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Classical Hugs Summer Academy in Tartu - Estonia
August 22 - September 7, 2022


August 20 - Final application deadline. 


Tartu Chamber Music Festival started in 2019 with the aim of offering the South Estonian public more opportunities to enjoy high-level chamber music. The festival provides an excellent opportunity for Estonian and international performers and composers to collaborate and introduce their work, and for music-loving audiences in Tartu and South Estonia to enjoy beautiful concerts. In 2022, Tartu Chamber Music Festival merged with Classical Hugs Music Academy (the United States-based performing arts organization) to offer an all-encompassing music festival to international students, guest artists, and audiences in Estonia and abroad. 

In addition to Chamber Music programs, Classical Hugs in Tartu presents orchestral and solo concerts and masterclasses with eminent professors from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Estonia. All masterclasses are held at 

Heino Eller Music School in Tartu, Estonia, collaborates with the festival.


Festival concerts will take place in prestigious venues in the Estonian cities of Tartu and Tallinn, as well as in Helsinki, Finland. 

Classical Hugs (Music Festival) in Tartu is held in partnership with Tartu Chamber Music Festival and Tartu-Maarja Chamber Orchestra, led by Maestro Lylian Kaiv, which makes it possible for all instruments to participate in the Orchestra Academy, audition simulation, and for selected students to perform concertos with Tartu-Maarja Chamber Orchestra, receiving multi-camera recordings of their performance.


Festival Artistic Directors/Founders are Anna Samsonova (Estonia) & Michael Bulychev-Okser (USA)



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

Periods of study

Students may choose between 3 programs of study:

1 week: Any 7 days August 22-September 7 - 499 €

10 days: Any 10 days August 22-September 7 - 699 €

2 weeks: August 22-September 7 (Full program) - 999 €

Programs of study

Masterclasses are offered for the following instruments: Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello, and Chamber Ensembles.

1 week - 3 masterclasses (60 mins each)

10 days - 5 masterclasses (60 mins each)

2 weeks - 7 masterclasses (60 mins each)

 In addition to masterclasses, study programs include:

- Participation in student concerts in Tartu's Tubin Hall & Jaani Kirik, Tallinn's Estonia Concert Hall, Tallinn Town Hall, & Rock Church in Helsinki, Finland.

- Orchestral Audition Mastery - special course with Sergei Levitin (Principal violinist: Royal Opera House, BBC & London Philharmonic)

- Chamber Ensembles with members of leading Estonian and European Orchestras.

- Solo with Tartu-Maarja Chamber Orchestra (recorded by multi-angle cameras) - additional cost. 

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

- High Definition Recording of all festival events and masterclasses.

- Walking tours in Tartu, Tallinn, and Helsinki. 

- Orchestral Academy as part of Tartu-Maarja Chamber Orchestra, led by maestro Lylian Kaiv (all instruments, except piano).

- Artistic portfolio photoshoot by the festival Photographer (in Tallinn). 


Room and Board is not included in tuition, however Classical Hugs

helps with finding various levels of discounted accommodation in

Tartu, for any level of comfort:

 a) hostel; b) apartment with a kitchenette, c) 4-star hotel.

For details, see below:

Orchestra/Chamber Music program 

Cost: 349 €

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:

- 6 orchestral rehearsals with Lylian Kaiv as part of the Tartu-Maarja Chamber Orchestra. 

- Participation in 2 orchestral concerts in Tubin Hall, Tartu on August 28 and August 31. 

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 masterclasses with key excerpts discussed with members of Royal Opera House, BBC, Mariinsky Theater, London Philharmonic, and Estonian National Orchestra. 

- Chamber Ensembles with members of leading Estonian and European orchestras. 

- HD Recording of all orchestral sections, rehearsals, and concerts.

- Daily Practicing hours in the same location as Masterclasses.

- Participation Diploma.

Performance with Chamber Orchestra Program

Open to all instruments.

Costs* (all subject to €100 discount for masterclass participants)

€599 - 1st movement

€799 - 2nd & 3rd movement; €1,099 - Full Concerto.

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

Program includes:

- Perform a concerto with Tartu-Maarja Chamber Orchestra.

- 1 Orchestral rehearsal + 1 Dress Rehearsal with orchestra

- 1 Session with the conductor - Maestro Lylian Kaiv.

