Sander Tamm was born on 9th January 1992. His path towards becoming a musician began in 1996 at Heino Eller Tartu Music College, where he attended the preparatory flute department. He was mentored by Anneli Kuusk, a highly respected flautist and teacher in Tartu.
During the early years of his music studies, Sander was a member of an early music ensemble Ellerino that was led by his teacher Anneli Kuusk. The ensemble was an anticipated performer at festivals, competitions, and many other events. Most frequently the group participated at the Viljandi Early Music Festival where, over the course of many years, they performed The Mask of Flowers (2004), The Play of Daniel (2005), Orpheus (2006), Bastien and Bastienne (2007), Peregrinus (2008) and Parnassus (2009). Ellerino also participated in major international festivals:
2002 – The Nizhny Novgorod International Early Music Festival in Russia
2003 – 2nd prize at the 3rd International Block Flute Festival in Engelskirchen, Germany
2004 – 1st prize at SONBU Festival in Utrecht, the Netherlands
2006 – the ERTA Congress in Feldkirchen, Austria. Sander was the representative of The European Youth Parliament of Estonia.
As a soloist, Sander’s skills were appreciated as follows:
2001 – 1st prize at the Nationwide Competition for Young Wind Instrument Players
2002 – 1st and 2nd prize at the Jacob van Eyck Contest
2003 – 2nd prize at the D. O. Wirkhaus Competition for Brass Instruments (block flute)
2003 – 2nd prize at the D. O. Wirkhaus Competition for Wind Instruments (flute)
2003 – 1st prize at the Nationwide Competition for Wind Instrument Players
2003 – 1st prize at the Nationwide Competition for Music and Art School Student Flautists
2003 – 1st prize at the Nationwide Competition for Young Wind Instrument Players
2005 – 1st prize at the Nationwide Competition for Young Woodwind Instrument Players (block flute)
2005 – 1st prize at the Nationwide Competition for Young Woodwind Instrument Players (flute)
2005 – 3rd prize at the Nationwide Competition for Music and Art School Student Block Flautists
2006 – 3rd prize at the 7th International Karla Stralau Starptautiskais Contest “Jaunais Flautists” in Jelgava
2007 – 3rd prize at the Nationwide Competition for Block Flute Students
2007 – 2nd prize at the Nationwide Competition for Flute Students in age group II
2007 – 1st prize at the Nationwide Competition for Brass Instrument Students of the Tartu region
2007 – 3rd prize at the Competition of International Chamber Ensembles in Dobele
2010 – 3rd prize at the International Competition for Chamber Ensembles in Riga
When he started school at Tartu Karlova Secondary School in 1999, he was offered to join the Tartu Boys’ Choir. During his studies, they performed many great works with the Vanemuine Theatre symphony orchestra and opera choir (Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, Arthur Honegger’s Joan of Arc, etc.). These days Sander also amassed experience from choir concerts, concert tours, festivals, competitions, disc recordings and song festivals. As a bright coloratura Sander was the soloist in many of the works. In 2004, Lydia Koidula’s A Mother’s Heart was performed at the Song Festival with Simo Breede as the soloist.
Sander graduated from the youth department of Tartu Heino Eller Music College as a flautist in 2009 and started studying choir conducting at that same school (under teacher Lilyan Kaiv). Sander acquired his high school-level conducting skills from Georg Ots Music School under teacher Peeter Perens, graduating in 2011.
In 2015, Sander Tamm defended his Bachelor’s degree at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre under the supervision of Professor Tõnu Kaljuste. His thesis was entitled “Veljo Tormis’ choral cycle Autumn Landscapes for the women’s choir”, with his thesis concert on Source of Wisdom performed to the audience at Niguliste church and the listeners of Radio Classics (Part of European Broadcasting Union and Euroradio) with the help of Chamber Choir Voces Musicales.
“Sander Tamm is an outstanding young conductor whose activities as a conductor have been outstanding and promising since the very beginning of his conductor’s education.”
Lecturer at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre
Artistic director of the 2011 Youth Song Festival “The Wide World Begins in a Small Land”
“Sander is a promising conductor – a student with good results throughout his Bachelor’s studies and an owner of many prizes from various international competitions.”
Lecturer at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre
Chief conductor of the Estonian National Opera Boys’ Choir
General conductor and artistic director of Estonian Song Festivals
In 2010 Sander won 1st prize at the Choral Conducting Department Competition at Heino Eller Music College, in 2010 1st prize at the Three Schools Choral Conductor’s Competition in Tallinn, and in 2011 he won 1st prize and the special prize for singers at the Choral Conducting Department Competition at Georg Ots Music College, along with a title of the Best Student of the Year.
