Latvian National Symphony Orchestra
The Latvian National Symphony Orchestra (LNSO) is one of the cornerstones of Latvian national culture, a team of highly professional musicians with strong traditions, a generous sound and a dedicated performance style. Its repertoire consists largely of orchestral masterpieces from the 19th and 20th centuries and classical as well as contemporary works by Latvian composers. The LNSO’s mission is to bring outstanding performances of classical and contemporary music from around the world to Latvian audiences and introduce audiences abroad to the treasures of Latvian music.
One of the LNSO’s priorities is attracting young listeners with modern, creative educational programmes. Since 2015, it has also held the LNSO Summer Festival for families and friends in late August at various regional acoustic concert halls in Latvia.
The LNSO is a six-time winner of the Latvian Grand Music Award, the country’s highest state honour in music (1993, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2016, 2019).
Since November 2013, the artistic director and principal conductor of the LNSO has been Andris Poga, who is also in demand at top European, Chinese and Japanese orchestras. Since its founding in 1926 (when it was known as the Latvian Radiophone Orchestra), the orchestra has been led by artistic directors and conductors Arvīds Pārups, Jānis Mediņš, Leonīds Vīgners, Edgars Tons, Vassily Sinaisky (LNSO honorary guest conductor since 2017), Paul Mägi, Terje Mikkelsen, Olari Elts and Karel Mark Chichon. Its guest conductors have included renowned Latvians Arvīds Jansons, Mariss Jansons and Andris Nelsons as well as Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi, Kirill Kondrashin, Valery Gergiev, Kurt Masur, Krzysztof Penderecki, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Yevgeny Svetlanov, Yuri Simonov and many others.
In the past decade, the LNSO has performed at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, the the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and the Philharmonie in Paris, the Grand Théâtre de Provence in Aix-en-Provence and many other notable European concert halls. The orchestra has participated in music festivals in France, Germany and Switzerland as well as the renowned Bratislava Music Festival. On its most recent tours, the LNSO teamed up with violinist Baiba Skride, cellist Alexander Knyazev and pianists Nicholas Angelich, Boris Berezovsky, Lukas Geniušas and Lucas Debargue. In Latvia, the orchestra regularly performs with leading local soloists such as pianists Elīna Bērtiņa, Daumants Liepiņš, Vestards Šimkus and Reinis Zariņš; violinists Kristīne Balanas, Eva Bindere, Vineta Sareika and Georg Sarkisjan; cellists Kristīne Blaumane and Kristaps Bergs; organist Iveta Apkalna and others.
The LNSO plays a vital role in the development of Latvian symphonic music. It has premiered countless works by the country’s most illustrious composers of symphonic music (Jānis Ivanovs, Ādolfs Skulte, Artūrs Grīnups, Romualds Kalsons, Imants Kalniņš, Pēteris Plakidis) and also encourages and supports younger composers in their work and creative experiments. Several composers have even stepped on the conductor’s podium themselves: not only the above-mentioned Jānis Mediņš but also Jānis Ivanovs, Romualds Kalsons and Gundaris Pone. Recently, composer Andris Vecumnieks has very successfully directed and conducted the orchestra’s educational programmes.