Orient, the Festival of Eastern Music

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Orient is an annual music festival held in the Baltic countries concentrating on Asian music, the main focus being on folk, sacred, and traditional classical music. The festival has featured Oriental musicians such as Indian flautist Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, sitarists Pandit Ravi Shankar and Anoushka Shankar, the Japanese giant drum ensemble "Kodô", the Tuvinian guttural singers "Huun-Huur-Tu", Tibetan Buddhists monks of Gyuto and Gyume monasteries, the Turkish percussionist Burhan Öçal, the Armenian dudukist Jivan Gasparyan, and the Azeri muqam singer Alim Qasimov.


The festival was founded in 1992 with composer Peeter Vähi as artistic director. Until 2001 the festival was arranged in co-operation with Estonian National Concert Institute (Eesti Kontsert) after which it was taken over by Estonian Record Productions (ERP), who is the owner of the festival's trademark. The festival has grown into a cultural event in the Baltic region with concerts taking place in Latvia, Finland, Sweden and St. Petersburg in addition to the original location of Estonia.

Most of the Orient Festival concerts are recorded, often in cooperation with the Estonian Broadcasting Corporation. A CD The Path to the Heart of Asia with music performed by artists from Taiwan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Tuva, Siberia and Turkey has been released. In addition to the concerts, there have been dance performances, master classes, a tea ceremony, film screenings, art, ikebana and photo exhibitions, lectures on Buddhism and Islam and religious rituals under the umbrella of the festival.


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