Conductor and clarinettist

After completing her master’s degree in clarinet at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki with Harri Mäki and Kari Kriikku, Estonian born Erle Kont is continuing her education in master’s of conducting in the same university with Sakari Oramo and Petri Komulainen.

Upcoming engagements include conducting Tapiola Sinfonietta and Finnish Clarinet Society orchestra.

2021/2022 season saw Kont conducting BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Joensuu City Orchestra, Vaasa City Orchestra, Oulu Symphony Orchestra and others.

Erle Kont is the founder and artistic director of the contemporary music group Tartu Sound (2017), which focuses on the music of young Estonian composers transitioning into professional life. It is a community driven organisation that brings together new music lovers, composers and instrumentalists. Young composers get to showcase their work alongside seasoned professionals from Estonia and the world in 3-4 annual concerts. During this short time, 31 compositions have been written specifically for and premiered by Tartu Sound. The concerts take place in Gallery Pallas – the art gallery of Pallas University of Applied Sciences. Situated at the very center of the city, there the most recent works of art can be seen through huge windows that cover the whole art gallery. The ensemble of Tartu Sound consists of top musicians from Estonia. The concerts are supported by Estonian Cultural Foundation.

Erle is also the artistic director and chief conductor of Tapiola Entertainment Band – a big band type of an orchestra, whose repertoire ranges from nostalgic Finnish pop music to tangos and jazz. This unique ensemble was established in 1987 and it still has several founding members playing in it! The orchestra plays all original transcriptions because of the wide variety of instruments in the ensemble – wind and string instruments together with accordions, guitar, bass and percussion instruments. It is a versatile orchestra created to take music out to the community and share the fun and joy the ensemble feels when playing.

As a prolific prize winner on the clarinet, Erle Kont is the prize winner of 14 competitions, including 1st prize from international Eduard Medinš competition (2011, Latvia), 2nd prize from the Eduard Medinš competition (2012, 2013, 2014) and 1st prize from Estonian national competitions (2009, 2011). In 2018 Erle won a special prize for the best interpretation of a new piece by Tõnis Kaumann from the Estonian national clarinet competition given by the composer himself. During a 2015 ISA Festival in Austria, Erle won both 1st prize in Bohuslav Martinu competition as a soloist and 1st prize in Viktor Kalabis competition as a duo.

Erle has been supported by scholarships from SA Archimedes Foundation, Estonian Cultural Foundation, Finnish Cultural Foundation, Martin-Wegelius Foundation, Braun, Sibelius Academy Foundation, Rain Lõhmus Foundation and Cultural Foundation of Tartu.