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Helen Sildna, Madis Kolk and Sirje Helme received Foreign Ministry culture awards


Foreign Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus presented the Foreign Ministry’s 2014 awards for culture today, thanking and recognizing creative Estonians in the arts who, through culture, have contributed to improving and increasing Estonia's international reputation. “Today’s cultural award recipients, as well as all other creative Estonian people, are essentially our ambassadors while outside of the country. They represent and introduce Estonia, and make friends for our country abroad. This is important for Estonia and for this we thank and applaud you,” the Foreign Minister said. “2014 was a spectacular year for culture, both in Estonia and further abroad through representatives of Estonian culture,” she added.

The Foreign Minister recognised Helen Sildna with a culture award for her work in developing the Estonian music business and promoting the export of local music. “Helen Sildna is the director of Tallinn Music Week, the largest music festival in the Nordic and Baltic countries. It is a world renowned festival of talent and one of the most important meeting places for music communities in our region. This event has resulted in Estonia gaining thousands of friends and supporters and has helped create notable opportunities for our musicians,” the Foreign Minister said. In 2014, the Guardian and Observer rated Tallinn Music Week as one of the five best winter festival in the world. In addition to the main festival in Tallinn, Tallinn Music Week organises events introducing Estonian music in various different destination countries – in 2014, in Finland, Russia and France, for example.

“We recognize Madis Kolk for introducing our music in China, which has succeeded brilliantly, thanks to his initiative and leadership in organizing the Baltic Music Festival in China,” the Foreign Minister said. “This is one of the remarkable examples of introducing Estonian music, which greatly contributed to Estonian-China cultural cooperation and will undoubtedly be of great help for future projects,” she added. The Baltic Music Festival in China took place from October 25 to November 22 of last year. The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Arsis Handbell Ensemble, C-Jam cello quartet and pianist soloist Rein Rannap participated in the festival, which took place for the first time. A total of 20 concerts were held in six different cities – Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Jinan and Xuzhou. The festival’s Chinese organizers were the Chinese Association of Performing Arts and the Shanghai City Theatre. Eesti Kontsert was responsible for organisation on the Estonian side.

The Director-General of the Estonian Art Museum Sirje Helme was awarded the 2014 culture award for her work in organising the annual European Museum Forum conference and the European Museum of the Year award ceremony, as well as for her long-time introduction of world culture. Only museums which have won the title of European Museum of the Year can be nominated to organise the European Museum Forum’s annual conference. Kumu Art Museum won this title in 2008. Foreign Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus said that organising such a conference was a great recognition for both the Estonian museum and the entire field of Estonian art and provided an opportunity to introduce the diverse cultural heritage of Estonia. “Museums contribute to education, social life and tourism,” the Foreign Minister said. “The Art Museum of Estonia has valued the necessity of international cooperation to be high – both in exporting Estonian culture and bringing world culture into Estonia,” she added.

Last year, the Foreign Ministry’s cultural award was given to the people behind the Estonian-Georgian co-production feature film “Tangerines”, the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra (ERSO), Kristiina Ehin, Ilmar Lehtpere and Anne Erm. In 2012, the Foreign Ministry’s cultural awards went to Ewert and the Two Dragons, Ilmar Raag, Riina Sildos, Laine Mägi and Kalle Kasemaa. In 2011, Aivar Mäe and the creative team behind the XI Young Peoples’ Song and Dance Festival “Maa ja ilm” including Aet Maatee, Veronika Portsmuth Märt Agu and Raul Talmar received awards. In 2010, Arvo Pärt, Tõnu Kaljuste and Tiina Lokk were awarded the prize and in 2009 Imbi Paju and Tiit Ojasoo.


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