Youthful fervour and vitality, thirst for knowledge and professionalism of the highest level, excellent work and enthusiasm – this is the formula for the State Chamber Orchestra Sinfonietta Rīga. Since the foundation of the orchestra in 2006, Normunds Šnē is its Artistic Director and Chief Conductor. The musicians of Sinfonietta Rīga are young and open to creative challenges – they are studying the traditions of Baroque music performance and Classical music interpretation nuances; they are brilliant performers of contemporary music and do not shy away from non-academic experiments and cross-over projects. Among the ambitions of the orchestra is promotion of chamber symphony genre in Latvian music, therefore twice a year Sinfonietta Rīga commissions a new score.
Chamber Orchestra Sinfonietta Rīga regularly collaborates with guest conductors – a number of different programmes have been staged in cooperation with Paavo and Kristjan Järvi, Heinz Holliger, John Storgårds, Christoph Poppen, Juha Kangas, Risto Joost and Tõnu Kaljuste.
Among the brilliant soloists that have performed together with Sinfonietta Rīga are classical singers Monika Groop, Inga Kalna and Olga Pasichnyk (Pasiecznik); pianists Kristian Bezuidenhout, Alexander (Lexo) Toradze and Diana Ketler; chief organist of Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg – Latvian Iveta Apkalna; Argentinian bandoneon player Marcelo Nisinman; violinists Kolja Blacher, Isabelle Faust, Thomas Gould, Alina Pogostkina, Baiba Skride, Augustin Dumay, Alexander Janiczek, Pekka Kuusisto and Vadim Gluzman; cellist Sol Gabetta; the members of the Berlin-based Artemis Quartet – violinist Vineta Sareika and violist Gregor Sigl, as well as Ukrainian violist Maxim Rysanov. Other excellent collaborations that the orchestra has enjoyed have been with clarinetists Jörg Widmann and Emil Jonason, Swedish trombone soloist Christian Lindberg and jazz drummer Peter Erskine, renowned Latvian accordionist Ksenija Sidorova, oboe soloist Alexei Ogrintchouk and flutist Patrick Gallois, as well as early music experts Andrew Lawrence-King and Enrico Onofri. The orchestra celebrated the closing of its 10th Season by sharing the stage with the legendary Scottish percussionist Evelyn Glennie. Over the years, the orchestra has developed a close friendship with the Latvian Radio Choir and its conductor Sigvards Kļava. Together, they stage several musical programmes each year, including first performances of Latvian sacred music.
Along with active concert life in Latvia and the other two Baltic States, Sinfonietta Rīga has performed in Paris, the Herkulessaal (Hercules Hall) in Munich, the Lincoln Center in New York, the Old Opera House (Alte Oper) in Frankfurt and the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg, as well as at the Philharmonic Halls in Kiev and St. Petersburg. In February 2017 the orchestra's sound flowed within the walls of the exquisite Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, as Sinfonietta Rīga, together with its regular stage partner Latvian Radio Choir, performed a programme of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt's works for the opening of Lux Aeterna festival. One month earlier, in January 2017, the orchestra ascended the stage in Muziekgebouw Eindhoven and De Doelen concert hall in Rotterdam – for the world premiere of the prominent American contemporary composer David Lang’s composition “Shade”. They returned to the Netherlands with Latvian Radio Choir in March 2017, for a concert tour that included Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Groeningen and Enschede.
For its musical and cultural contribution the Chamber Orchestra Sinfonietta Rīga has received the coveted national seal of approval – the Great Music Award of Latvia – three times. Its participation in the recording of Adam’s Lament by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, released by ECM, brought the orchestra a Grammy Award. Sinfonietta Rīga has recored eight additional albums that have been released by its devoted partners Wergo, Ondine, Edition Records and Challenge Records.