An Overview of the UW Baltic Choral Library

“Where can I find that beautiful Ēriks Ešenvalds, Veljo Tormis or Vaclovas Augstinas score?”

by Dr. Heather MacLaughlin Garbes, Chair of Lifelong Choral Music

With the popularity of Baltic choral music continuing to grow, many of the sighs of happiness after hearing those compositions turn to sighs of frustration about trying to find the scores to those beautiful pieces. Did you know that the answer to your frustrations is much closer than a twelve-hour plane ride to Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania?

The University of Washington has a growing Baltic choral music collection with many scores, recordings and books from all three Baltic counties. Here is the official introduction to the collection:

The University of Washington Baltic Choral Music Library, established in 2005, is a collection of over 1,000 scores and books from the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithaunia. This library was established in hopes of creating greater access for American choral musicians to the wealth of these musical traditions as well as be an archive resource for the Baltic Diaspora and a repository of Baltic choral history in the United States. The University of Washington Baltic Choral Library has a long-standing and collaborative releationship with all three Balttic National Libraries. Books, recordings and matierials are sent from each institution to the University of Washington and in return, the UW Libraries send many items and resources to them. This arrangement has helped the Baltic Library collection continue to grow while helping the National Libraries of the Baltic States rebuild their collections in a time of limited money and resources.

One of the concerns that I have heard is how to find these items within the general collection at the UW. The Baltic choral collection, which consists of single-copy scores, is housed as part of the general music collection in the School of Music library. A few additional materials are held in the Suzallo Library, also on the UW main campus.

To start your search, here are some popular composers from each country as well as key words for song festivals and types of voicings:


Composers: Rene Eespere, Gustav Ernesaks, Cyrillus Kreek, Ester Mägi, Arvo Pärt, Mart Saar, Peep Sarapik, Urmas Sisasks, Rudolf Tobias,Veljo Tormis, Pärt Uusberg

Keywords: Laulupiidu (song festival), laul (song), koori (choir), mees (men), naine (women), segakoori (mixed choir), lapsedkoori (children’s choir)


Composers: Dace Aperane, Pēteris Barisons, Rihards Dubra, Maija Einfelde, Ēriks Ešenvalds, Andrejs Jurjāns, Selga Mence, Georgs Pelēcis, Pēteris Plakidis, Ugis Prauliņš, Imants Ramiņš (Raminsch), Pēteris Vasks

Keywords: Dziesmu svētki (song festival), dziesma (song), koris (choir), vīru (men), sieviešu (women), jauktais koris (mixed choir), bernū koris (children’s choir)


Composers: Vaclovas Augustinas, Antanas Budriūnas, Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis, Jeronimas Kačinkas,Vytautas Miškinis, Juozas Naujalis, Stasys Šimkus, Nijolės Sinkevičiūtes, Jonas Tamulionis, Kristina Vasiliauskaite

Keywords: Dainų šventė (song festival), daina (song), choras (choir), vyrų (men), moterys (women), mišrus choras (mixed choir), vaikų choras (children’s choir)

If coming to UW campus is a challenge, please contact me (Heather MacLaughlin Garbes: and I will be happy to help find materials, scan, and email them to you for perusal. If you chose to purchase a piece, I can also assist with connecting you with the publisher/distributor and can work with you on rights approvals if the piece is out of print.

I also offer both pronunciation and translation help through IPA outlines of text, recordings of text pronunciation and word-for-word and poetic translations. These services are part of a focus to make the Baltic Choral Library at UW more accessible for not only students, but choral conductors throughout the area.

Please come and explore the wonderful music that the Baltic region has to offer!

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