Rudolf Tobias (29 May 1873 Käina, Hiiumaa – 29 October 1918 Berlin) was an Estonian composer, organist, and choirmaster. He was born the son of Johannes Tobias, the bishop of the church of Käina, a piano tuner, and an organ master. He graduated from the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, where he studied organ with Louis Homilius and composition with Professor Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. For his thesis, he wrote the cantata John of Damascus.
Tobias laid the foundations for the development of Estonian musicological thought and authored the first works of many genres in Estonian music, including the first symphonic work, the pathetic overture Julius Caesar, and the first oratorio, Jonah’s Mission.
Several of the author’s choral songs, such as ‘As a Deer’, ‘The Children of God’, and ‘Know Ye Not’, are still well-known today. The latter was also the first piece of music to be performed at the opening of the Estonia theatre building in 1913.
With the genre diversity of his work, especially in instrumental music, Tobias was an important pioneer for several generations of composers that followed.