State Choir “Latvija”

The State Choir of Latvia will celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2012. The choir received three-times the Great Music Award of Latvia (in 1998, 2000 and 2002). In 2003, the Choir was granted with the Award of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia, and in 2007 with the Award of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia.

The founder and first conductor of the State Choir Latvija was Janis Ozolins followed by Janis Dumins and Daumants Gailis. In 1969 the leadership of the choir was taken over by Imants Cepitis who together with Ausma Derkevica developed the choir’s mastery for almost a quarter of a century. Since 1997, the artistic director and principal conductor is Maris Sirmais, and Maris Oslejs is its general manager.

The cornerstones of the choir’s repertoire are large-scale compositions – oratorios, cantatas, masses, requiems, symphonies and concert performances of operas. The repertoire also encompasses extensive a cappella programmes as well as compositions for chorus and organ. This covers music from early renaissance to the present day (Messiaen, Britten, Honegger, Vasks, Pärt, Kancheli among others), and recently with a special emphasis on Latvian composers.

The State Choir “Latvija” has developed a creative co-operation with leading symphony orchestras in Latvia, Israel, Germany, Estonia, Lithuania, Spain and Russia and enjoys a successful collaboration with conductors such as Mariss Jansons, Neeme Järvi, Kristian Järvi, Valery Gergiev, Zubin Mehta, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Jeffrey Tate and Simone Young.

Most significant recent engagements were concerts with the Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, both conducted by Mariss Jansons, the Hamburg Philharmonic and Simone Young, with Tonhalle Orchestra/Suisse Romande and David Zinman at both, the Montreux and Lucerne Festivals, the season opening of the Hamburg Symphony (Sep 2009, War Requiem by Benjamin Britten), the debut at the Lucerne Festival (Mar 2009, “Chapter Eight” by Alexander Knaifel), the debut at Finlandia Hall (Sep 2008), the world premières of “Deer’s Cry” by Arvo Pärt (2008, Ireland) and of “Russian Requiem” by Lera Auerbach (Sep 2007, Bremen Music Festival), the performance of “Mass” by Leonard Bernstein (2007, the 10th International Sacred Music Festival), and the performance of Arnold Schönberg’s opera “Moses and Aaron” (Graz) among others.

Latvija has participated in recording the soundtrack for the film “Perfume” (Das Parfum; directed by Tom Tykwer). In September