Chamber orchestra Sinfonietta Rīga
Renewed: October 2022
Sinfonietta Rīga opens the 2022/2023 concert season together with Vineta Sareika, the first violinist of Berlin Philharmonic. In October, at the closing of Liepāja Art Forum, we look forward to a rare performance of video opera An Index of Metals, the final large-scale work of Italian avant-garde composer Fausto Romitelli. In Riga, at the popular annual Autumn Chamber Music Festival, our musicians will again share the stage of the Great Guild Hall with the charming French cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras.
Also in Riga, in early November, as a dedication to the freedom fighters of Ukraine, Sinfonietta Rīga will perform works of contemporary Ukrainian composers with Natalia Ponomarchuk, the principal conductor of Kyiv Chamber Orchestra. Later that month, we will join our long-time friend, the first oboist of Amsterdam Royal Concertgebouw Alexei Ogrintchouk, on the world-famous stage in the capital of the Netherlands. In December, we turn our gaze to the Baroque era, in our first collaboration with the great American countertenor Bejun Mehta.
Sinfonietta Rīga will begin 2023 performing with German oboist Dominik Wollenweber, a recent recipient of the prestigious Opuss Klassik award. In early February, the orchestra will for the first time follow the lead of the young and charismatic British conductor Robert Ames in our programme Schumann’s Rhenish Symphony and Alaskan Landscapes; in March we will welcome back to Riga the accomplished Italian violinist Lorenza Borrani.
One of the most celebrated Nordic vocalists – Swedish soprano Lisa Larsson – will join our orchestra for a concert in the Great Guild Hall in April, and, for the season’s closing we will once again perform with the brilliant Uzbek pianist Behzod Abduraimov.
Joy of discovery and perpetual reaching for new horizons are the traits that best describe the Grammy-winning State Chamber Orchestra Sinfonietta Rīga. Since its foundation in 2006, the orchestra's artistic director and chief conductor has been Normunds Šnē. Sinfonietta Rīga musicians are accomplished, erudite and bursting with creativity. They are assiduous students of the musical heritage of Baroque era and the First and Second Viennese School, as well as eager presenters of the musical phenomena and styles of the 20th century, while continuing to look for the brightest revelations in contemporary music scene. Among the ambitions of the orchestra is promotion and development of chamber symphony genre in Latvian music, therefore twice a year Sinfonietta Rīga commissions a new chamber symphony score to contemporary Latvian composers.
Sinfonietta Rīga often collaborates with guest conductors and has staged thematically and stylistically varied programmes together with Paavo Järvi, Heinz Holliger, John Storgårds, Christoph Poppen, Olari Elts, Juha Kangas and Tõnu Kaljuste.
Among the brilliant soloists that have performed together with Sinfonietta Rīga are classical singers Julia Lezhneva and Inga Kalna; pianists Kristian Bezuidenhout, Nelson Goerner, Behzod Abduraimov and Yevgeny Sudbin; internationally renowned Latvian organist Iveta Apkalna; violinists Isabelle Faust, Kolja Blacher, Alina Ibragimova, Vineta Sareika, Baiba Skride, Pekka Kuusisto and Thomas Zehtmair; cellists Sol Gabetta and Jean-Guihen Queyras; and Ukrainian violist Maxim Rysanov. The orchestra has also enjoyed several collaborations with clarinetist and composer Jörg Widmann; trombone soloist Christian Lindberg; percussionists Martin Grubinger, Evelyn Glennie and Peter Erskine; accordionist Ksenija Sidorova; Argentinian bandoneon player Marcelo Nisinman; oboist Alexei Ogrintchouk; and early music experts Andrew Lawrence-King and Enrico Onofri. Over the years, the orchestra has developed a close creative friendship and staged noteworthy programmes with Latvian Radio Choir and its conductor Sigvards Kļava, as well as the State Choir Latvija and its conductor Māris Sirmais.
Along with active concert life in Latvia and the other two Baltic States, Sinfonietta Rīga has performed in the Elbphilharmonie and the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg, the Kölner Philharmonie in Cologne, the Herkulessaal in Munich, and the Alte Oper in Frankfurt. In Netherlands, the orchestra has performed several times, both in Amsterdam's Muziekgebouw and De Doelen in Rotterdam; and it has also conquered the hearts of audiences in St. Petersburg Philharmonia and the Lincoln Center in New York.
Sinfonietta Rīga is a frequent guest in festivals of various sizes in Latvia and abroad. In 2016 and 2021, led by maestro Paavo Järvi, the orchestra opened the Pärnu Music Festival. Several times, the orchestra has visited the prominent Baltic Sea Festival in Stockholm. In February 2017, together with Latvian Radio Choir, Sinfonietta Rīga had its debut at the Elbphilharmonie, performing a retrospective of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt's works at the introvert art festival Lux Aeterna; in June 2018 both collectives came together to perform the same programme again, this time at the Kissinger Sommer festival in the spa town Bad Kissingen in Bavaria. To celebrate the centenary of the proclamation of the Republic of Latvia, in October 2018 Sinfonietta Rīga participated for the first time in the Cafe Budapest festival, and together with accordionist Ksenija Sidorova gave concerts in Malmö, Gothenburg and Örebro concert halls.
Since 2020, Sinfonietta Rīga has begun a new tradition of Summer Nights’ Chamber Music concerts, inviting the audiences for specially curated programmes at the contemporary art centre Zuzeum.
For its musical and cultural contribution Sinfonietta Rīga has received the coveted national seal of approval – the Grand Latvian Music Award – five times. The latest award was bestowed for the performance of Gérard Grisey’s opus Vortex in the Latvian New Music Days in April 2021. Participation in the recording of Adam’s Lament by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, released by ECM, brought the orchestra the acclaimed Grammy Award. Sinfonietta Rīga has recorded numerous other albums that have been released by its devoted partners Wergo, Ondine, Onyx, Edition Records, Challenge Records, Signum Records and Latvian national record label SKANI. In 2020, the orchestra released two studio albums – one recorded with violist Maxim Rysanov and released by BIS Records, the other, Credo – a selection of sacred and spiritual music – with opera singer Marina Rebeka, released under the label Primo Classic. In 2021-2022, Sinfonietta Rīga took part in two albums released by SKANI – the anthology of works by contemporary Latvian composers Platons Buravickis, Ruta Paidere, Andris Dzenītis and Linda Leimane, as well as the double album of composer Krists Auznieks, which includes his opus for electric guitar and chamber orchestra Coiled Horizon, performed by American guitarist JIJI. Sinfonietta Rīga’s latest recording, the debut album Humanity by German cellist Simone Drescher, is being released in October 2022 by GWK Records.