Kristjan Kannukene (1996) is an Estonian violist, singer, electric guitarist,
performer-composer and improviser based in Tallinn.
He currently studies contemporary improvisation at Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, where he previously studied viola and composition,
obtaining a master’s degree in classical music performance.
In 2018/19 he studied viola under Rivka Golani at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London.
He has attended viola and improvisation masterclasses with Nobuko Imai,
Garth Knox, Lawrence Power, Christoph Baumann, Agustí Fernández,
Alfred Zimmerlin, Vincent Lê Quang and many others.
Kristjan has done a number of different projects in various styles.
He has an ongoing project "9", which is based on a microtonal 9EDO scale –
it is a work in progress to be premiered as an performative art installation.
His artistic research aims to find ways to connect viola and voice, which he has done in his compositions Etz HaChaim, Veni Creator Spiritus and others.
Liis Jürgens was the first composer to write him a piece for viola and voice, based on a poem "Lill – väikseimgi" by Teedy Tüür.
Recently he has been focusing on interdisciplinary art - collaborating with contemporary dancers and working with live-electronics.
Kristjan’s collaboration with the composer Paul Beaudoin
led to the premiere of Paul’s piece “dil newas” for viola and electronics,
which is published by the Edition Wandelweiser.
Kristjan’s last solo concert "Kõla ja kõlar" ("Sound and sounder") with viola and electronics was well received (https://www.sirp.ee/s1-artiklid/c5-muusika/nonii-siin-ta-nuud-on/).
There he also premiered his own piece “I saw O” for amplified saw, wood and
electrically excited shaman drum, which received the effect-processed
sound signal from the saw and thus acted as a speaker.
In 2022, ЯK – his most long-standing improvisation duo with cellist
Roxanna Albayati – released their first improvisation album “Daste Ma دست ما”.
Kristjan has performed his compositions at the Wigmore Hall in London,
the Met Cloisters in New York, the Tranzac Club in Toronto,
the Hindemith Music Centre in Switzerland
and elsewhere around the world.
He composed music and created the soundworld for the theatre play „Tuulte pöörises“, which premiered as a part of the 100th Anniversary of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre.
In 2018 he performed his piece “ORG#MAD” for solo viola and chamber orchestra
with Glasperlenspiel Sinfonietta, conducted by Andres Mustonen.
He has won 1st prize in the string category at the Fourth International Classical
Music Competition “Kaunas Sonorum 2017”.
At the same year he also released his debut album “333” – a blend of rock and contemporary classical music.
A year earlier he collaborated with Estonian rock-classical pianist-composer Rein Rannap for the rock album “Forbidden. Early songs of Ruja 43 years later.”
Kristjan has been a lead singer in two documentary movies (Keelatud – Ruja, Eesti muld ja Eesti Ruja) about Estonia’s first and greatest rock band Ruja, which was through its anti-soviet attitude a fresh breeze of freedom in the 70s & 80s.
He has also sung a solo bass part of J. S. Bach cantata “Der Friede sei mit Dir” BWV158 and played the solo violin part of J. S. Bach a-minor BWV1041
violin concerto on electric guitar at bachFest Tallinn.
The Republic of Estonia Ministry of Education and Research
awarded him the “Student of the Year 2018”.