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Classical Hugs Summer Academy in Tallinn, Estonia ~ July 15 - August 7, 2024


June 1 - Final Application Deadline.



Member of the by the European Festivals Association, Classical Hugs International Music Festival is a critically acclaimed annual music event in Estonia. The festival explores cross-cultural and musical connections between Estonia and countries of Western Europe, Asia, The United States, and South America. Each year, the festival presents orchestral, chamber, and solo concerts at the most prestigious Estonian venues: Estonia Concert Hall, Tartu Vanemuise Theater, House of Blackheads, and Narva's Geneva Keskus. Festival concerts took place in Latvia, Lithuania, and Finland. The festival also presents masterclasses in piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, french horn, trombone, and percussion, by world-class musicians from Estonia, the United States, England, Germany, China, Poland, and Ukraine. The Festival's Artistic Director is Michael Bulychev-Okser (USA).

Cultural Message and Mission

A hug is a simple expression of human warmth. A Classical Hug is an expression of an affectionate feeling through music.

The festival's mission is to demonstrate how music can bring love and peace worldwide. 

History: Then and Now

Since 2014, the Classical Hugs International Music Festival has presented concerts by the world's most acclaimed classical music artists: violinists Shlomo Mintz and Albert Markov, pianists Daniel Pollack, Mikhail Voskresensky, and Andreas Froelich, violists Paul Neubauer and Marco Miscagnia, cellist Raphael Wallfisch, and flutist Rita D'Arcangelo. 

Each summer, Classical Hugs Academy attracts students from over 50 countries to study with eminent musicians: pianists Olga Kern, Dmitri Alexeev, Piotr Paleczny, Grigory Gruzman, John O'Conor, violinists Pavel Vernikov, Boris Garlitksy, Felix Andrievsky, Lewis Kaplan, Michael Vaiman, Cho-Liang Lin, and Boris Vayner, violists Hartmut Rohde, Paul Neubauer, Alexander Zemtsov, and Isabel Villanueva, cellist Colin Carr. 

The festival also presents specialty orchestral masterclasses with the Co-Leader of the London Symphonic Orchestra, Carmine Lauri, and the Principal violinist of the Royal Opera - Covent Garden, Sergey Levitin

Festival 2017 presented the Opera Gala with Singers from 10 Major European Theaters performing on the summer stage in Presidential Kadriorg Park. 

Festival 2023 featured a concert tour in 4 Estonian cities: Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu, and Narva. 6 concerts featured 3 orchestras, 4 conductors, and soloists from Germany, the United States, England, Japan, China, Denmark, and Albania. 

The 2024 edition presents masterclasses for all instruments with Professors from the United States, Germany, Poland, China, and Estonia as well as concerts in various locations in Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu, and Helsinki.



Classical Hugs masterclasses, rehearsals, and chamber music will be held at different facilities in Tallinn, Estonia. All facilities are conveniently located in Tallinn's Historic Old Town, including the House of Blackheads, the Pink Building, the Tallinn Town Hall, and the Tallinn History Museum. Classical Hugs (Music Festival) is held in partnership with the Tartu Chamber Music Festival, and its Director, Anna Samsonova. 


Festival concerts will take place in 4 Estonian cities of Tartu, Tallinn, Narva, and Pärnu. Students will be offered performance opportunities in several prestigious halls, including the Town Hall, History Museum, House of Blackheads (Tallinn), Geneva Keskus (Narva), and Kuninga Tänava Põhikool in Pärnu, and the Rock Church in Helsinki, Finland. Students can perform solo repertoire (strings performing with piano accompanist), as part of a preformed chamber group, or as part of the Classical Hugs Orchestra. Selected students will also receive an opportunity to perform a solo with the festival orchestra.


The concerts of the Classical Hugs Music Festival will present several orchestral concerts with soloists. Festival orchestras include the Narva Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Maestro Anatoli Schura), and Klassika Kütkes International Orchestra under the baton of Estonian conductor Lilyan Kaiv.

