Tarmo Lepik studied composition with Veljo Tormis at the Tallinn Music High School from 1962-1966 and graduated from the Tallinn State Conservatory with a degree in music theory in Leo Normet’s class. Tarmo Lepik worked at the Computing Center of the Estonian Radio and taught music theory at the Georg Ots Tallinn Music School. Lepik’s choral composition “Kolm impressiooni” (Three Impressions) was awarded first prize at the all-soviet young composers’ symposium in Moscow in 1969. The work, based on Estonian folk melodies, was also performed in Arezzo, Italy in 1971 when the Tallinn Chamber Choir won first prize at the International Polyphonic Competition. Tarmo Lepik’s innovative choral works form the core of his most significant compositional output. He has also created piano music and several colourful minor compositions. In his choral works Lepik has expanded the ways of traditional choral use and enhanced the importance of means of expression. Even though his creativeness has followed the example of Veljo Tormis, Lepik has taken a whole new approach towards folk song, using only a few elements of it and re-working them by means of modern music (cluster backgrounds, glissandi, sussurandi etc.). Lepik has worked out to the last detail the compositional aspects in his work, as musical structure is prevalent in his music. His sound is based on modern avangard music and has many similarities with the music of Polish contemporary composers.
Significant compositions: “Kolm impressiooni” (Three Impressions, 1966), “Karjase maailm” (Shephard’s World, 1975) and “Hälli maailm” (Cradle’s World, 1980) for mixed choir and soloists; “Kolm Betti Alveri luuletust” (Three poems by Betti Alver, 1974) and “Mere väravas” (At the Gate to the Sea, 1984) for men’s choir and soloist; “Variatsioonid” (Variations, 1965), “Sonare” (1968) and “Musica quasi una sonata” (1977) for piano; Poem for symphony orchestra, mezzo soprano and bass “Igavene tuli” (Eternal Fire, 1985), “Sümfooniline kompositsioon” (Symphonic Composition,1965) for symphony orchestra, string quartet (1986), sonata for solo viola (1980) and others.