Celebrating its 72th birthday this year, Estonian National Male Choir (also known as RAM) was established by Estonian choral music legend, conductor and composer Gustav Ernesaks. Having sung mostly a cappella during its early years, RAM has grown into a world-famous professional choir that often performs large symphonic compositions.
Estonian National Male Choir frequently records for Estonian National Broadcasting and has collaborated with such labels as Deutsche Grammophon, Sony, Finlandia, Alba Records, GB Records Virgin Classics and Aurora.
In 2004 RAM was awarded the Grammy award for the best choral performance, first for Estonia (Sibelius’ cantatas, in collaboration with Ellerhein choir, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and conductor Paavo Järvi). During last five years the choir has released five CDs, including “In Paradisum” with compositions by Galina Grigorjeva, which in 2015 won the award for the best classical album in Estonia. The most recent CD was released by Aurora and includes music by Norwegian composer Henrik Ødegaard. Yet to be released is a CD featuring Italian composers Giovanni Bonato and Giovanni Gabrieli.
Starting from the 2011 / 2012 season Estonian National Male Choir is led by chief conductor and artistic director Mikk Üleoja. The list of previous conductors includes Harald Uibo, Uno Järvela, Olev Oja, Kuno Areng, Ants Üleoja, Ants Soots, Kaspars Putniņš and others. The choir’s repertoire spans from renaissance to contemporary. Besides many Estonian composers, RAM has premiered compositions by such luminaries as Dmitri Shostakovich, Otar Taktakshvili, Gavin Bryars and Giovanni Bonato.
During its long history Estonian National Male Choir has performed all over Estonia and former Soviet Union, as well as in many European countries, Israel, Canada and USA. In 2015 the choir sung a cappella and with orchestras in Russia (St Petersburg), Israel (Tel Aviv, Jerusalem), France (Chateauroux), several Canadian cities, Germany (Hannover) and China (Shanghai, Beijing).
In 2016 the concerts took place in St Petersburg’s famous Cappella-hall, Armenia (Vanadzor, Yerevan) and Georgia (Tbilisi). In August the choir sung at the “Nuits de Choeurs” festival.
In 2015 Estonian National Male Choir and Mikk Üleoja were awarded the State Cultural Award, marking the choir’s remarkable performances.