Märt-Matis Lill
Märt-Matis Lill

Song of Land and Sea

Maa ja mere laul (Song of Land and Sea) was commissioned and initiated by Ensemble U. The starting point for the composition was the environment chosen by the composer: the northernmost point of mainland Estonia called cape Purekkari, in Lahemaa National Park near Viinistu, which will be accessible to the audience via VR. So, the source of the music is that same landscape with the cape on the edge of land and sea, boulders and rocks of varying sizes, reeds rustling in the wind and the transverse waves hitting the tip of the cape.

Märt-Matis Lill (b. 1975) studied composition at the Tallinn Music School under Lepo Sumera, and in 1999 he graduated from the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre in the class of Lepo Sumera and Eino Tamberg. He then went on to earn a master’s degree from the Sibelius Academy under Veli-Matti Puumala. He has also studied with Louis Andriessen, Michael Jarrell, Luca Francesconi and Magnus Lindberg, and attended IRCAM and Centre Acanthes courses. Additionally, he has studied Sinology, Japanology and philosophy at the University of Helsinki.

Märt-Matis Lill’s fairly delicate and often slow-moving compositions open a world of refined sound before the listener. He has a wide range of interests: he is inspired by early European history and music; non-European, especially Far Eastern cultures; as well as Estonian folk tradition – one of his recent compositions was Smoke Sauna Symphony, which was performed in Mooste Folk House in 2019, and which won the author the annual prize of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia as well as the LHV bank prize ‘Au Tasu’ for contemporary music. In 2017, his chamber opera Tulleminek (Into the Fire) premiered at Theatre Vanemuine, and its production team received a prize for masterful combination of different theatrical forms from the Estonian Theatre Union. Lill has repeatedly won the Estonian Music Days Prize: in 2006, 2007, 2012 and 2015. Mu nuttev hääl on sügistuul (My Weeping Voice is the Autumn Wind) was among the ten selected works at the International Rostrum of Composers in Paris (2007). Lill has written music for Priit Tender’s animated short films Mont Blanc, Rebasenaine (Fox Woman) and Köögi dimensioonid (Kitchen Dimensions), which have achieved international acclaim. Lill is the artistic director of Pärnu Contemporary Music Days, and Chairman of the Estonian Arnold Schönberg Society since 2004. Since 2014, Lill is the chairman of the Estonian Composers’ Union.

The work of Märt-Matis Lill reflects his interest in the Orient and its intellectual traditions. His oeuvre combines the sonorous sound of the West and the refined and focused feel of oriental music. His works are often connected to poetry and many have been born from a poetic vision.