Hem of the Republic

The Republic of Estonia has a forlorn, if not downright depressing, history. The former Soviet Union took control of Estonia in 1940. Nazi Germany then invaded Estonia in 1941. In 1944, the Soviets regained control of Estonia, which remained under communist rule as a Baltic stronghold until the disbandment of the USSR. Estonia declared official independence in August 1991.Amid this game of imperial pingpong, Estonia did manage to keep alive its native musical tradition. Folk tales trace Estonian music to the second century, when Estonian warriors sang while awaiting battle. The music of today’s Estonian National Symphony Orchestra doesn’t resemble the warring chants of those days, but the 81-year-old ensemble continues to call on the country’s melodic resilience. The group visits Yardley Hall at Johnson County Community College’s Carlsen Center (12345 College Boulevard in Overland Park, 913-469-4445) on its first U.S. tour. Tonight’s performance, also featuring acclaimed pianist Joyce Yang, begins at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $35 and $45. See jccc.edu/CarlsenCenter for details.

Fri., March 20, 8 p.m., 2009