Daumants Kalniņš is a singer and oboist performing jazz, pop and classical music. He began his education at the Riga Cathedral Choir School and later graduated from the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music, where he studied oboe performance and jazz voice. He began his professional solo career at age nine, when he played the musical genius Mozart in a performance of The Magic Flute at the Latvian National Opera. He was later involved in a number of other performances produced by the Latvian National Opera.
Kalniņš has collaborated with Raimonds Pauls, the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra RIGA, the Latvian Radio Choir, the Jelgava Big Band and other leading musicians and bands in Latvia and abroad, including the United States, Japan and India.
For his role as Quasimodo in the operatic melodrama Notre-Dame de Paris (by Zigmars Liepiņš) Kalniņš won the Latvian Annual Theatre Award for best debut performance and was also nominated in the Best Debut category at the Latvian Great Music Awards in 2012. He has also proved himself a skillful actor and singer in the theatre production of Zoya’s Apartment (Zoykina kvartira) at the Valmiera Drama Theatre and in his performance as the poet in the oratorio The Poet and the Mermaid (Dzejnieks un nāra) by Imants Kalniņš and Imants Ziedonis at the Daile Music Hall in 2015.
Kalniņš has won a number of other awards, including the Grand Prix at the Nõmme Jazz 2010 festival (Estonia), first prize in the Jazz Voices 2009 competition (Lithuania), and the Grand Prix at Riga Jazz Stage 2015. In 2016 he was nominated for the Latvian Great Music Award for his outstanding achievements.
In addition to playing oboe in the Latvian National Opera Orchestra, Kalniņš leads a jazz quintet, with which he released the album Part of Me in 2016. The following year the quintet recorded the concert programme Sirdsprieks featuring poems by Fricis Bārda, which was nominated for the Annual Latvian Music Recording Awards in 2018 in the category Best Jazz Album. The album Kamēr vien gliemeži skrien (2016), which features songs by Imants Kalniņš, is the result of a collaboration between Kalniņš and the guitarist Kaspars Zemītis.
Anete Ašmane © LMIC, 2018