Iris Oja (Estonia) has studied piano, choir conducting and singing, in which she gained her MA in 2011 (Prof. Taru Valjakka and prof. Ivo Kuusk).
Iris was from 2000 to 2011 lead alto soloist in the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir. Currently she is a freelance singer and enjoys collaborating with a variety of ensembles (Resonabilis, UMA, Theatre of Voices, Ars Nova), choirs (the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, the Coro Casa da Musica in Porto), orchestras, musicians, conductors and composers.
Iris has been in great demand as an oratorio soloist in Estonia and abroad, performing baroque oratorios, passions and masses, as well as other works by Bach, Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Stravinsky, Pärt, Tulev, and others. She has also been involved in opera and other stage music projects (e.g. “Eugene Onegin” by Tchaikovsky, "Cavalleria rusticana" by Mascagni, "Eesti Ballaadid” by Tormis, "Pleasure of Creation" by Mattiesen, "The Afterlife of Li Jiantong" by Liu Sola) and given solo recitals (Handel and Purcell, Liszt and Strauss, Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, Wolf, Shostakovich, Nordic music, a wide range of Estonian chamber music, and many and varied opera arias).
Iris is a much sought-after performer of contemporary music. Many new works by Estonian composers have been dedicated to her, which she has also premiered and recorded. She is a member of Resonabilis (www.resonabilis.com), a contemporary music ensemble consisting of a unique combination of voice, flute, cello and kannel. Due to its distinctive sound, Resonabilis commissions most of the music it performs and extends its repertoire through close collaboration with composers (Auvinen, Kallastu, Krigul, Lill, Ratniece, Reinvere, Tally, Tulve, amongst others).
In 2012 Iris first collaborated with a unique jazz duo UMA (www.umamusic.com) and this has developed into a highly original project: the performance of Russian orthodox liturgical music with jazz improvisation. Their second creative project is in collaboration with the Estonian writer Anzori Barkalaja.
Together with Estonian composer Malle Maltis, Iris has recorded music for several Estonian animated films (e.g. “Brothers Bearhearts”, “The Dress”, “Lily Marlene”).
Iris has made a number of recordings with EPCC for the Harmonia Mundi label. In 2008 Harmonia Mundi released Iris Oja's debut solo CD, accompanied by the English pianist Roger Vignoles, “Russian Songs” (Harmonia Mundi), a selection of songs by Rachmaninov and Shostakovich.
In 2008 Iris’s second solo CD, “Moon Pain”, was released; it features the contemporary Danish composer Klaus Ib Jorgensen’s six-part work for voice and chamber ensemble (Iris Oja, Remix Ensemble, klettWood, conductor Paul Hillier, Dacapo Records). In March 2009 the ensemble Resonabilis released its first CD “Resonabilis”, consisting of original Estonian contemporary music written specifically for them. In 2012 Resonabilis released their second CD "North Wind, South Wind" (ERP), once again consisting entirely of new original music by mostly Estonian composers. In the beginning of 2013 Iris Oja and UMA released the CD "Peidus pool" with songs written for texts by Anzori Barkalaja.
Photo: Jaan Krivel
- Else Torp, soprano
- Kate Macoboy, soprano
- Signe Asmussen, mezzo
- Iris Oja, alto
- Miles Lallement, counter
- Paul Bentley-Angell, tenor
- Jakob Skjoldborg, tenor
- Jakob Bloch Jespersen, bass-baritone
- Ben McKee, bass
- William Gaunt, bass
- Randi Pontoppidan, mezzo
- Laura Lamph, mezzo
- Kristin Mulders, mezzo
- Mark Chambers, counter
- Wolodymyr Smishkewych, tenor
- Johan Linderoth, tenor
- Jesenka Balic Zunic, violin
- Fredrik From, violin
- Judith-Maria Blomsterberg, cello
- Mime Brinkmann, cello
- Nigel North, lute
- Bine Bryndorf, organ
- Allan Rasmussen, organ
- Christopher Bowers-Broadbent, organ