Enchanting San Francisco, known for its embrace of the Arts and Technology, to be the site of an exuberant expression of traditional and contemporary Estonia.
Celebrated concurrently for the first time, the World Estonian Festival, ESTO, joins with Lääneraniku Eesti Päevad (LEP), the West Coast Estonian Festival, for "LEP-ESTO 2013", to be held in San Francisco, California, starting June 28, 2013. This year, LEP marks its 60th birthday, returning to the city where its first staging took place in 1953.
LEP-ESTO 2013 promises to be a World Class event in every sense, befitting the international flair of the host city and its lovely surrounding communities. Among the exceptional moments planned during the four-day event will be the first ever performance in North America of the Estonian National Ballet, premiering a work choreographed especially for the festival.
Whether at each evening's SALAKÕRTS - the traditional "speakeasy" - or at the event picnic, LEP-ESTO will be more than an assembly of great performances: it will be a forum for reconnection and fun for Estonians and those of Estonian ancestry. In song, dance, theater, film and family-themed events, LEP-ESTO 2013 will uphold the traditions of previous World festivals, while casting a new spotlight on the innovative spirit of the contemporary Estonian community.
The four-day event kicks off Friday morning, 28 June, in Silicon Valley's Plug & Play Tech Center in Sunnyvale, with the "iEstonia" Business Conference, focusing on the Estonian technology "start-up" scene. The conference, taking place from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, will be attended both by leading venture capitalists and representatives of the Estonian companies who are leading the charge. The conference will underscore the affinities between Silicon Valley and Estonia, and offers an opportunity to establish valuable connections.
LEP-ESTO 2013 steps up the pace at the Opening Ceremony at San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts on Friday afternoon. On arrival in the reception area, attendees are invited to visit the Discover Estonia Exposition, open to the general public, featuring booths displaying Estonian cultural, educational, business and travel opportunities, all the while imbibing on local wines and refreshments.
The centerpiece of the Opening Ceremony will be the performance of the Estonian National Ballet, to be introduced by Tiit Helimets, a principal dancer with the San Francisco Ballet since 2005. Born in Viljandi, Estonia, Tiit began his career with the ENB and has staged numerous cross-disciplinary projects in support of Estonian Culture. In addition, The Opening Ceremony program will also include performances by renowned pianist, Hando Nahkur and songs by New York-based Estonian actress, Hanna-Liina Võsa -- hailed by the LA Times as an important emerging talent on Broadway and American television.
Saturday 29 June begins with a wide range of cultural-related seminars and events. In a display of cerebral firepower, international chess Grandmaster, Jaan Ehlvest, a representative of both Estonia and the United States in World Chess Olympiads, will take on twenty challengers in a "simultaneous exhibition" chess match - which promises to be fast, furious and great fun.
The spiritual apex of LEP-ESTO 2013, the Laulupidu, will assemble an impressive cast of choirs, conductors and ensembles from all over the globe on Saturday afternoon. Themed "Live well, my Homeland!" the Laulupidu of LEP-ESTO 2013 will be an uplifting and joyous occasion that is not to be missed.
In a fitting conclusion to an inspiring Saturday, Jim and Maureen Tusty, directors of the renowned "Singing Revolution", will premiere their new film, "To Breathe As One" which explores the role of the Laulupidu in the assertion of the Estonian national identity and achievement of independence. LEP-ESTO is privileged to have the Director/Producers in attendance for the premiere of this film, which is scheduled for broadcast on American television (PBS) in the Fall, 2013.
LEP-ESTO's celebration of film will also feature a showing of "Seenelkäik" ("Mushrooming"), the comedy which was the Number One film in Estonia in 2012 and submitted to the 85th Academy Awards as Estonia's official submission for Best Foreign Film.
On Sunday 30 June, Estonia's rich folk traditions and colorful costumes will be on brilliant display at the Tantsupidu ("Folk Dance Festival") at the Yerba Buena Gardens, the lovely garden setting in the heart of downtown San Francisco.
In the evening of Sunday 30 June, Estonian style and elegance reaches its apex at the "Blue, Black and White Ball"-- a black tie event to be held at the Grand Hyatt Union Square's main ballroom. Inspired by San Francisco's beloved annual "Black & White Ball", but with a nod to the colors of the Estonian flag, the "Blue, Black and White Ball will be an evening of fine dining, dancing and lively hobnobbing.
LEP-ESTO 2013 will culminate on Monday, 1 July with a church service and Closing Ceremony, followed in the afternoon by a folk festival and family picnic at the Castle Rock Regional Recreation Area in the Mount Diablo foothills, near Walnut Creek.
Stanford University's preeminent role in the field of Baltic Studies makes it the logical venue for several important pre-festival events on Thursday June 27th. The exhibit, "Harsh Spring" about the Soviet deportations of 1949, supported by the National Archives of Estonia, will open on campus. In addition, Stanford's Green Library will host a colloquium on enhancing Estonian studies abroad.
To purchase tickets, obtain information on hotel accommodations, or get a more complete listing of all activities and events, please see the event website at www.lep-esto2013.com, or contact Ingrid Echter or Kristjan Lewett.
Ingrid Echter, President, LEP-Esto 2013
Tel: +1 415 215 4238
|LEP-ESTO 2013 San Francisco WORLD ESTONIAN COMMUNITY TO GATHER IN SAN FRANCISCO IN CELEBRATION OF ESTONIAN ART, INNOVATION AND CULTURE AT “LEP-ESTO 2013”, JUNE 28-JULY 1, 2013|