J. S. Bach
"Johannes-Passion" for Soloists, Choir and Orchestra, BWV 245
In 2012 the choir is celebrating its 70th anniversary. The choir is a six-time receiver of the Great Music Award of Latvia (in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2009, 2010 and 2011) and in 2003 the Choir was presented with the Award of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia. In 2007 it was given the Award of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia.
In November 2010 the State Choir “Latvija” made its debut in New York (USA) with three concerts at the White Light Festival organised by Lincoln Centre. The New York Times in several of its reviews characterised the Choir’s sound as „exquisite, beautiful and magnificent”.
At present the choir is in high demand among choirs in Europe and has given over twenty concerts abroad in 2010, including some of the most prestigious concert halls (Amsterdam Concertgebouw; Hamburg Laeiszhalle; Lucerne concert hall; Igor Stravinsky Hall in Montreux and others).
Since 1997 the artistic director and chief conductor of the choir is Māris Sirmais.
In recent years, the choir has co-operated with the leading symphonic orchestras of Germany, Finland, Singapore, Israel, Greece, Switzerland, USA, Estonia, Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Chamber Orchestra of Gustav Mahler and also with the prominent conductors Maris Jansons, Andris Nelsons, Neeme Järvi, Pavo Järvi, Kristian Järvi, David Zinman, Valery Gergiev, Zubin Mehta, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Simone Young, Tenu Kaljuste and many others.
The choir is a universal collective that permanently adds to its repertoire innovative compositions of various genres, starting with film music records - Perfume (Original Soundtrack) EMI Classics and ending with vocal-instrumental world first performances of “Credo” by Kjartan Sveinson in New-York in November 2010. In September 2007 at Bremen Music Festival the Choir Latvija together with conductor Tonu Kaljuste and the Bremen Symphonic Orchestra participated in world premiere of Russian Requiem by Lera Auerbach)
Most significant concerts and records of recent years:
October 2011 – debut with Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich, performing Mahler’s 8th Symphony, conductor Mariss Jansons
March 2011 – debut with Amesterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra, performing Mahler’s Symphony Nr. 8 under guidance of Mariss Jansons.
November 2010 – three debut concerts at White Light Festival organised by Lincoln Centre (New York), including a project with musicians of Icelandic group Sigur Ros participating in the world premiere of Kjartan Sveinson composition “Credo” and Jonsi & Alex album “Riceboy Sleeps” transcriptions for choir and symphonic orchestra. Positive reviews of this concert were published both in “The New York Times” and “Rolling Stone”.
In September 2010 the choir “Latvija” made its debut at the Montreux Festival in collaboration the Lucerne Festival under the leadership of David Zinman, giving magnificent concert performances of Arnold Schoenberg “Gurrelieder” at both festivals. This was the second participation of the choir at Lucerne festival.
In March 2009 the choir Latvija made its debut at the Lucerne festival, in July and at the largest music event in Germany – the Rheingau festival –the choir performed “The Sealed Angel” by Rodion Shchedrin. After this concert Rodion Shchedrin said that the choir is the best in the world. In May 2010 the record company WERGO issued this concert recording on
CD. In September the choir performed in the Season opening concert of the Hamburg Symphonic Orchestra and at the Berlin Music Festival.
September 2008 – debut of the choir “Latvija” in the concert hall Finlandia in Helsinki .In collaboration with the Helsinki Symphonic Orchestra and conductor John Storgårds the choir “Latvija” participated in the first performance of the concert opera by Rodion Shchedrin The enchanted Wanderer (2002). In February 2008 the choir “Latvija” participated in world premiere of Arvo Pärt composition “Deer’s Cry” in Ireland in the concert “Baltic voices”. In this concert also compositions by Rihards Dubra - “Hail To The Queen of Heaven” - and Georgs Pelēcis - “Blood Upon A Rose” - were performed for the first time
In the year 2007 the 10th International Festival of Sacred Music organised by the choir “Latvija” was widely celebrated. At this festival should be specifically mentioned the first performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass in Latvia.
The State Choir “Latvija” has participated in the recording of music for the film Das Parfum. In September 2006 this film music was issued on CD by EMI Classics with the name Perfume (Original Soundtrack). Also involved in the recording of this soundtrack was the Berliner Philharmoniķer with conductor Sir Simon Rattle. The choir has participated in records produced by Warner Brothers, Harmonia Mundi, and in countless recordings of Latvian, German, Belgian and other countries’ brands and publishers’ recordings.