Kaspars Zemītis, guitar
Latvian Radio Choir
Ivo Krūskops, percussions
Ilze Reine, organ
Conductor Mārtiņš Klišāns
Benjamin Britten, Edward Elgar, John Tavener and Kaspars Zemītis
- 10/12, 19:00
Vocal group Framest
Favourite Christmas jazz melodies, with compositions by Raimonds Pauls, Kārlis Lācis, Kaspars Zemītis and other Latvian composers
- 15/12, 19:00
This concert programme includes diverse facets and tones of Balkan music, including its most ancient layers. There is temperamental and totally melancholy folk music, urban folklore that is full of passion and excitement, and typical rhapsodies and more classical tones related to the most famous Romanian composer, George Enescu.
- 16/12, 19:00
Iveta Apkalna is an organ virtuoso who helped the “Gors” Embassy in Latgale to get a new concert piano, and she tries to visit Latvia as often as possible. First of all she takes part in her own festival, ORGANismi, which was organised for the second time this autumn. Apkalna also has an extensive solo programme that has become an annual tradition during the Christmas season.
The Bremen German Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by the distinguished Estonian conductor Paavo Järvi, is often called the most outstanding chamber orchestra in the world. It has visited Rīga several times, but now the rich experience of this brilliant ensemble will be presented by the holder of its first chair in the violin section, Florian Donderer. He studied violin in Berlin and London and has held first chair in the violin section since 1999. If he wasn’t a violinist, he would certainly own a bicycle store, because Donderer loves to ride his bike and always tries to do so when he appears at European musical festivals. Nuanced and refined musicality, the desire to always be in movement, and elegant and modern interpretations – these are the characteristics of the man who has chosen for this concert Haydn’s Clock symphony, which was composed in London, and the spicily eastern Concerto for Violin and Orchestra by Mozart, which was composed in Salzburg.
The Christmas mood, riding in a sleigh, the flourishing of nature, the harvest, birdsong, scenes from the hunt, a starry spring night and a carnival full of surprises – those are just a few of the scenes that the Russian romanticist Peter Tchaikovsky painted in sounds in his The Seasons. This opus is full of diverse images and vivid contrasts, and it is well known among all young pianists. Over the course of time, there have been various transpositions and arrangements of the opus. Andrejs Puškarevs, Reinis Ozoliņš and Kaspars Kurdeko are the Vibe Trio, and they are offering a new jazzy sound for this masterpiece of piano music, also taking us through changes in seasons and moods during the various seasons of the year.
- 25/12, 19:00
Through the course of the centuries, the Roman Catholic prayer Ave Maria has been of interest to composers of various eras and nationalities. Along with the most famous one by Bach/Gounod, other composers who have composed versions of the prayer include Schubert, Saint-Saëns, Mascangi, Maskats and others. Along with this prayer in sound, Christmas will also be rung in with the help of arias and music by Arvo Pärt and Richard Dubra. The warm and gentle voice of countertenor Sergejs Jēgers interweaves perfectly with the mighty pipes of the Rīga Dome Cathedral organ, as played by Diāna Jaunzeme-Portnaja, the violin of Agnese Kanniņa-Liepiņa, and the double bass of Jānis Stafeckis.
- 27/12, 19:00
The RIX piano quartet is a unique ensemble in which the violinist travels the world with various orchestras, the violist is a senior musician at the Bergen Symphonic Orchestra in Norway, the cellist is a member of the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra in Finland, and the pianist is a professor at the Latvian Academy of Music. The quartet comes together in Latvia twice a year, and that is a source of joy for the musicians and their audiences. This time the experienced ensemble of chamber musicians will be joined by another voice – that of the opera soprano Inga Kalna, who lives in Germany. Along with music by Artūrs Maskats, the exciting and joyful music of Lekeu and the romanticism of Saint-Saëns, we will visit secretive and masked Venice, which for many centuries has tempted composers, poets, those who are disappointed in life, and lovers. “During several autumns I have had the fortune to experience the special power of Venice,” Maskats has said in describing his recent vocal cycle, Lines from Venice. “I think about the flow of time, architecture and bridges are reflected in the water, nights are foggy, and church bells peal in the morning. These emotions cannot be confused with anything else in the world. Each person gets an indescribable amount from Venice, exactly as much as he can absorb.”
