Toivo Tulev’s teachers have included Eino Tamberg and the Swedish composer Sven-David Sandström. In 1996 he studied electro-acoustic music at the Cologne Hochschule der Musik. But he also acknowledges the strong musical influence and encouragement of people such as Tõnu Kaljuste and Erkki-Sven Tüür, and the experience of singing in various early music vocal ensembles like Vox Clamantis, Chœur Grégorien de Paris and Heinavanker. He is himself the founder (1995) and artistic director of the liturgical music ensemble Scandicus. He is head of the Composition Department at the Estonian Academy of Music.