«Rondellus» - biography, albums, songs, video clips

Rondellus hails from Tallinn, Estonia. The band was formed by Maria and Robert Staak in 1993 to perform and promote medieval and renaissance music. All members of the group are professional musicians with years of experience in Estonia’s finest early music groups (Hortus Musicus and others).

Maria Staak decided in favour of music and singing after studying for several years to become an actor. She graduated from The Tallinn Music School, where she studied classical and jazz singing. Later she dedicated herself to medieval music. She has studied medieval music and singing with Mr. Dominique Vellard in one of the most prestigious schools in Europe - Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Switzerland. She is also in demand as a teacher of early singing and works regularly with pupils in Studio Rondellus.

Robert Staak took up the lute and early plucked instruments (theorbo, baroque guitar) after graduating from The Tallinn Music School as a classical guitarist. He is very much in demand as a continuo player and is teaching basso continuo and lute for classical guitarists in the Tallinn Academy of Music. He has also studied early percussion with Poul Høxbro (Denmark).

Veikko Christian Kiiver studied flute and recorder in Tallinn, Estonia. He has also graduated as a solo singer and singing teacher from the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, his hometown. His interest in early music and chant lead him from the Stockholms Schola gregoriana Holmiae to Ensemble Gilles Binchois, one of the foremost in this field of singing, which he has toured and performed together with. Veikko Kiiver is also the leader of the Ensemble Scala Jacobi, specializing in Gregorian chant and early mediaeval polyphony.

Miriam Andersén, Swedish singer and harper, studied singing, medieval harp and medieval performance practice at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Switzerland. She performs throughout Europe, in North America and in Australia and has recorded a number of CD´s with renowned ensembles for medieval music such as Sarband, Ferrara Ensemble and Ensemble Gilles Binchois as well as with her regular ensembles ALBA and Belladonna.

Tõnu Jõesaar studied cello at The Tallinn Music School and Tallinn Conservatory. He has worked with The Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, The Tallinn String Quartet, Corelli Concort and other numerous baroque music groups. He has performed as a solo player and toured throughout Europe with several orchestras and bands.

Rondellus has an extensive history of touring and playing live. They have performed numerous concerts in the Baltic States, Scandinavia, Poland, Hungary, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Switzerland. During the summer of 1998, Rondellus toured in the churches of Sweden together with two dancers from a modern dance studio - Fine 5. This experimental programme brought together medieval sacred music and modern choreography.

Rondellus’ repertoire includes both sacred and secular music ranging from Gregorian chants to love and drinking songs and instrumental dances, including music of the trouvères and troubadours, works by Hildegard of Bingen, Guillaume Machaut, Francesco Landini, Guillaume Du Fay, Gilles Binchois, Josquin Des Pres and others.

Rondellus has recorded 4 albums:

* “Secular Music in France from the XIVth-XVth Century” (1995) - music by Guillaume de Machaut, Guillaume Du Fay, Gilles Binchois and their contemporaries. Recorded in collaboration with Estonian Radio.

* “Sanctum Rosarium” (1995) - sacred music from the Middle Ages - songs on the themes of the Holy Rosary.

* “Carmina Sanctorium” (1998) - sacred music from the Middle Ages connected with/dedicated to medieval saints (Anonymous composers, Hildegard von Bingen, music from Florence Manuscript, Codex Calixtinus, etc.). Recorded in collaboration with Estonian Radio.

* “Sabbatum” (2002) - a collection of classic Black Sabbath songs reworked in the true spirit of middle ages. The album contains covers of such hits as “War Pigs” and “The Wizard” among others. All songs are sung in Latin language.

Source: Sabbatum website

Official website: www.rondellus.ee