From the fateful and fiery music from Carmen to the harmonic and beautiful music of Johann Sebastian Bach and on to the dizzyingly sharp orchestral music of Astor Piazzolla – all of that will be offered to the audience by the virtuoso accordionist Ksenija Sidorova, who is imbued with a masculine clench and an intuitively gracious form of performance. Sidorova is known all around the world as the leading ambassadress of accordion music. She has just concluded an exclusive agreement with Europe’s most distinguished sound recording company, Deutsche Grammophon. Ksenija was born in Rīga but, for the last several years, has lived and worked in London, where she received her master’s degree with honours from the London Royal Academy of Music.
- 29/12, 19:00
Guest at the concert: director Andrejs Žagars
Conversations about opera, life, music and theatre festivals.
The performers for events in this cycle are always a secret!
- 30/12, 19:00
Johann Sebastian Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, like the great composer’s Easter concertos, has become an automatic element of holiday traditions in European concert halls and churches. Though the story of Christ’s birth does not change, and the beats of the oratorio are easy to remember, Bach’s monumental opus always brings peace, happiness and sparkling joy in to the hearts and minds of its listeners. Bach composed the oratorio sometime around Christmas 1734, and he hoped that it would be performed over the course of six evenings between Christmas and the Epiphany. Bach never heard his major opus in full, but the fragments that have been arranged by the conductor Kaspars Putniņš will allow the audience to experience the story of the Christ child and the unrepeatable magic of Bach’s music.
Five very special concerts for the low, low price of 45 euros! A Sinfonietta Rīga subscription is a great way to ensure that you have tickets for a long-awaited concert, thus allowing you to be stand witness to the most important aspects of musical life in Rīga.
Latvian Concerts have ensured the continuation of the “Really Young Ones” concert series during the next concert season. There will be four concerts for our youngest listeners – preschool children. Outstanding instrumentalists, singers, dancers and actors will appear on stage, and there will be fragments from animated films. The musicians will be dressed in costumes that will be of interest to and familiar for the kids. For half an hour before and after each concert, children will have access to creative workshops.
Subscriptions cost just EUR 18. Visit www.bilesuparadize.lv.
Alessandro Baricco (b 1958) is a world-renowned author and philosopher from Italy who studies glass castles, silk and Homer. As a young man, he thought a lot about music and even wrote books about the topic.
“Nordic tranquillity and Nordic fire meets in him,” says composer Pēteris Vasks of his friend and colleague Juha Kangas. The Finnish conductor, who appears serious and reserved at first, has always been driven by an unstoppable fascination with Baltic and Nordic music, and many will agree that several times he alone has managed to find the key to the mysterious and often baffling Northern world of sound.