Over the years, Sander has participated in many further training courses and masterclasses. He has drawn ideas both as an active as well as a passive participant from the following:
2008 – Conducting masterclass with Professor Toomas Kapten
2010 – Classical singing masterclass with Professor Eva Märtson
2010 – Hanover Girl’s Choir masterclass with Gudrun Schröfel
2010 – Further training course for choral conductors and music teachers
2012 – Masterclass with Jos van Veldhoven
2013 – Masterclass with Eric Whitacre
2013 – Masterclass with Peter Philips
2015 – British English phonetics course with Geoff Lindsay
2015 – Classical singing masterclass with Professor Susan Bullock
2015 – Classical singing masterclass with Professor Joan Rodgers
2016 – Masterclass with maestro Stephen Willis (Cambridge, UK)
2017 – Conductors masterclass with Nikolai Alexeev
2017 – Masterclass with maestro Stephen Willis (Cambridge, UK)
2018 – Masterclass with maestro Stephen Willis (Cambridge, UK)
Because he took great interest in English choral music and its history of boys’ choirs, Sander took to improving his skills in London from November 2015 to January 2016, taking up an active part in his studies at Westminster Abbey Choir School for boys and at London Royal Academy (under professors Sian Edwars and Patrick Russill).
Today Sander coordinates music education at Euroasia Education, a private school for introducing British culture in Hangzhou, China. His area of expertise is The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music exams (The Royal Academy of Music, The Royal College of Music, The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, The Royal Northern College of Music), as well as General Certificate of Secondary Education exams.
Sander Tamm works as the chief conductor for the city’s representative group The Hangzhou Boys’ Choir.
The Hangzhou Boys’ Choir exists to educate and care for 35 boys who sing as choristers in the choir. The purpose-built school, set in the heart of the Hangzhou precincts, offers a complete preparatory school education but tailored precisely to the needs of choristers. Academic lessons, musical tuitin, sports, activities and games are carefully arranged around the boys various singing commitments to offer a unique educational experience.
The chorister training in itself is probably the very best form of musical education for boys of this age. The Hangzhoy Boys’ Choir choristers are perform highly professional standard alongside their adult colleagues, and they naturally learn to read music, and to respond musically. Within the choir the music curriculum is designed to complement the vocal training that the boys receive in the school. All boys learn music history, orchestral ensemble, theory, aural classes and musical movement from part of the overall curriculum. Boys’ practice is carefully timetabled and supervised encouraging good study habits.
During 2012–2015 Sander Tamm was the chief conductor for Virumaa Boys’ Choir and Tallinn University Chamber Choir. With the latter one they participated in many choral competitions both on a local and international scale:
In the spring of 2013 they won 2nd prize at the International Choral Competition “Tallinn 2013”, after that, in autumn of the same year, they won in 2 categories at the International Choral Competition “In … Canto sul Garda” in Italy. Additionally, they performed Tales of the Sea at the St. Petersburg International Choral Festival.
In 2015 they won 2nd prize at the 5th Viimsi JazzPopFest Competition, 3rd prize at the International Choral Festival “Tallinn 2015”, and 6th prize at the Cork International Choral Festival and Fleischmann International Trophy Competition.
During 2012–2015 he led the chamber choir Crede, with whom they performed Urmas Sisask’s Christmas Oratorio (in cooperation with mixed choir Vox Populi, soloist Endrik Üksvärav and Kristel Kurik) and won 1st prize and the special prize for the performance of an obligatory song at the 12th Estonian Chamber Choir Festival in Türi. At the same festival, Sander Tamm was also named the best conductor.
For his outstanding activities, Sander has also received the Archimedes Teacher Training scholarship, the Gustav Ernesaks scholarship, the Estonian Culture Capital’s Young Musician scholarship, and the Kuno Areng scholarship.
Feedback from competitions is as follows:
“Good conductor! Has the ability to create an atmosphere.”
“A very musical conductor, has a presence that makes you look at him – even from the point of view of an audience.”
“Good story characters, musical, has an especially vocal legato. Has outstandingly well-performed concrete beginnings (a conductor!).”
“A well-chosen programme performed with musicality and an understanding of the music. You created, and captured, a wonderful atmosphere through the quality of vocal sound and the musicality of interpretation.”
