The Estonian choral community has a rich cultural heritage. Since 1869, Estonia hosts a song festival, “Laulupidu” every five years where over 25 000 singers join together in song. Raudsepp emphasized that this song festival was a formative event in Estonian history because “it established the identity of Estonian choral music… the song festival became an expression of the mentality and desire of Estonia,” and created a “singing revolution.” The reflection of Tartu’s Estonian heritage is also reflected in their repertoire choice at Podium, which was mainly Estonian folklore. Raudsepp remarks this is the case because “the tradition of women as messengers of Estonian's consciousness through folksong over countless centuries is reflected in the current devotion of their country's women singers to their art.” Therefore, the female voices of the group have become a cultural conduit for Estonian sentiments.
Raudsepp remarked that the success of the group is dependent upon three factors. Firstly, the choir has always attracted the best conductors, in this case, Triin Koch. Secondly is the desire amongst the singers. Raudsepp takes a contemplative moment at this point in the interview before continuing: “But there is a third element, and that is a human element, that some conductors don’t realize. Conductors that express gratitude towards their singers get more out of the choir. [Triin Koch] is grateful after every song. You can see that in her face and the faces in her choir.” Oftentimes, it is easy to forget to acknowledge the shared musical genesis that occurs between conductors and choristers. It was clear that the presence of the Tartu Ülikooli Akadeemiline Naiskoor's tour to Canada was not only to sing music, but to share a part of their choral heritage that influenced the development of their nation. From the standing ovation seen following their Podium debut, they clearly succeeded.
An interview post part of a Podium 2012 Series cross-posted on Sound and Noise and the ACCC Choral Bytes Blog