Rudolf Tobias
Rudolf Tobias was the first Estonian
Estonians are a Finnic people closely related to the Finns and inhabiting, primarily, the country of Estonia. They speak a Finnic language known as Estonian...

 professional composer, as well as a professional organist. He studied at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory
Saint Petersburg Conservatory
The N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov Saint Petersburg State Conservatory is a music school in Saint Petersburg. In 2004, the conservatory had around 275 faculty members and 1,400 students.-History:...

. His compositions include among others piano works, string quartet
String quartet
A string quartet is a musical ensemble of four string players – usually two violin players, a violist and a cellist – or a piece written to be performed by such a group...

s and an oratorio
An oratorio is a large musical composition including an orchestra, a choir, and soloists. Like an opera, an oratorio includes the use of a choir, soloists, an ensemble, various distinguishable characters, and arias...

, Des Jona Sendung (Jonah's Mission) (1908, revised and premiered 1909, later reconstructed by Vardo Rumessen
Vardo Rumessen
Vardo Rumessen is an Estonian pianist, musicologist and politician for Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica best known for his work on Eduard Tubin's music.-References:* Association of Estonian Professional Musicians.-External links:*...


Early life

Rudolf Tobias was born in Käina Parish on the island of Hiiumaa
Hiiumaa is the second largest island belonging to Estonia. It is located in the Baltic Sea, north of the island of Saaremaa, a part of the West Estonian archipelago. Its largest town is Kärdla.-Name:...

. He was the son of a parish clerk. Tobias received his first musical training from his father. Under his father’s tutelage, he began musical training at an early age and composing his first composition exercises from 1882 when he was 9 years old. In 1885 he entered the Haapsalu
Haapsalu is a seaside resort town located on the west coast of Estonia. It's the administrative centre of Lääne County and has a population of 11,618 ....

 school and studied piano under Catharina von Gernet, a local pianist. After he graduated, Tobias moved with his parents to Kullamaa, where his father had become the village's parish clerk. In 1889 Tobias entered Tallinn
Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It occupies an area of with a population of 414,940. It is situated on the northern coast of the country, on the banks of the Gulf of Finland, south of Helsinki, east of Stockholm and west of Saint Petersburg. Tallinn's Old Town is in the list...

 Nicolai High School, where he passed the tutor’s exam and studied both organ and music theory with Ernst Reinicke, the Tallinn Cathedral organist.

In 1893 Tobias furthered his studies at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, where he studied organ with Louis Homilius and composition with Nikolai Rimski-Korsakov. in 1897 Tobias graduated from conservatory with two special subjects, presenting as his graduate work the cantata “Johannes Damascenus”. After graduation Tobias worked as organist and choir conductor of the St. Petersburg Estonian St. John’s church from 1898 to 1904. During this time he also performed there his own compositions.


In 1904 Tobias moved to Tartu
Tartu is the second largest city of Estonia. In contrast to Estonia's political and financial capital Tallinn, Tartu is often considered the intellectual and cultural hub, especially since it is home to Estonia's oldest and most renowned university. Situated 186 km southeast of Tallinn, the...

 and worked as a music teacher in numerous schools and also worked as a tutor. During his time in Tartu he participated in organizing concerts, as well as performing as pianist, conductor and organist and preparing with his contemporary Aleksander Läte performances of oratorios. Tobias also began working as a musical journlist during this period and joined the literary group Noor Eesti.

In January of 1908 Tobias briefly moved to Paris, France. Shortly after that he lived briefly in Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

 and Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

 in Germany and Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

 and Dubí
Dubí is a town in the Ústí nad Labem Region, in the Czech Republic, near Teplice in the Ore Mountains, with 7,792 residents. It is an important transit point to Germany on European route E55, and the border crossing Cínovec is located within the town limits. There is a spa with mineral waters and...

 in present-day Czech Republic. At the end of 1908 he moved to Leipzig.

In 1910 Tobias moved to Berlin, where he worked as both an organist and journalist. In 1911 he was an active member of the evaluation committee of the German Composers Union (Genossenschaft Deutscher Tonsetzer). In 1914 he acquired German citizenship, and then full professorship at the Royal Academy of Music.

In August 1913 Tobias visited his homeland to view opening ceremonies of the new Estonia Theatre, where he also conducted his own compositions. After returning to Berlin, Tobias arranged his authorship concert where passages of his oratorio “Mission of Jonah” were performed. After the outbreak of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 Tobias was enrolled in the German army where he worked as an interpreter. Tobias was released from service for medical reasons in 1916 and he returned to work in the Royal Academy of Music
Royal Academy of Music
The Royal Academy of Music in London, England, is a conservatoire, Britain's oldest degree-granting music school and a constituent college of the University of London since 1999. The Academy was founded by Lord Burghersh in 1822 with the help and ideas of the French harpist and composer Nicolas...


Death and legacy

Tobias died of pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

 on 29 October 1918 and was buried in the Wilmersdorf cemetery in Berlin. After the restoration of the Republic of Estonia, Tobias’s remains were reburied on 7 June 1992 in Kullamaa.

In commemoration of Rudolf Tobias' life and work, a monument was erected in Haapsalu in 1929 designed by architect Roman Haavamägi and a memorial erected in Kullamaa in 1973. In 1924 a street in Tallinn was renamed after Tobias and in 1973 Tobias’s name was given to the Children’s Music School in Kärdla
Kärdla is the largest town on the Estonian island of Hiiumaa and the capital of Hiiu County.-Geography:Kärdla is located on the north-eastern coast of Hiiumaa, by the Gulf of Tareste . Southeast of the town is the Kärdla meteorite crater, which is 455 million years old.Several small rivers flow...

, Estonia. On the occasion of the centennial of Tobias’s birth in 1973, a memorial museum was opened in Käina in the house where he was born.
The Tobias String Quartet is named after this composer.

External links

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