As an assistant conductor Sander Tamm has managed many various project choirs: the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, the Nargen Festival Choir, the Choir of Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, the project choir for Eric Whitacre’s author concert, the project choir of the Estonian Mixed Choirs’ Association for their summer camp, the E Stuudio Chamber Choir, the E Stuudio Youth Choir, the Male Choir of Tallinn Technical University, and the Chamber Choir Voces Musicales. Sander Tamm has also stepped up as a conductor at several song festivals: Conductor for the boys’ and women’s choirs at Virumaa Song Festival “Open the gates of Viru”, and a conductor for the 17th Baltic Students’ Song Festival “Gaudeamus” at Daugavpils.
During the season of 2013/2014 Sander Tamm was the guest conductor for the Estonian National Male Choir.
“…conductor Sander just raised his arms and the choir indeed began to sing. Not sing among some other things, but genuinely perform a piece.”
“Great methods for warming up vocally, helpful, positive, inspiring, achieved very good contact, very professional, demanding, playful.”
“He is a pleasant conductor who, with his engaging energy, inspires you to give it your best. I especially liked his vocal warm-up exercises, the way he kept the choir in action as soon as it showed signs of fatigue.”
“There were no discounts with him; he demanded a full 100%. His endeavours to better the sound of a large choir through correct vocal and breathing exercises are worth candles. His eyes were bursting with energy and motivation – excellent!”
“I looked forward to each rehearsal and the culmination of it all was something wonderful. For several days after the concert, I retained a pleasant feeling that I wouldn’t trade for anything, I thank you for making it possible to happen. I got back so much from it that it’s difficult to even put into words. Making music together increased my love for singing, and my dedication to it.”
“Working with Sander gave me a whole new perspective on choral music.”
“I admire your competence as a choral conductor, a musician and, of course, your enviable cheerfulness and kindness!”
“I have never gone to another rehearsal with such enthusiasm, and I have never looked forward to a rehearsal as much as I did for our project choir.
Sander’s repertoire features U. Sisask’s Christmas Oratorio, L.V. Beethoven’s Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage, R. Vaughan Williams’ Flos Campi, E.-S. Tüür’s Psalmody, A. Pärt’s Te Deum, G.F. Händel The Coronation Anthems, D. Clemens’ opera An Enlightened Disciple of Darkness.
Sander likes romantic, religious, ambiguous, mythological and emotion-evoking pieces the most. Based on the above, the ones close to his heart are T.L. Victoria, G. Holst, C.V. Standford, M. Hogan, Z.R. Stroope, O. Gjeilo, A. Dale, E. Whitacre, R.G. Martin, M. Saar, R. Kangro, V. Tormis, E. Mägi, P. Uusberg, S. Sokk, and R.E. Maimets.
Sander Tamm has also managed several cultural projects. It all began in 2010 when Sander first called together his musician friends to perform varied block flute music at the Viljandi St. John’s Church Concert. That sense of success that originated from their undertaking and the resulting flood of ideas have been motivating them since the concert and have not subsided even today.
In 2011, having organized and conducted it himself, Sander brought Urmas Sisask’s Christmas Oratorio to audiences in Tartu and Tallinn with a choir of almost a 100 (Chamber Choir Crede and Chamber Choir Vox Populi), the soloists being Endrik Üksvärav and Kristel Kurik, instrumental soloists being Samuel Jalakas (trumpet), Kaspar Mänd (oboe), and Ulla Krigul (organ). The event was broadcasted by Tallinn Television.
Mart Jaanson, a Music Department professor at Tartu University wrote in his article “A Christmas story in music”, published in cultural paper Sirp as follows:
“The whole piece was led by a very young 19-year-old conductor Sander Tamm. If I’m not mistaken, it was Tamm’s first large-scale project on a professional level. From Chamber Choir Crede’s web page it can be understood that the conductor is at the same time the producer of the whole project and here words of praise indeed fall short. To gather so many sponsors, advertise on such a large scale (even on the expensive advertising space of a shopping mall!), get together such a large choir, comprised mostly of young people, capable soloists and a chamber group, and perform music for the love of music and God – now that’s something!”
This concert production was followed by an undertaking that perhaps gained the most attention through the media – bringing Eric Whitacre for a visit.
“May of this year brought us something we deemed almost impossible. Eric Whitacre, an American choral conductor, probably the most famous person in choral music, visited Estonia. This awe-inspiring undertaking was made possible by enthusiastic young people, led by EAMT Choral Conducting Department student Sander Tamm,” wrote Ia Remmel, chief editor of Muusika magazine.
During his multiple-day visit, Whitacre also led a conducting masterclass and performed an author’s concert. Of the whole event, many radio shows were produced and a TV production entitled Eric Whitacre’s Estonian Visit and Author’s Concert (ETV, 2013) was made.
