A natural improviser from a very young age, it was not until her late teens that Anat Fort discovered the depth of jazz. The next step was coming to the US to study with people who were part of shaping up this music, such as Harold Mabern, Rufus Reid, Norman Simmons and Paul Bley. In 1999 she formed her working band, the Anat Fort trio, with bassist Gary Wang and drummer Roland Schneider, and self-produced her first CD, “Peel”. 2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the Anat Fort trio, which has since toured throughout the US, Europe, Canada, Israel and China in major venues and festivals (Montreal, Birdland, Porgy and Bess, NDR, Tel-Aviv Opera House and many more).
Anat received composition grants from the “Jerome Foundation”, “Meet the Composer”, “The Rabinovitch Foundation” and others. She has played with many jazz greats such as Paul Motian, Ed Schuller and Perry Robinson with whom she recorded her second CD, “A Long Story”, in 2004.This collaboration brought her to the attention of ECM Records producer Manfred Eicher who decided to produce the recording without having initially been in the studio; a rare occurrence. The CD came out in 2007 and received outstanding reviews worldwide. The collaboration with ECM has since continued on two more CD’s, “And If” (2010) and “Birdwatching” (2016), both featuring her original compositions. In April 2019 she released “Colour”, a celebration of her trio’s 20 years of playing together, on Sunnyside Records.
Anat has been collaborating with vocalist-composer Ayelet Rose Gottlieb since 2005 and their CD of lullabies in Hebrew, “Two more dreams”, came out in 2017. She recently completed a PhD in composition at the Bar –Ilan University. In December 2018 she won the prestigious Prime Minister jazz composers award in Israel and became the first woman to ever win the prize.
Mustonen was born in Tallinn on 1 September 1953. He graduated from the Tallinn Music High School in 1972 and five years later both he and Endel Lippus graduated from the Tallinn State Conservatory. Later on, he studied in Austria and the Netherlands and then became a music specialist in his native Estonia and overseas. When he became a conductor he played in such orchestras as Riga's Chamber Orchestra Sinfonietta and Moscow-based Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonic Orchestra and Russian National Orchestra.
He also was a conductor for the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra and was in cooperation with Lithuanian and Latvian Philharmonic Orchestras. In Estonia he conducted with the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and Tallinn Chamber Orchestra along with Vanemuine Symphony Orchestra. Outside of the Soviet Union he participated in the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and many choirs in Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands.
He is well known for performing works of such composers as Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Anton Bruckner, Manuel Cardoso, Dmitri Shostakovich, Georg Philipp Telemann and Heinrich Schütz. Besides playing classical music of foreign composers, he played such Soviet composers as Gia Kancheli, Sofia Gubaidulina and Valentyn Sylvestrov among others. He also worked in collaboration with such violinists as Sergei Stadler, Viktor Tretiakov and Oleg Kagan from Russia, Danish Michala Petri and French Patrick Gallois and Michel Lethiec among others.
In 1972 he became a founder of Hortus Musicus and worked with the ensemble as a director and conductor ever since. His ensemble performed in such festivals as the Bratislava Music Festival in Slovakia, Israeli Jaffa Festival and Tallinn-Tel Aviv Festival in Tel Aviv, and Lufthansa Baroque Festival in London among other well-known festivals. Besides being a founder of Hortus Musicus he is also a founder of Hortus Music Academic Orchestra which recorded many albums for Warner Classics, Melodiya and many other labels. Somewhere in 2003 he participated in the Viljandi Folk Music Festival and the same year was honoured by the Estonian Music Council with a prize. In 1998 he received the Order of the White Star. Currently he gives concerts with such musicians as Tanel Ruben, Taavo Remmel, Jaak Sooäär and many others.
In 2014 he established the "Mustonenfest Tallinn Tel Aviv Festival" - an annual event, in which classical collectives from Estonia perform in Israel. He is the artistic director of the festival.