Tallinn Children’s Choir, the predecessor of Ellerhein Girls’ Choir, was created in 1951 by Professor Heino Kaljuste (1925-1989), who conducted and developed the choir until the end of his days. Since 1970, Tiia-Ester Loitme started to work with the choir as second conductor and she was head conductor of the choir from 1989 to 2012. The choir was renamed Ellerhein in 1969, on the 100th anniversary of the Estonian Song Festivals. Over the years, Ellerhein has become a choral studio, which includes currently a pre-school group Mummud, a young children’s choir, a children’s choir and a girls’ choir.
Apart from giving concerts, all singers receive training in vocal, solfeggio, and harmony classes. The choir uses the relative Kodaly system when learning new repertoire. From 2012 the conductor is Ingrid Kõrvits. Also working for the choir are choirmaster and solfeggio teacher is Ülle Sander (since 1981), vocal coach Vilja Sliževski and concertmaster Kadri Toomoja.
The choir’s repertoire consists of both classical and contemporary choral music by outstanding composers from all over the world.
In 2004 the choir was given a Grammy award for best choir music performance for their album “Jean Sibelius: Cantatas” (Virgin Classics; performed by Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, conductor Paavo Järvi, Estonian National Male Choir, choirmaster Ants Soots, Ellerhein Girls’ Choir, choirmaster Tiia-Ester Loitme and sound engineering by Maido Maadik). The choir has published several albums, the last being published in June 2017 when Ellerhein celebrated its 65th birthday and gave out a CD called “Songs of light”.
Ellerhein Girl’s Choir has been successful in many international choral competitions. In spring 2012, the choir took part in the International Choral Competition “Ave Verum“ in Baden, Austria and received Second Prize Gold Level. In April 2013, the choir obtained II place in the youth choirs’ category and Ingrid Kõrvits received the prize for Best Conductor at the International Choral Competition TALLINN 2013. In July 2013, the choir took part in the 31st International Choral Competition of Cantonigros in Spain where they won III prize in the female choirs’ category and II prize in the folk music category. After the festival the choir gave several concerts in Andorra, Madrid, and Burgos thanks to the Estonian Embassy in Spain. In September 2013, the choir took part in the festival Choral Crossroads in Limassol, Cyprus.
In the last ten years different choir festivals and competitions have taken the choir to Hungary, Spain, Australia, Canada, Japan, Austria, Andorra, Cyprus, Israel, Italy, Finland and the USA. They have recieved numerous awards, including three Grand Prix prizes at Kathaumixw 2008 in Canada, Tallinn 2009 in Estonia and Seghizzi 2014 in Italy.
Ellerhein has taken part in interesting collaborations and performances of compositions with many professional musicians. In 2015 Ellerhein took part in MustonenFest in Isreal, where they performed J. S. Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion” with Estonian National Male Choir and Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. The same year the choir took part in the performance of H. Berlioz’s “Requiem” and Nargenfestival with Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Estonian National Male Choir and Youth Choir of Tallinn Music High School, conducted by Tõnu Kaljuste. In 2016 the choir took part in the concert series “Kuula: valgusest imelist juttu…” with Estonian National Male Choir and Youth Choir of Tallinn Music High School, conducted by Mikk Üleoja.
In 2017 the choir was involved with two concerts of MustonenFest. The first was the performance of F. Liszt’s “Dante Symphony” with Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and Youth Choir of Tallinn Music High School. The second performance was J. Bardanashvili’s “Askhava le Benami” with cantor Israel Rand and organist Piret Aidulo, conducted by Andres Mustonen. In 2017 the choir performed “Estonian Calendar Songs” by Veljo Tormis with Estonian National Male Choir in Tallinn and Tartu. As said in the 15th International Choir Festival TALLINN 2017 Ellerhein Girls’ Choir achieved the I place in the category of folk music and the I place in the category of equal voices choirs. In summer of 2017 choir took part in several interestin projects. In the beginning of July festival Kissinger Sommer in Germany, conductor Paavo Järvi; in the end of July 11th World Symposium on Choral Music in Barcelona, Spain and in August theater NO99 performance ”Pööriöö uni” in Berlin, Germany, conduductor Olari Elts.
In the season of 2016/2017 the choir celebrated their 65th year of performing.
In February 2018 the choir is invited to take part in MustonenFest in Israel, festival called Tel Aviv-Tallinn.
Girls Choir Ellerhein is collective of The Tallinn Hobby Centre Kullo.