The undertaking was made even more significant by the fact that, for the author’s concert, a nationwide choir was gathered through a contest, where from approximately 200 candidates 80 were chosen to perform an effective concert after almost half a year of rehearsing. It was also backed by the Estonians themselves, which was demonstrated by getting 100% of the project financing it applied through Hooandja, and being repeatedly nominated the Best Cultural Experience of the Year by the listeners of Radio Classics.
The success of the project was also demonstrated by its nomination for the Cultural Award given by the Estonian Ministry of Culture, it being nominated in the Act of the Year category by the Estonian Choral Association, and being awarded the title of Organizer of the Year.
Kaie Tanner, Secretary General of the Estonian Choral Association has stated: “Sander is a good example of a conductor with a vision and a strong idea; he never stopped to ponder why no one else was doing it, rather got to it himself. Even the Gustav Ernesaks Foundation acknowledged Sander as a young and very active conductor by awarding him with a stipend.”
Sander, having a great sense of the whole, good team leadership skills and a deep focus on details, creates an inspiring environment that allows you to experience events on a higher level. He unites the skills of professional communication, creativity, speed, wisdom, wit, and experience. Sander’s skill set also incorporates areas such as advertising, artist management, sponsorships, project management, strategic planning, artistic directing, cooperation network building, sound editing, photography, finance, and copyrights. Innovativeness and separate solutions are Sander’s trump cards.
Ruta Dambyte, Sander’s long-time cooperative partner, organizer of the choir’s concert tours, and CEO of Baltic Breeze Travel writes:
“Sander is a very enthusiastic and creative person when it comes down to the organization and promotion of music events. He thinks out of the box and always tries to find innovative solutions to stand out from the crowd and achieve the maximum result. In evidence, our concerts that are promoted by Sander always get large audiences. Apart from his professional skills, Sander is a pleasant person to collaborate with. With his open, friendly, easy-going personality, and strong working and personal moral values, he contributes positively to the final working result.”
Over the years, he has collaborated with
The Estonian Female Song Society – the Female Song Society’s 20th-anniversary concert at the Estonia Concert Hall (nominated as the Act of the Year at the Estonian Choral Association’s Annual Awards in 2014)
Tallinn University – the Tallinn University Film Music Gala
The Estonian Chamber Choirs Union – the 13th Chamber Choir Festival
Music Baltics – The SIUE Suzuki Tour Orchestra concert tour of the Baltics
– the Chor Capella Nova concert tour of the Baltics
– the Drake University Choir concert tour of the Baltics
– the Chicago Chorale concert tour of the Baltics and Scandinavia
– Cappella Nova concert tour of the Baltics and Scandinavia
– the Drake Choir concert tour of the Baltics and Scandinavia
– the SIUE Suzuki Tour Group concert tour of the Baltics
Classical Movements – the George Washington University Singers’ concert tour of the Baltics
The London Estonian Society – the Estonian society’s Christmas Party of 2015
Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre and the Estonian Song Festival Foundation – preparation of the IT Song Festival training programme
Sander has been a member of the Estonian Chamber Choirs Union since 2011, and its president since 2015. Sander belongs to Estonian Choral Association council of sub-organisations’ presidents. Member of ULYSSES Network since 2016 and member of International Music Managers Forum since 2018.
Sander Tamm has also contributed as a singer in the National Opera Estonia Opera Choir, the Estonian National Male Choir, and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir. Amongst others they have performed R. Wagner’s Parsifal at the Noblessner Foundry (2011), the In French Spirit Concert Tour (2012), the world’s first performance of An Enlightened Disciple of Darkness (2013), and “Tormis 80 – The Rite of Birth” at the Noblessner Foundry (2015).
Over the last years Sander has also been an esteemed panel member for various competitions: TPG School Vision 2015, Best Estonian Food 2015, Female Choral Singing Competition 2015, Love Songs Competition, and the 2007 ERTA International Block Flute Competition. As a masterclass organizer, Sander has taught participants at the 2014 St. Petersburg (Russia) International Choral Music Festival on the topic “The treasury of Estonian choral music”, and on British choral music at the 2016 Hangzhou Winter School.
In 2007 Sander was widely known as a radio voice at Family Radio, shaping both morning programmes as well as leading youth and music shows. During the years, Sander’s conversational partners have been people like Priit Kuusk, Andres Uibo, Ines Maidre, Agnes Böning, Pille Lill, Eenok Haamer, Jaan Tamsalu, Philippe Jourdan, Madara Vilson and Laura Põldvere.