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Classical Hugs Summer Academy in Tartu - Estonia
June 25 - July 4, 2023


February 15, 2023 - Early application deadline (with scholarships offered) /  Final application deadline - March 15.


Tartu Chamber Music Festival started in 2019 with the aim of offering the South Estonian public more opportunities to enjoy performances by Estonian and international musicians. The festival also provides an excellent opportunity for performers and composers to collaborate and introduce their works. 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 experience to international students, guest artists, and audiences in Estonia and abroad. 

Classical Hugs in Tartu presents orchestral, chamber, and solo concerts and masterclasses with eminent professors from the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Malta, and Estonia. All masterclasses are held at Heino Eller Music School in Tartu, Estonia, which collaborates with the festival. Classical Hugs (Music Festival) in Tartu is held in partnership with Tartu Chamber Music Festival. Festival's Artistic Directors/Founders are Anna Samsonova (Estonia) & Michael Bulychev-Okser (USA).


Festival concerts will take place in prestigious halls in 3 Estonian cities of Tartu, Tallinn, and Pärnu. Students will be offered performance opportunities in the most prestigious halls, including Tubin Hall (Tartu), House of Blackheads (Tallinn), and Kuninga Tänava Põhikool in Pärnu. Students can perform solo repertoire (strings perform with an accompanist) or as part of Tartu-Maarja Chamber Orchestra led by internationally acclaimed Maestro Eduard Schmieder (USA) and also by the Estonian conductor, Lilyan Kaiv



Masterclasses are open to the following instruments: Violin, Viola, Cello, and Piano. The Orchestra Mastery program is open to ALL orchestral instruments and includes orchestra audition simulation, an orchestra mastery course with Carmine Lauri (London Symphony Orchestra), and rehearsals and concerts as part of the orchestra under the direction Maestro Eduard Schmieder (USA). 

Selected students can sign up to perform solo with Tartu-Maarja Chamber Orchestra, led by Lilyan Kaiv, and to receive multi-camera recordings of their performance - this opportunity is open during the festival and throughout the year.  

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


Masterclasses: periods of study and costs

1 week: June 25-July 1 - 3 masterclasses + 1 student concert + 1 orchestra concert - 500 €

10 days: June 25-July 4 - 4 masterclasses + 3 concerts in Tartu, Tallinn, and Pärnu - 700 €

Masterclasses program includes:

- Orchestral Mastery Course with Carmine Lauri, Co-Leader - London Symphony Orchestra.

- Participation in Tartu-Maarja Chamber Orchestra, led by Maestro Eduard Schmieder (USA) (all instruments).

- Chamber Music with members of Tartu Chamber Music Festival.

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

- High Definition Recording of all festival events and selected masterclasses.

- Sightseeing in Tartu, Tallinn, and Pärnu

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

Orchestra/Chamber Music program - June 25 - July 4

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 Tartu-Maarja Chamber Orchestra. 

- Participation in 3 orchestral concerts in Tartu (June 30), Tallinn (July 1), and Pärnu (July 3).

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 Carmine Lauri, Co-Leader of the London Symphony Orchestra.

- Chamber Music with members of Tartu Chamber Music Festival.

- Sightseeing of Tartu, Tallinn, and Pärnu.

Performance with Chamber Orchestra Program

Open to all instruments.


€599 - 1st movement

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

€799 - 2nd & 3rd movement 

€1,099 - Full Concerto.

Program includes:

- Performance of 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 a concerto performance. 


Scholarships: Limited number of stipends is offered to those who apply early: on or before February 15, 2023.

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

Tartu-Maarja Chamber Orchestra

Tartu-Maarja Chamber Orchestra has been founded in 2019 and consists primarily of professional musicians from South Estonia. String students participating in Classical Hugs Festival in Tartu will be placed in the orchestra under the baton of Maestro Eduard Schmieder.

String students will also receive intensive training on orchestral audition excerpts with Carmine Lauri, Co-Leader of the London Symphony Orchestra. 


Chamber Music. 

Students of all instruments will have the opportunity to perform as part of chamber ensembles with members of the Tartu Chamber Music Festival, headlining Anna Samsonova, and festival professors.








Room and Board 

Classical Hugs Music Festival helps with finding various levels of

discount accommodation in Tartu, for any level of comfort:

 a) hostel; b) apartment with a kitchenette, c) 4-star hotel with Water Park:

- Hektor hostel - €27.50/night (double room); €21.50/night (triple room).

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

- 4-star Hotel - single room with breakfast at V Spa Hotel, Tartu, and water park & Spa - €55/night. 

To request accommodation, please contact us at

Meals (breakfasts, lunches) are available for purchase at the Cafe at Heino Eller Music School at €8-12 per person.


June 25 - Arrival in Tartu, Estonia

June 26 - 30 - masterclasses and orchestra rehearsals

June 27 - 20:00 - Professors' Chamber Music Concert

June 29 - Students' solo and chamber music concert - Tubin Hall, Tartu

June 30 - Gala Concert at Tubin Hall, Tartu - Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Eduard Schmieder (USA)

​July 1 - Bus to Tallinn, Estonia / Orchestra Concert at the House of Blackheads, Tallinn: Maestri Eduard Schmieder & Lylian Kaiv

Soloists - Soloists: Pavel Vernikov, violin / Svetlana Makarova, violin / Michael Bulychev-Okser, piano / Sam Chapkovsky, violin

July 2 - Students' Concert at Tallinn History Museum

July 3 - Solo/Chamber Music/Orchestra concert Kuninga Tänava Põhikool in Pärnu / Maestro Eduard Schmieder (USA)


Orchestral Repertoire

Conducted by Maestro Eduard Schmieder (USA)

-Franz Schubert: Ouverture c-moll

-Felix Mendelssohn: Double Concerto for Violin, Piano & Orchestra ~ Soloists: Sam Chapkovsky, violin / Michael Bulychev-Okser, piano.

-Karl Jenkins- Palladio

-Anton von Webern: Langsamer Satz

-Ludwig von Beethoven - Gustav Mahler: String quartet in f- minor Op.95 (arranged for String Orchestra).

Conducted by Maestro Lilyan Kaiv (Estonia)

-Giya Khancheli: Ex contrario ~ Soloists: Pavel Vernikov, violin / Svetlana Makarova, violin / Michael Bulychev-Okser, piano.

Music parts will be emailed to all participants by April 1, 2023.

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 link: February 15, 2023 - Scholarship application deadline; March 15, 2023 - Final application deadline.



Video Impressions - Festival 2022






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

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

Piano, United States

Artistic Director - Classical Hugs and Gershwin Competition


Violin, United Kingdom

Virtuoso violinist

Violin teacher

Festival guest artist

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Violin, Austria

Konservatorium Wien University

Haute Ecole de Musique de Lausanne


Violin, Switzerland

Haute Ecole de Musique de Lausanne

Carmine_Lauri_0296_MynPrint (3)_edited.jpg

Violin, Malta-United Kingdom

Co-Leader - London Symphony Orchestra

Concert violinist


Viola, Germany

Berlin University of the Arts


Piano, United Kingdom
Royal College of Music

Masterclasses: September 1-5 


Violin, USA

Distinguished Violin Professor - Temple University

Honorary Guest Conductor - Tartu-Maarja Chamber Orchestra


Violin, Estonia

Festival Artistic Director, Founder - Tartu Chamber Music Festival 


Cello, Estonia

Principal - Estonia National Orchestra and Bamberg Symphony Orchestra 

LILYAN KAIV (1)_edited.jpg


Conductor - Tartu-Maarja Chamber Orchestra


Piano, Germany

Franz Liszt University

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