Jāzeps Mediņš (1877-1947), Landscape of the Motherland
Gundars Pone (1932-1994), Concerto for Violin and Orchestra
Ilze Zariņa, violin
The Liepāja Symphony Orchestra
Atvars Lakstīgala, conductor
Pēteris Plakidis (b 1947), Song
Gundega Šmite (b 1977), Concerto for Accordion and Orchestra (premiere)
Artūrs Noviks, accordion
The Latvian National Symphony Orchestra
Guntis Kuzma, conductor
Artūrs Maskats (b 1957), Suite from the Battle ‘Dangerous Liaisons’ (premiere)
Elīna Šimkus, soprano
Dace Kļava, harpsichord
Mārtiņš Zilberts, harpsichord
The orchestra of the Latvian National Opera and Ballet
Mārtiņš Ozoliņš, conductor
Jānis Steprāns, saxophone (Canada)
Viktors Ritovs, piano
Edvīns Ozols, double bass
Artis Orubs, percussion
The Latvian Radio Big Band
Alexandre Doisy, saxophone
Arvīds Kazlausks, saxophone
Katrīna Kivleniece, saxophone
The Rīga Saxophone Quartet
Normunds Šnē, conductor
Justė Janulytė, The Colour of Water (debut), Frank Martin, Ballad for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra, Ģederts Ramans, Concerto for Saxophone and String Quartet, Rihards Zaļupe, Arctic. Reverse (concerto for a saxophone quartet, symphony orchestra and electronics; debut)
Rolf-Erik Nystrøm, saxophone (Norway)
Kouame Sereba, traditional African instruments, voice (Norway)
The Rīga Saxophone Quartet
Jean-Pierre Baraglioli, saxophone (France)
The Latvian Radio Choir
Kaspars Putniņš, conductor
Johann Sebastian Bach, Prelude and Fugue, transposed for saxophone quartet, Rihards Dubra, saxophone quintet Vigilia, György Ligeti, Lux Aeterna for a cappella choir, debus of new opuses by Armandas Aleksandravičius and Ēriks Ešenvalds
Seamus Blake, saxophone (United States)
Sabina Sciubba, vocal (Italy, France)
The Latvian Radio Big Band
Music from the Superconductor album, arranged for the Latvian Radio Big Band
One of the trump cards of the incredibly talented German clarinettist, composer and conductor Jörg Widmann is his versatility. He performs regularly with the best German orchestras and is the Principal Guest Conductor of the Irish Chamber Orchestra. Widmann's fascinating and adventurous compositions are beloved by maestros Mariss Jansons, Andris Nelsons, Paavo Järvi and Simon Rattle, who often include his works in their concert programmes.
Thomas Sanderling, the son of the legendary German conductor Kurt Sanderling, largely spent his formative years in the wings of the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra. In the 1990s he was the Principal Guest Conductor of the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra. Now he travels to Latvia again to reveal the true vitality and mastery of Beethoven in the peak of his fame.
A few years ago the Latvian Radio Choir welcomed Easter with the performance of all German grand master Johann Sebastian Bach's passions, delivering three different renditions of the New Testament's narrative of the Passion of Jesus. The concert series “Bach. Passion. Riga” received the Grand Music Award of Latvia. This year, the artistic director of the of the choir Sigvards Kļava has interspersed the choruses and corals from Bach's passions with Pēteris Vasks' music, ranging from a quiet contemplation in the stanzas by Mother Teresa to calm prayer and jubilations in praise of the Resurrection in his newest works Gloria and Mein Herr und mein Gott, performed by the Latvian Radio Choir together with the chamber orchestra Sinfonietta Rīga and organist Ilze Reine.
Already for several years, Latvian violinist Jana Ozoliņa studies and works in Switzerland, frequently taking additional classes from the renowned violinist Boris Kuschnir. She performs with the Young Eurasian Soloists, chamber orchestra formed by her. In Riga the skilled and spirited soloist will perform the Vivaldi-inspired, melodically throbbing concerto The American Four Seasons by the founding father of American minimalism, Philip Glass. Another unusual encounter proposed by Sinfonietta Rīga will be the one with the string piece by Unsuk Chin, the best-known Korean composer in Europe – inspired by graffiti seen on the streets and embellished with bells and gongs. And finally, a new chamber concerto by the quiet Latvian with an ironic smile Oskars Herliņš.
Concluding its first decade and entering the teen years, chamber orchestra Sinfonietta Rīga in its season closing concert offers a buffet of musical styles. The classical tradition and excerpt from the dashing Don Juan's aria will be presented by Joseph Haydn's first London symphony; the restless, tormented romantic soul will be exquisitely drawn by the Grande Allegro in the spirit of Mendelssohn's violin concerto by the Italian Giovanni Bottesini, dubbed 'the double bass Paganini'; the American Steve Reich will nod to the ancient Jewish Torah chants in his stirring, meandering opus “Eight Lines”; and in the perfect symmetries of the “travel music” by John Adams we will be able to notice the motifs of boogie-woogie, pop and minimalist rock.