Classical Hugs International Orchestra

Classical Hugs International Orchestra was formed in 2022. The orchestra features musicians from various Estonian orchestras and festival students. The festival 2024 will feature specialty orchestra masterclasses with leading section violinist of the Kumi Sinfonietta (Finland), Sergei Tiutiunik, in addition to other orchestra members. 



Classical Hugs Music Festival in Tartu accepts students of all ages and nationalities. 

Masterclasses are open to the following instruments: Violin, Viola, Cello, Piano, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Trumpet, french Horn, Trombone, and Percussion. 

Selected students can sign up to perform solo with Classical Hugs Orchestra, led by Anatoli Stsura, and receive multi-camera recordings of their performance - this opportunity is open during the festival and throughout the year.  

Periods of study and costs


1 week: July 15-22 or July 19-25 or July 29-August 4 or August 1-7. Cost: 550 €

3 lessons + 1 open masterclass participation + 1 students' concert participation

10 days: July 15-25 or July 29-August 7. Cost: 700 €

4 lessons + 2 open masterclass participation + 1 students' concert participation + 1 orchestra concert participation (Strings, Winds and Brass students only, No Piano)

Full Program: July 15 - August 7. Cost: 1,550 €

8 lessons + 3 open masterclass participation + All concerts of the festival

Masterclasses program also includes:

- Trips with Concerts outside of Tallinn

- Participation in Classical Hugs Orchestra (all instruments).

- Chamber Music with members of Neopolis Baltic Orchestra (Poland)

- Observation of all masterclasses and concerts by festival professors and guest artists.

- High-definition recording of all festival events and selected masterclasses.

- Orchestral Mastery Course with Sergei Tiutiunik - Kumi Sinfonietta (strings only)

- Sightseeing and Excursions

- Solo with Klassika Kütkes Chamber Orchestra (recorded) - additional cost -see Solo with Orchestra Program below

Orchestra/Chamber Music program - July 15 - August 7

Cost: 300 €

The program is open to all orchestral instruments, except piano:

Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon,

French Horn, Trumpets, Trombone, English Horn, Timpani, Harp.

Program includes:

- 4 orchestral rehearsals as part of the Classical Hugs International Orchestra.

- Participation in 4 orchestral concerts in Tallinn, Tartu, Narva, and Pärnu. 

1 Orchestra Audition simulation with Excerpts prepared - detailed feedback and coaching will be offered by the adjudication panel. Excerpts: 1 technical selection, 1 lyrical selection, 1 work for sightreading. 

- Orchestral Mastery Course with Sergei Tiutiunik - Kumi Sinfonietta.

- Chamber Music with members of Tartu Chamber Music Festival.

- Sightseeing of Tartu, Tallinn, and Pärnu.

Performance with Orchestra Program - Dates: July 20-25 & August 1-7.

Open to all instruments.


€599 - 1st movement

€699 - Concert piece (e.g., Ravel's Tzigane)

€799 - 2nd & 3rd movements

€1,199 - Full Concerto.

Program includes:

- Performance of a concerto with Classical Hugs Chamber Orchestra or with Narva Symphony Orchestra.

- 1 Orchestral rehearsal + 1 Dress Rehearsal with orchestra

- 1 Session with the conductor - Maestro Anatoli Schura.

- 1 Lesson on a concerto with a Professor of your choice.

- Multi-angle professional video + audio recording of your performance - 4 cameras + 32 microphones. 


* Additional instruments may add to the cost of a concerto performance. 


Chamber Music. 

Students of all instruments will have the opportunity to perform as part of chamber ensembles with members of the Baltic Neopolis Orchestra, headlining Emanuel Salvador and Emilia Goch-Salvador. Students will be divided into ensemble groups to form Chamber Ensembles, such as Quartets, Quintets, Sextets, or larger groups. Festival participants will receive light coaching from Professors who will be part of performance groups. Examples of chamber music works may include Quintets by Dvorak, Schumann, or Faure; Prokofiev's Variations on a Hebrew Theme (Sextet with Clarinet), an Octet by Schubert or Mendelssohn, or larger works such as Tchaikovsky's Souvenir of Florence or Metamorphosis by R. Strauss. 