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

- Multi-angle professional video + audio recording of your performance.

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


Scholarships: Limited number of stipends is offered to those who apply early: on or before May 31, 2022

Scholarships will be provided based on the applicants' video/audio recordings and personal financial needs. 


Student concerts will be offered in the most prestigious halls, including Tubin Hall (Tartu), Tallinn Town Hall, Estonia Concert Hall, and at Temppleaukion Cathedral in Helsinki, Finland. The concert in Helsinki, Finland is preceded by the Baltic Sea cruise, which is part of the Classical Hugs Festival. 






Tartu-Maarja Chamber Orchestra

Tartu-Maarja Chamber Orchestra has been founded in 2019 and consists primarily of professional musicians from South Estonia. Students of all orchestral instruments will receive orchestral training as part of their festival program under the baton of Maestro Lilyan Kaiv.

String students will also receive intensive training on orchestral auditions excerpts with the Concertmaster of Royal Opera House, BBC, and Mariinsky Theater Orchestra: Sergei Levitin. Students can also register to perform solo with an orchestra, see the Performance with Orchestra Program above - open to all instruments, including piano.  

Chamber Music. 

Students of all instruments will have the opportunity to perform as part of chamber ensembles with leading Estonian musicians, members of Tartu Chamber Music Festival, and international guest artists, including violinist Anna Samsonova, a violist Isabel Villanueva, cellist Indrek Leivategija, and pianist Pierre-Laurent Boucharlat. 



Students' low-cost accommodation in Tartu is offered at:

- Hektor hostel - €27.50/night (double room - with another student); €21.50/night (triple room - 2 other students)

- Apartment (shared with other students - 2-3 students per apartment) - €50/night

- 4-star Hotel - €60/night (single room with breakfast) at Dorpat Hotel. 

To request accommodation, please contact us at

Meals (breakfasts, lunches) are available for purchase at the Cafe at Heino Eller Music School at €10-12 per person.

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. 


The repertoire for the Gala Concert on August 24th will include Carnaval of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns.

Soloists: Sten Lassmann, Piano & Michael Bulychev-Okser, piano.

The rest of the orchestral and chamber music repertoire will be determined in May 2022.

Music parts will be emailed to all participants by June 30th, 2022.


Covid-19 regulations and safety

Currently, Estonia has a very low number of infections. It welcomes citizens from around the globe. Hotels, practice locations, and concert venues offer fully sanitized facilities, with many people already vaccinated. To learn more about rules, and how to enter Estonia safely, please visit:  


How to apply

To apply, click on the Application link:

Deadlines: August 15 - Final application deadline

Professors and Guest Artists (Click on the photo for personal page)

Tuubina Saal.JPG
Document photo - Michael Bulychev-Okser.JPG

Michael Bulychev-Okser

Piano, United States

Artistic Director - Classical Hugs and Gershwin Competition


Miriam Davis

Violin, United Kingdom

Virtuoso violinist

Violin teacher

Festival guest artist


Dmitri Alexeev

Piano, United Kingdom

Royal College of Music


Grigory Gruzman

Piano, Germany

Franz Liszt University


Anna Samsonova

Violin, Estonia

Festival Artistic Director, Founder - Tartu Chamber Music Festival 

AntonioGarcíaEgea (1)_edited.jpg

Antonio García Egea

Violin, Spain

Professor - Murcia Conservatory


Alla Aranovskaya

Violin, United States

Grammy Nominated Violinist, Founder of St. Petersburg Quartet


Sergei Levitin

Violin, United Kingdom

Principal - Royal Opera House, 1st Violins section: London Philharmonic, BBC Orchestras, etc.


Pierre-Laurent Boucharlat

Piano, France

Festival Guest Artist


Sascha Groschang

Cello, United States

Concert Cellist

Member - St. Petersburg String Quartet


Indrek Leivategija

Cello, Estonia

Principal - Estonian National Symphony and Bamberg Orchestras,

LILYAN KAIV (1)_edited.jpg

Lilyan Kaiv


Conductor - Tartu-Maarja Chamber Orchestra

How-it-works: About
Tartu-Maarja Orchesra
Heino Elleri
Solo with Orchestra
Chamber Ensembles
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