Klaudia Taev

In 1982, the popular and beloved Estonian operetta singer Asta Vihandi wrote to Klaudia Taev: “Believe me!: Your students will never forget you!”
There is no more Taev neither Vihandi, but the student’s words to her teacher became true.”
Toomas Kuter – Pärnu Postimees, April 7, 2006

Klaudia Taev (1906-1985) was not the most famous vocal teacher in Estonia, but her uniqueness is understood by all those who ever had contact with her for any reason. Many received their first singing lessons from her; several have grown into acclaimed singers; and to many, she was the beacon of culture in a small town in Europe.

Klaudia Taev was born on April 13th, 1906 into a teacher’s family in Saaremaa. She became interested in singing and music in her childhood home. Later on, she studied the art of singing at the Tallinn Conservatory and was taught by the first Estonian professional singer, later named honorary professor, Aino Tamm. She also studied with the best Estonian teachers of that time, such as the French-born Varvara Malama, who ran her private vocal studio in Tallinn, as well as with the famous Italian mezzo Armanda Degli Abbat, who was invited by the Ministry of Culture to Estonia to teach local singers, and also with the famous Estonian baritone Aleksander Arder.

Although she seemed destined for a long and successful singing career, fate took its tragic toll, and her career proved a short one. She lost her voice due to a terrible illness. Thereafter, she decided to devote her life to teaching others.

During World War II, Taev worked as a vocal coach and singing teacher in the Estonian Soviet Socialistic Republic’s National Art’s Ensembles in Yaroslav, where Georg Ots, probably one of the best know Estonian singers, also took lessons from her. After returning to Estonia she moved to Pärnu where she began her far-reaching life’s work. She was the Endla Theatre operetta troupe’s vocal teacher from 1944-1950 and taught at the Pärnu Music School until 1954. After dissolving the singing class, she started giving private lessons, worked in different local cultural centers teaching soloists and leading vocal ensembles, and was also a vocal coach for different choirs.

The fruits of Klaudia Taev’s work stood out in quality as well as quantity. No one actually knows the exact number of young people who studied singing with her, because many foreign vacationers who were spending their summers at famous resort town Pärnu and their children also took lessons from her. Among her students are well-known Estonian singers Urve Tauts, Silvia Vestman, Viktor Gurjev, Hans Miilberg, Asta Vihandi, etc.

Klaudia Taev’s energetic and purpose-driven life ended on June 7th, 1985 due to illness.

Naming the international competition by her name is definitely an homage to a dedicated woman, but also a symbolic bow to all of the so-called first teachers who every singer has had and that nobody can do without.