Room and Board 

Classical Hugs Music Festival helps with finding various levels of

discount accommodation in Tallinn, for any level of comfort:

 a) Students' hotel; b) apartment with a kitchenette, c) 4-star hotel

- 54 Tuukri, Tallinn City Center - +372 5449 0990 - €30/night (Single Room)

- Apartment (shared with other students - 2-3 students per apartment) - €40/night

- 4-star Hotel - St. Olaf or Metropol Hotels - single room with breakfast at €55-60/night. 

To request accommodation, please contact us at

Meals (breakfasts, lunches) are available for purchase at Lido Cafe in Tallinn at €15-20 a meal per 1 person.


Click to see Festival Events' Schedule

Schedule of Lessons and Chamber Music will be posted separately. 




Orchestra repertoire will include Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1 in e minor, Flute Concerto by C.P.E. Bach, Mendelssohn's Symphony for Strings No. 10, Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1, and other works. 


Certificates & Diplomas

All Active students who have participated in the Classical Hugs Orchestral program in Estonia will be granted attendance certificates. Diplomas of Merit or Honor may also be granted.   


How to apply

To apply, click on the Application links: 



Video Impressions





Document photo - Michael Bulychev-Okser.JPG

Piano, United States

July 15-22 & July 31-August 7

Artistic Director - Classical Hugs and Gershwin Competition


Violin, France

July 15-20

Legendary violinist

Conservatory of Lausanne

Alexander Markov photo credit Phil Pasteris  2.jpg

Violin, United States

July 28 - August 4

Internationally celebrated violinist

Festival Guest Artist

Miriam-2 (1)_edited.jpg

Violin, United Kingdom

July 15-22 & July 31-August 7

Virtuoso violinist

Violin teacher

Festival guest artist


Piano, Germany

July 29 - August 7

Franz Liszt University

Dean - Piano Department

Concert Pianist


Violin & Viola, Portugal-Poland

August 4-7

Founding Members -

Neopolis Baltic Orchestra

Anatoli Štšura.jpg


July 14 - August 7

Principal Conductor - Narva Symphony Orchestra & Classical Hugs Orchestra

Copy of 014_edited.jpg

Violin, United States

July 15-August 7

Union Symphony Orchestra 

Concert Violinist


USA - South Korea

July 16-22 - Festival Guest Conductor

Harp & Piano Faculty - University of Massachusetts - Boston

may 12 2021 015.JPG

Piano, United States

July 25 - August 5

Faculty - Special Music School - Kaufman Center

Concert Pianist

Chamber Musician

LILYAN KAIV (1)_edited.jpg


July 25-August 1

Conductor -

Maarjamaa Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra


Narva, Estonia

In sessions - July 18-22 & August 1-5


Cello, Estonia

July 25-28

Principal - Estonia National Orchestra and Bamberg Orchestra (Bavaria)


Oboe, United States - Estonia

August 1-7

Professor - Butler University

 Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra


Viola, Mexico - Netherlands

Concert violist

July 21-28

Davidsbündler Music Academy (Hague)


Violin & Orchestra Mastery

July 8 - August 4


1st Violin - Kymi Sinfonieta


Piano, China

July 15 - August 7

Pianist & Teacher



Piano, Italy

July 20-22

Festival Guest Artist

Director - Tutta Musica 

Maria Kliegel-201.jpg

Cello, Germany

July 28-August 4

Legendary concert cellist

Naxos Recording Artist

Professor Emerita - Hochschule für Musik Köln


Piano, United States

July 15 - 23

Sharon Music Academy

2023 Steinway & Sons

'Hall of Fame' Teacher


Bassoon, Estonia

July 15 - August 7

Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre

How-it-works: About
Solo with Orchestra
Chamber Ensembles
Classical Hugs Orchestra
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