The Estonian pianist, composer, improvisator, Rein Rannap, was born into a musical family. His father Heino Rannap - musician, teacher, professor of musical education, and his mother Ines Rannap - violinist, teacher, music critic. He studied piano at the Tallinn Music Secondary School (1965-1972) and the Tallinn Conservatory (1972-1977) with Virve Lippus. Thereafter he was a post-graduate student at the Moscow Conservatory under Lev Naumov (1977-1979). From 1991 to 1995 he studied composition with Stephan Hartke at the University of South-Carolina, Los Angeles.
Despite the fact that Rein Rannap had his first piano recital and the first performance with orchestra in 1968 already, he is still active in this field. In 1997 and 1999 he arranged all-Estonian concert-tours “Piano comes for a visit”. He performed in churches and transported his piano to all kind of different places. His propagandistic activities include concerts in small and distant rural districts and TV-broadcasting series “Music - with a small initial” (1997-1998). In 1973 he was a winner of the Competition Estonian Pianists and in 1976 he became a finalist and a prize-winner at the International Bach Piano Competition in Leipzig, Germany. His favourite composers are J.S. Bach, L.v. Beethoven, Schubert, Frédéric Chopin and Franz Liszt. In addition, he has been the first performer of many new Estonian pianoworks. He has been recitalling all over previous Soviet Union, in many European cities and the biggest cities in USA, Canada and Australia.
As a composer with the classical orientation Rein Rannap is creating in euphonic post-modern mood. He has written works for piano, performing them himself - as cycles Naive and Innocent Pieces (1980-1982), Cruise Control (1991), Six-pack Piano (1997). Also some of his orchestral pieces could be mentioned too: Concerto grosso in una movimento (1981/1988, CD with Estonian Radio Chamber Orchestra), Symphony (1986), Umbrellas (1991), Elegy (1995), Parrots (1998), Time Sculpture for piano and grand symphony orchestra (2000), Closeness. Lightness for chamber orchestra (2001), Gust for symphonic wind band (2001), Beach-peace (shared with Raimond Valgre) for flute and chamber orchestra (2001). He has also written a lot of chamber music (Darkness, 2001).
Rein Rannap has initiated and been a leader of three rock-bands performing mostly his own output: “Ruja” (1971-75 and 1980-1985); “Noor-Eesti” (“Young Estonia”) and “Hõim” (“Tribe” 1979-1980, making arrangements of Estonian folk-songs). Since 1971 he has published and performed hundreds pop- and rock-songs. In 1971 and 1973 he won the first prize at the Estonian song-contest “Tippmeloodia” (“Top-Melody”) with his songs Come With Me (Sa tule nüüd) and What Will Be? (Mis küll saab). In 1974 and 1975 he won the song-contest of the year (“Aastalõpu võistluskontsert”) with his songs Somebody Should Come (Keegi tulla võib) and Your Voice (Sinu hääl). His best-known songs are Languorous Words (Raagus sõnad), Such a Silence (Nii vaikseks kõik on jäänud), In a Small Estonian Town (Ühes väikeses Eesti linnas), and a cantata Beautiful Land. He has also written songs for children, film-music and stage music.
Already in 1968, at the seventh grade, Rein Rannap had a great success with performing his Trio at the Tallinn Jazz Festival. Since then he has regularly performed with improvisations at many international festivals, sometimes giving recitals compiled only of solo-improvisations. Embracing modern classics, rock music, Estonin folk music, new age and jazz music, his highly personal “free-style” improvisations could hardly be characterized in the framework of traditional genres.