Estonian Participation in the Theatre and Orchestra

Lucas Waldin and Anu Tali at a reception following a concert by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. Anu Tali was the guest conductor at an ESO Midweek Classics concert on January 14, 2009. Estonians value the arts and consider them an essential component of many community activities and events. When Estonian immigrants first settled in Alberta, they carried on this tradition by featuring bands, orchestras and theatre troupes at numerous gatherings and celebrations. It is not surprising, therefore, that native Estonians and people of Estonian heritage who live elsewhere often choose to pursue careers in the arts today.

Hal Kerbes as Cogsworth in a Western Canada Theatre production of 'Beauty and the Beast'. Organized by the Big Valley Band and performed in numerous stage productions. Hal Kerbes, owner of Shadow Productions, a performing arts company in Calgary, says music was a big part of his family's life "from the day we were born." Hal is a descendant of one of the first Estonian families to settle in the Stettler area, Jaan and Annette Kerbes. Hal played in family orchestras at wedding dances and community celebrations for many years. Today, he is involved in writing, producing and acting in presentations such as The Ice Queen, a Stage West for Kids theatre event (2001), and murder mystery dinner theatre.

One staff member and two guest conductors at the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra are of Estonian heritage. Lucas Waldin is the Assistant Conductor in Residence, 2009-10 and 2010-11. Anu Tali (2009, 2010) and Eri Klas (2009) were guest conductors with the ESO

  • Waldin was born in Toronto to an Estonian father and Hungarian mother. He is a graduate of the Cleveland School of Music and now conducts orchestras throughout Europe as well as in Edmonton.
  • Tali is a pianist as well as a conductor, educated in Estonia, Finland and Russia. She has conducted orchestras in Europe, North America and Asia.
  • Klas is a native of Estonia who also conducts in Europe and North America. He studied in Tallinn and Leningrad and teaches at the Estonian Music Academy.
Alberta's Estonian Heritage