A new international academy

The Riga Jurmala Music Festival today announces the introduction of its new Riga Jurmala Academy, which promises to extend Latvia’s exceptional reputation for music education to the world. Organised in collaboration with the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music, the country’s centre for excellence in classical music training, the Academy will provide unique artistic development opportunities for young and talented musicians from the Baltics and abroad.

Masterclasses in piano, conducting, strings and woodwind will take place during the scheduled weekends of the 2020 Riga Jurmala Music Festival and will be led by artists appearing in the concerts. The Riga Academy will offer participants admission to the concerts during the weekend. Rarely do young musicians have the simultaneous opportunity to witness their professors applying on stage the advice they give during the masterclasses,” says Toms Ostrovskis, Director of the Riga Jurmala Academy.

The Riga Jurmala Music Festival is now contributing to the country’s stellar music education system and extending this opportunity abroad with a brand-new academy, inviting Latvians and foreign music students to participate in masterclasses with some of the world’s top musicians alongside the Festival weekends.

Zane Culkstena, Executive Director of the Riga Jurmala Music Festival, said: “Latvia’s unparalleled energy with which it approaches music education and the country’s deeply engrained musical traditions have been upheld for centuries, creating one of the most culturally educated populations in the world. When we founded the Riga Jurmala Music Festival, we had a specific long-term vision. We wanted to create a unique platform in Latvia providing young talent from all over the Baltics and beyond with the best opportunities to work with the world’s greatest musicians, as well as deepen their cultural understanding and foster cultural exchange. I truly believe the Academy will achieve all of this and more and am thrilled that we can introduce this initiative in our 2020 season.”

The course is set to include lessons and masterclasses in piano, strings and woodwind led by pianists András Schiff (July 11) and Leif Ove Andsnes (30 August) and the leading musicians of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (17-21 July) – Tobias Steymans and Julita Smoleń (principal violins), Lionel Cottet (principal cello), Philippe Boucly (principal flute), Natalie Schwaabe (principal piccolo flute).

We’re delighted that these great musicians and international stars are engaging in the spirit of Latvia’s artistic excellence, providing a wonderful new platform for deserving musicians to further develop their craft with these musical masters,” added Toms Ostrovskis, Director of the Riga Jurmala Academy.

To commemorate the late Mariss Jansons, who was born in Riga and was the Chief Conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra from 2003 until his passing, Riga Jurmala Academy will organize a conducting masterclass featuring Manfred Honeck.

Application process

Applications are open today Friday 21 February to advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students with performance experience. The application process involves sending a performance video, photos and a biography. Applications close on 10 May 2020, and successful applicants will be informed after a short selection process.

Every participant in the programme will receive one-on-one lessons with the professors of their masterclass, as well as have access to the other masterclasses and workshops.

All participants will also be invited to the concerts of the Riga Jurmala Music Festival, where they will have the chance to watch their mentors perform in a professional setting before a live audience. They will also be invited to the artist meet-and-greet sessions and special guest receptions.

A certain number of scholarships of up to €300 will be available, covering travel and subsistence costs.

Latvia is well-known for its high-calibre music education. Boasting a network of 120 state-funded music schools all over the country, 1 in 12 children in Latvia attends a specialist music institution and one third of the country’s culture budget goes to education. It is no surprise therefore that Latvia, with a population of fewer than 2 million people, has produced a remarkable number of leading conductors and classical musicians, including Mariss Jansons, Andris Nelsons, Elīna Garanča, Kristīne Opolais, Gidon Kremer, Baiba Skride and Mischa Maisky, to name just a few.

In 2019, the Riga Jurmala Music Festival launched its inaugural season with 20 symphonic and chamber music concerts scheduled across four musical weekends. Around 15 500 visitors gathered in Riga and Jurmala from 50 countries, including the UK, Germany, Japan, Argentina, Israel, Mexico, Thailand and Australia. Over four weekends, more than 450 musicians — four of the world’s best orchestras conducted by top conductors (Zubin Mehta with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Mikhail Pletnev with the Russian National Orchestra, Gianandrea Noseda with the London Symphony Orchestra and Susanna Mälkki with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra), as well as brilliant soloists of different generations — came to perform in Riga and Jūrmala.

For further information and the 2020 programme visit www.riga-jurmala.com

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