The Art-i-Shock trio is one of the most accomplished and original Latvian chamber ensembles. Since its inception in 2011, Art-i-Shock has consisted of three superb musicians: pianist Agnese Egliņa, percussionist Elīna Endzele and cellist Guna Šnē.
“The name of the ensemble contains references to striving towards musical perfection and a desire to surprise and please listeners as well as sometimes also provoke them in a friendly way. A refined sense of humour, an element of play and creative shock as the starting point for creativity and self-discovery,” say the members about their trio.
When they began playing together in 2011, there were no scores written for their combination of instruments. Since then, however, almost twenty Latvian composers have written works for the three musicians, including compositions to be performed together with a symphony orchestra, a choir and just as unusual an ensemble as Altera Veritas. Needless to say, composers have readily confirmed: “Art-i-Shock is a discovery for any composer.” Platons Buravickis, to whom these words are attributed, is joined in this sentiment by the other composers who have written for Art-i-Shock: Santa Bušs, Rihards Dubra, Andris Dzenītis, Marina Gribinčika, Juris Karlsons, Agneta Krilova, Sabīne Ķezbere, Jānis Ķirsis, Linda Leimane, Jānis Lūsēns, Arturs Maskats, Jēkabs Nīmanis, Georgs Pelēcis, Kristaps Pētersons, Santa Ratniece, Evija Skuķe, Gundega Šmite and Andris Vecumnieks.
In 2016, as the trio marked its fifth anniversary, it celebrated not only with the usual round of new compositions. The celebration culminated with the trio’s participation in Euroradio’s Christmas marathon of live performances, in which Latvijas Radio 3 Klasika broadcast Art-i-Shock’s concert to radio stations in twenty-two Euroradio member countries, with colleagues from abroad expressing praise of the trio’s performance.
Likewise in 2016, Art-i-Shock received a nomination for the Latvian Grand Music Award for best chamber performance over the course of the year. That same year, a Latvian Grand Music Award went to Juris Karlsons’ Concerto for piano, cello, percussion and symphony orchestra, a work that was inspired by Art-i-Shock. The Latvian Grand Music Award holds even more special significance for the trio. In 2010, all three musicians – Agnese Egliņa, Guna Šnē and Elīna Endzele – were nominated for the Latvian Great Music Award for best work in an ensemble, but each for a different ensemble. They met for the first time at the awards ceremony on the Latvian National Opera stage, where they performed Astor Piazzolla’s Milonga de la Anunciación. Egliņa won the award that year, but the three young women decided to turn this first, chance meeting on stage into a regular occurrence, thus establishing Art-i-Shock.
In 2017, the trio served as the ensemble in residence at Latvijas Radio 3 Klasika, performing several live concerts in the Latvijas Radio studio, expanding its repertoire with new compositions by Santa Ratniece, Georgs Pelēcis and Arturs Maskats, and also recording its first album, which Latvijas Radio 3 Klasika released in collaboration with the national record label Skani. This album received the “Zelta Mikrofons” Annual Latvian Music Recording Industry Award for academic music album of the year.
In the summer of 2018, Art-i-Shock served as the ensemble in residence at the 13th Young Musician Masterclasses in Sigulda, Latvia. The trio was the ensemble in residence at the Dzintari Concert Hall in Jūrmala during the 2018/2019 season.
In addition to compositions written specially for Art-i-Shock, the ensemble also plays its own arrangements of music as well as arrangements prepared by others. Its repertoire covers a timeline stretching from the Middle Ages to the present day.
The trio performs in Riga and throughout Latvia but has also performed in Norway, Estonia, Lithuania, Albania and Gibraltar. It has taken part in the Arena and Latvian New Music Days contemporary music festivals; the Riga Festival; the Sansusī, Dominante and European Christmas festivals; Percussion Ukmergė (Lithuania) and the European Forum on Music. The trio has collaborated with the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, the Liepāja Symphony Orchestra and the Sinfonia Concertante chamber orchestra, with which, under the direction of conductors Andris Poga, Ainārs Rubiķis and Atvars Lakstīgala, it has performed the triple concerti written by composers Andris Vecumnieks and Juris Karlsons and dedicated to the trio.
In addition to comprehensive information about compositions dedicated to the trio and a listing of its upcoming performances, the Art-i-Shock website also includes sincere thoughts and tidbits (sometimes even advice) from the three musicians regarding the creative process, composers they have met, musicians they have worked with and simply life in the trio.