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date: 16 October 2019

Tulve, Helenalocked

  • Merike Vaitmaa


(b Tartu, April 28, 1972). Estonian composer. She studied composition with Erkki-Sven Tüür at the Tallinn Conservatory from 1989 to 1991 and with Jacques Charpentier at the Conservatoire National de Région, Paris, graduating with the Premier Prix in 1994. From 1993 to 1996 she studied Gregorian chant and traditional music at the Paris Conservatoire. She has attended summer courses with György Ligeti and Marco Stroppa in Hungary (1990) and studied computer music and composition at IRCAM in Paris (2001). She has lectured on composition since 2000 at the Estonian Academy of Music, where she is an associate professor.

Tulve’s music is clearly focused on timbre and texture, yet equally significant is pitch (including the occasional use of microtones); elaborate rhythmic patterns are used to avoid repetition. The music’s imagery, ranging from the contemplative to the powerful, can include unexpectedly vigorous gestures, still always retaining the underlying serenity and confident stream of musical time. Her approach is related in principle to spectral music (particularly in view of Grisey’s well-known statement that ‘music is made with sounds, not with notes’), without applying spectral procedures; neither does she make use of any predetermined compositional system, rather allowing a new work to evolve in a manner resembling organic growth. Her compositional decisions depend on the distinctive features and means of sound production of different instruments, and on the view of the work’s general shape. Her impetus for an instrumental work may be a poetic text (as in ...

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