Sinfonietta Rīga season opening with Beethoven, Lindberg and Ivanovs

On Friday, 21 September, chamber orchestra Sinfonietta Rīga and conductor Normunds Šnē will welcome the audience to the Great Guild Hall for the opening concert of the orchestra’s 13th Season. The programme promises to bring the listeners to three different musical and cultural landscapes. Acclaimed Russian pianist Yevgeny Sudbin will perform Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5. The orchestra will especially honour the father of Latvian symphonic music Jānis Ivanovs, by re-introducing the public with his 1970s’ opus “Sinfonietta”. Finally, the orchestra’s continuing passion for experiments and professional courage will be demonstrated in the performance of Finnish contemporary composer Magnus Lindberg’s composition “Joy”.

The beginning of Sinfonietta Rīga concert season unfailingly signals the start of another exciting and varied musical journey, which will bring to the audiences brilliant guest performers, intriguing discoveries of contemporary music, premieres of new Latvian opuses and classical masterpieces.


Asked about the season opening programme, conductor Normunds Šnē remarked: “This is going to be a very special concert. We’ll perform not only Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto together with the phenomenal pianist Yevgeny Sudbin, and the composition “Sinfonietta” by our own Latvian grand-master of symphonic music Jānis Ivanovs, but also Magnus Lindberg’s masterpiece “Joy”, the title of which to me describes the essence of this concert programme – the endless joy of creation.”


            Finnish pianist and composer Magnus Lindberg (1958) is the student of legendary Einojuhani Rautavaara. He is a passionate innovator and explorer, belonging to the generation of Finnish musicians who in the 1980s claimed Finland’s place in the European musical landscape suddenly and brilliantly. Lindberg’s contemporaries are Esa-Pekka Salonen, Kaija Saariaho and Jouni Kaipainen. Lindberg is known for his work in the fields of musique concrète, serialism and spectral music, his enthusiasm for electronic manipulation of sound and his adventurous composition methods, styles and textures.

            Composition for chamber orchestra “Joy” (1990) is the final work of the trilogy composed at the end of the 1980s, the first two parts being Kinetics (1988) and Marea (1989–90). The work was commissioned by Ensemble intercontemporain, the new music collective established by Pierre Boulez – French conductor, composer and founder of Paris Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM).


            Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), the grand-master of late Classicism, composed the majestic and wonderfully lyrical Piano Concerto No. 5 (Emperor Concerto) in the years of his creative maturity, so-called Heroic Period. It is dedicated to   Beethoven’s patron and student Rudolf, Archduke of Austria and Archbishop of Olomouc. The concerto was first performed on 13 January 13, 1811 at the Palace of Prince Joseph Lobkowitz in Vienna, with the music-loving archbishop himself playing the piano. The first public performance of the concerto in November of the same year at the famous Gewandhaus in Leipzig was received with ovations. The nickname “Emperor Concerto” was bestowed to the piece by acclaimed English pianist Johann Baptist Cramer, who was also the first to publish its score in the Great Britain.

            In Riga, the timeless masterpiece will be performed by Russian pianist Yevgeny Sudbin, currently based in London, who will join Sinfonietta Rīga musicians for the evening.


            Jānis Ivanovs (1906-1983) has contributed to the development of Latvian symphonic music in an indubitably monumental and permanent way, leaving to us twenty-one symphonies, three instrumental concertos, as well as several symphonic poems, film scores and chamber music works. His opuses for string orchestra are on par with his larger symphonic compositions. One of these works, included in Sinfonietta Rīga season opening programme, is “Sinfonietta” – a three-part opus composed in 1977 and dedicated to youth and joy of performing music, saturated with Ivanovs’ characteristic earthiness, serenity and Latvian sensibilities.


            British newspaper “The Daily Telegraph” has hailed Yevgeny Sudbin (1980) as “potentially one of the greatest pianists of the 21st century”, and “The Independent” writes that “he is a pianist of uncommon sensitivity and refinement and has total confidence in his imaginative concept of each piece.”

            Yevgeny Sudbin was born in St. Petersburg. He began learning piano at the age of five in the Specialist Music School of the St. Petersburg Conservatory with Lyubov Pevsner. At the age of ten he moved with his family to Berlin and entered Hanns Eisler Musikhochschule. In 1997 his studies brought him to London and the Royal Academy of Music, where he received his Masters degree under Christopher Elton.

            Sudbin regularly performs in the finest concert halls around the world, including Tonhalle in Zurich, Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Wigmore Hall in London, Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Avery Fisher Hall in New York and Davies Symphony Hall in  San Francisco. He has collaborated with influential conductors such as Paavo Järvi, Charles Dutoit, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Hannu Lintu, and orchestras including Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, Lucerne Symphony, London Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, New Zealand Symphony and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra among many others.

            Sudbin is Swedish classical music company BIS Records’ only exclusive artist. His recordings receive frequent praise by prominent musical magazines such as “BBC Music Magazine” and “Gramophone”.

W. A. Mozart - Symphony No. 41 "Jupiter"
F. Mendellsohn - Symphony No. 3
Linda Leimane - Guesstimations
R. Strauss - Oboe Concerto
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