
There are three state and three municipal concert organisations in the field of music. The largest concert organiser is state-owned foundation Eesti Kontsert, which includes the Estonian National Male Choir and the early music group Hortus Musicus. Eesti Kontsert manages four major concert halls in Estonia: the concert halls of the Estonia Theatre and Vanemuine Concert Hall in Tartu, as well as halls in Pärnu and Jõhvi. In 2011, St. John’s Lutheran Church in Saint Petersburg was reopened and it also serves as a music venue of Eesti Kontsert in Russian Federation. As Eesti Kontsert is active in all the regions, the availability of professional music is guaranteed to the people all over the country.
The Estonian National Symphony Orchestra is a state-owned foundation, full time orchestra with 100 musicians and the average season includes sixty concerts and a large number of concert tours in abroad. The state-owned foundation Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir is one of the best-known Estonian choirs in the world with about thirty singers giving annually about seventy concerts in Estonia as well as abroad.
Mainly local municipals, but also the Ministry of Culture with small annual budgets, support Pärnu City Orchestra, Tallinn Philharmonic Society (together with Tallinn Chamber Orchestra) and Narva City Symphony Orchestra.
Most concerts are organised by private organisers, both non-profit and commercial. Non-profit concert organisers in Estonia are supported with the Ministry of Culture’s music programmes (see chapter 7.2.1).
Support programmes of the Ministry of Culture — Support for Music Festivals, Private Organisers and Music Groups — are to ensure the continuity and development of music collectives and festivals that are important to Estonian professional music. The support will improve the opportunities for Estonian musicians and composers to present their creations and opportunities for the public to attend professional music events. With the help of the programme, it is possible to increase the involvement of Estonian musicians in the concert productions’ own productions and to promote the development of professional concert organisation all over Estonia.
The Music Subscription Programme’s aim is to enrich and diversify Estonian music life through the commissioning of new compositions from Estonian composers.
The Music Publications Support Programme’s aim is to support music publishers and to ensure that Estonian music, monographs and other relevant texts to the field of music are published.
The Music Competitions and Young Musician Support Programme’s aim is to finance organisers of music competitions and events/festivals for or with young musicians (see chapter 7.2.1).
All those organisers can also apply for support from the Cultural Endowment.
For international projects, the state provides money from the support programme Estonian Culture in the World. This programme supports projects that promote the internationalisation and export of Estonian music and the creation of opportunities for Estonian musicians, orchestras, choirs and ensembles. Access to the international arena for cultural collectives and creative entrepreneurs is also supported.
Main partners in the music field are:
- Estonian Composers’ Union – an artistic association, NGO uniting composers and musicologists.
- Estonian Association of Professional Musicians – a non-profit artistic association whose members can be all professional musicians working in Estonia and abroad – soloists, chamber musicians, orchestra and conductors. Main chamber music concert organiser.
- Estonian Performers’ Association – a non-profit organisation administers and promotes performers rights, collects remunerations under the Copyright Act, and distributes the remunerations among those entitled to them.
- Estonian Music Council – a non-profit organisation uniting fifty Estonian music institutions and professional musicians, gets annual financial support from the Ministry of Culture.
- Estonian Music Information Centre – the main objective of the centre is to introduce and promote Estonian classical music both at home and abroad by collecting and spreading information on Estonian composers and their work, music organisations and events, interpreters and groups. Gets annual financial support from the Ministry of Culture.
- Estonian Music Festivals – unites more than fifty music festivals’ organisers, gets annual financial support from the Ministry of Culture.
- Estonian Jazz Union – unites Estonian jazz musicians, organiser of concerts in jazz-clubs all over Estonia.
- Estonian Choral Association – an umbrella organisation for all unions of choirs, wind orchestras, choral conductors and music teachers in Estonia.
- International Arvo Pärt Centre – founded in 2010 by Arvo Pärt and his family to create opportunities for the preservation and study of the composer’s creative legacy in his Estonian homeland in his mother language. Opened a new centre in Laulasmaa, near Tallinn in 2018. Gets annual financial support from the Ministry of Culture.
- Music Estonia – a music industry development centre and export office in Estonia, gets annual financial support from the Ministry of Culture.
- Estonian Traditional Music Centre – an organisation that supports and organises long-term courses and a Viljandi Folk Music Festival, also promotes live performances of traditional music, gets annual financial support from the Ministry of Culture.