C0 note (16,35 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

D0 note (18.35 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

C0 note (16,35 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

F0 note (21.83 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

G0 note (24.50 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

A0 note (27.50 Hz) — vibrating on liquid surface

Tulve, Helena 




Member of the Estonian Composers’ Union since 2002

At the core of Helena Tulve’s music is unceasing change and the associated processes in time and space, energy transformation. Her music is rooted in simple elementary impulses, being affected by natural patterns, organicity and universal life energy, which embraces complexity and contradictions, different conditions, forms and movements. No sound is excluded from Tulve’s music, and each may find its own time and place therein. Sound centrality in Tulve’s music does not mean only the timbre; it simultaneously includes melody, intonation tension, harmony and micro-intervals, energetic transformations – creating a sound space where dynamic processes take place on a temporal axis. She is interested in the perception and apprehension of depth in space-time.

Helena Tulve studied composition with Alo Põldmäe at Tallinn Music High School and at the Estonian Music Academy from 1989 to 1992; at that time she was Erkki-Sven Tüür’s only student. Thereafter she continued with her compositional studies at the Conservatoire de Paris under Jacques Charpentier, graduating in 1994 with the Premier Prix. From 1993 to 1996, she continued at the same institution in the area of Gregorian chant and traditional music. Various oral musical traditions remain in her field of interests. She has taken part in György Ligeti and Marco Stroppa’s summer courses (1990) and IRCAM electronic music courses in Paris (2001).

In 1998, Helena Tulve’s piece "à travers" was selected as one of two suggested works in the young composers’ category of the International Rostrum of Composers for Large Ensembles, and in 2004, her orchestral work "Sula" (Thawing) was awarded the first prize in the rostrum’s main category

Since 2000, Helena Tulve has been on the faculty of composition at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (professor since 2011, vice rector from 2012 to 2016), and since 2015 she has been the artistic director of the Estonian Music Days.

Helena Tulve served as composer-in-residence with the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir in 2001/02 concert season. Commissioned by the choir, her chamber opera It Is Getting So Dark, based on the 10th century Japanese female writer Sei Shonagon’s diary-like work Pillow Book, premiered in 2004. In 2006, Helena Tulve was featured composer at the Estonian Music Days Festival. In 2012 she was the composer in residency at International Pärnu Music Festival Järvi Academy. During the season 2012/13 she served as composer-in-residence with the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra.

Helena Tulve has been commissioned by NYYD Ensemble, ensemble U:, ensemble diferencias, Netherlands Chamber Choir, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Uppsala Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble Courage, Ensemble Aleph, Seattle Chamber Players, Deutschlandradio, Schumannfest Düsseldorf, Fondation Prince Pierre of Monaco, Nieuw Ensemble, Stockholm Saxophone Quartet, Gaudeamus Music Week etc.​ Helena Tulve’s compositions have been performed in Europe, the USA, Canada, Asia and Australia, and at many festivals.




ISCM Young Composer Award


Works in ISCM catalogue



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