Peeter Lilje

Born: October 13th, 1950, Valga (Estonia (Soviet Union))
Died: October 27th, 1993, Oulu (Finland)
Nationality: Soviet (1950-1991) / Estonian (1991-1993)

Violinist and conductor Peeter Lilje studied at the Tartu Music Academy and majored in choral conducting in 1974 after having taken classes with Arvo Ratassepp. Roman Matsov taught him orchestral conducting. Later, Lilje studied symphony and opera conducting with Arvīds and his son Mariss Jansons at the Leningrad Conservatory, graduating in 1980. In the course of the 1970s, Lilje played in various jazz groups and became assistant to conductor Neeme Järvi of the Estonia Concert and Opera House in Tallinn; later, he succeeded Järvi. In 1990, Lilje left to Finland, where he was chief conductor of the Oulu Symphonic until his death.

Although a purely classical conductor, Peeter Lilje was invited to conduct Estonia’s first-ever Eurovision effort, ‘Muretut meelt ja südametuld’ (singer: Janika Sillamaa), in the preselection held for seven new EBU members from Eastern Europe in 1993. In Ljubljana, this entry – composed by Andres Valkonen with lyrics by Leelo Tungal – finished fifth, whereas only the first three countries qualified for the international final in Millstreet.

In due course, a more extensive biography of Peeter Lilje will be published on this website


1993: Muretut meelt ja südametuld