The music of Riho Esko Maimets (b. 1988) has been described as "enchantingly beautiful" and having a "unique emotional and communicative impact". Through his music, Riho, who has also worked as a church organist, seeks to provide spiritual nourishment to the listener. He is enjoying increasing exposure in North America and Europe with over 50 public performances of his music in 7 countries in the past year alone.
In April 2012 he won the Villiers Quartet Competition in the UK, based on an audience vote, for Sanctus, his five-movement string quartet. Sanctus has subsequently received several performances by various ensembles in Canada and Estonia and will be recorded and released by the Villiers Quartet in the summer of 2013. Sanctus has also received several performances in Canada by the Ton Beau Quartet and in Estonia in November 2012 by the Insomnia String Quartet on their debut tour.
In 2011 Riho was awarded the highSCORE Prize in Pavia, Italy and the Karen Kieser Prize in Canadian Music for iil, a work for 2 flutes, cello and piano. Riho was also selected as one of four Canadian composers under the age of 35 to take part in the Génération 2012 project, for which he composed Beatitude for violin soloist Véronique Mathieu and the Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal, which was toured in 8 cities across Canada in November 2012. Beatitude also received the Audience Choice Award. Most recently, Riho was selected as the 2013-2014 recipient of the Presser Graduate Music Award.
Riho has composed a significant amount of choral music that has been performed by groups in Estonia, such as the Tartu Academic Women's Choir, the Tallinn Chamber Choir and the vocal ensemble Heinavanker ("Haywain"). He was also commissioned to write a work for chamber choir and percussion quartet, to be performed by the Larkin Singers and the TorQ Percussion Quartet in Toronto in April 2013.
Riho’s music for guitar has lately been garnering increased recognition, including the inclusion of his solo guitar piece Aftermath as the title track of a CD released in Italy in 2012. His guitar duo Prayer of Quiet was toured in Estonia in late 2011 and in November 2012, he composed his Guitar Quintet in celebration of Julie Otsuka's The Buddha in the Attic, commissioned by the Free Library of Philadelphia.
Riho has also written music for young performers, including Threshing Game, a piece for violin and piano, commissioned by the Noor Muusik „Young Musician“ 2011 as compulsory repertoire for violinists under the age of 10.
Master classes and private meetings with established composers have played an important role in Riho’s professional development. These composers include Arvo Pärt, Giya Kancheli, Krzysztof Penderecki, Louis Andriessen, Matthias Pintscher, Steven Stucky and Anders Hillborg.
Riho was born in Toronto, Canada and started composing while enrolled in the Claude Watson Arts Program at Earl Haig Secondary School at the age of 15, under the instruction of Alan Torok. He completed undergraduate studies in composition at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre in Tallinn, Estonia, as a pupil of Helena Tulve and René Eespere, while enhancing his connection to his Estonian heritage. He recently completed his Master's degree at the University of Toronto under Christos Hatzis, where he was the recipient of an Ontario Graduate Scholarship and the prestigious Tecumseh Sherman Rogers Graduating Award. Riho is currently studying as a professional diploma student at the renowned Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, with David Ludwig.