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Contemporary music festival “Baltic and Estonian Music Days”

At this major contemporary music event of the Baltic region, fresh musical compositions meet expansive art inspired by Tartu and nature.


The largest and most anticipated contemporary music event in the Baltic countries will bring over 20 world premieres of musical compositions to the cultural capital in 2024, along with a young composers’ competition and an additional program that intertwines music, art, nature, and urban space.


Estonian Music Days is the most significant festival focusing on the works of local composers, spanning over four decades. This grand event is characterised by enthralling and diverse contemporary music, but also by bold experimentation. The title year of European Capital of Culture 2024 will bring to Tartu the full-scale contemporary music event, Baltic Music Days (BMD), for the first time, uniting all three Baltic countries. Thus, this year’s festival becomes Baltic and Estonian Music Days.

Over the course of ten days, culture enthusiasts will be drawn to vibrant musical experiences and exciting special projects that connect musical ideas with visual arts, semiotics, biology, and other fields. At the heart of these events is not only remarkable music but also the role of Tartu as one of the important centres in European cultural and intellectual history. The overarching theme of the festival is the concept of “Umwelt” by the thinker Jakob von Uexküll, who worked in Tartu. In the spirit of Uexküll, the focus is on various world perceptions. The language of sound and art is enriched by sounds and shapes from the environment, expanding the world beyond familiar perspectives. The artistic directors of the festival are Märt-Matis Lill, Helena Tulve, and Timo Steiner.

The festival is comprised of more than 15 events, featuring performances of nearly 300 musicians and artists. The tunes will cross the boundaries of traditional music and surprise visitors even outside concert halls. The enigmatic “Walpurgis Night Mystery” will fill the Estonian National Museum with a synthesis of contemporary music and other art forms, while at the Tartu Art House, music, performative elements, and visual arts converge under the direction of Kris Lemsalu.

One of the important aims of the festival is to inspire future composers. The contest “Young Composer” provides an excellent opportunity for the emerging generation of musicians to introduce their works to a wider audience. The selected works for the final concert will be performed by acclaimed musical talents.


The occurrence of the Baltic and Estonian Music Days in Tartu promotes and showcases new Baltic contemporary music, increasing interest from both international audiences and musicians. Emphasizing the uniqueness of Tartu and highlighting world-class culture, this series of events introduces festival attendees to novel perspectives on music, ideologies, and the Arts of Survival.