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Vahastu Church

14.07 at 7 p.m.



Lembit Saarsalu - tenor saxophone
Susanna Aleksandra - vocals

Olav Ehala - piano
Toivo Unt - double bass
Toomas Rull - percussion

LEMBIT SAARSALU is internationally recognized as one of the most esteemed Estonian jazz musicians and saxophonists. He has been awarded titles such as "Estonian Jazz Calling Card" and "Jazz Pearl," among others. He has performed in nearly 10,000 concerts worldwide, collaborated with jazz legends, and conducted masterclasses in the United States, Germany, Finland, and Russia. In collaboration with symphony orchestras, he has presented jazz-symphonic works in Estonia, Finland, Sweden, and the United States. In the fall of 2018, Saarsalu was honored with the Interpretation Award "Great Figure of Estonian Jazz" by the Estonian Music Council.

OLAV EHALA is a sought-after pianist in various ensemble settings, one of Estonia's most renowned and beloved songwriters, and a composer of film and theater music. His songs are known to multiple generations of Estonians, have been included in song festival programs, and are part of the golden fund of Estonian music. Ehala has received numerous accolades for his versatile work. Since 1991, he has been a professor at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (becoming an associate professor in 1998 and a professor in 2004). From 2001 to 2014, he served as the Chairman of the Estonian Composers' Union. He is a member of the Estonian Theatre Union and an honorary member of the Estonian Music Teachers' Association.

TOIVO UNT has been at the forefront of Estonian and former Soviet Union mainstream jazz bassists for several decades. Since 1969, his main position has been with the Symphony Orchestra of the Estonian National Opera. Unt has performed at international jazz festivals, collaborated with renowned international artists, participated in various international jazz-symphonic projects, and recorded extensively. In 1999, he served as the artistic director and manager of the jazz ballet "In The Mood" performed at the Estonian National Opera. He is the founder and artistic director of the Nõmme Jazz Festival.


TOOMAS RULL embarked on his career as a performing musician in 1984 at the Estonian State Philharmonic. He is a highly regarded percussionist and educator, a distinctive music creator, ensemble leader, vocalist, and sought-after musician in various ensemble settings, both in the studio and on the concert stage. He has collaborated with numerous ensembles spanning different genres, participated in the recording of nearly a hundred albums, including his own solo albums "Rull's Royce - Rull's Choice" (2002), "Estonian Voices" (2005), and "Going North" (2006). In 2007, he was awarded the title of "Jazz Artist of the Year."

SUSANNA ALEKSANDRA is a jazz vocalist, composer, and lyricist. Susanna captivates audiences with her charismatic stage presence and versatile vocals. She is a skilled storyteller and effortlessly weaves melodies, lyrics, and musical ideas together. In 2015, Susanna Aleksandra released her debut original album, "Miracles." Her second album, "Souls of the Night," featuring some of the finest jazz musicians from Northern Europe, was released in March 2020 (Blue Gleam) in Japan. The international version of the album, titled "The Siren" (Eclipse Music), was released in January 2021 in Finland and received a nomination for the Estonian Music Awards 2021 Jazz Album of the Year. Additionally, the renowned jazz magazine "Jazzwise" selected the album as one of the best of 2021. Apart from music, Susanna has a passion for languages. She holds a degree in French language and literature and is fluent in six different languages. She enjoys musically traveling and often sings in multiple languages. During concert tours, she communicates with international audiences in their native languages whenever possible. Susanna earned her bachelor's degree in jazz music from the prestigious Sibelius Academy in Finland. She is currently completing her master's studies at the Sibelius Academy. In 2020, she received a scholarship at the USC Thornton School of Music, where she studied under double Grammy nominee Sara Gazarek and Grammy winner Bob Mintzer. Susanna Aleksandra has performed at festivals in Finland, including the Jazz Finland Tour, Turku Jazz Festival, Imatra Big Band Festival, and Porvoo Jazz Festival. She has also performed at international festivals such as the Ancona Jazz Festival (Italy), Sõru Jazz Festival (Estonia), Brno Music Marathon (Czech Republic), Musicas Creativas (Gran Canaria, Spain), Auditorio de Tenerife (Tenerife, Spain), Kunstfabrik Schlot (Berlin), Blue Note Café (Strasbourg), Jazzy Colors (Paris), and Art Base (Brussels). Susanna has a familial connection to Lembit Saarsalu. Lembit was the student and friend of Susanna's grandfather, Aleksander Rjabov, and Susanna, in turn, studied at the Heino Eller Tartu Music School, where Lembit taught for many years.

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