"When composing a work, I give myself over to the temptation of the creative process – a journey, whose twisting roads persistently, but convincingly, bring me to the final sounds of the score. And only then do I exhale."
Ēriks Ešenvalds was born in Priekule, Latvia in 1977. He studied at the Priekule School of Music and the Liepāja First Secondary School, and then at the Latvian Baptist Theological Seminary. He received his Bachelor’s (2002) and Master’s (2004) degrees in composition from the Latvian Academy of Music, studying with Selga Mence. Ēriks Ešenvalds has participated in festivals and master classes throughout Europe, studying under Richard Danielpour, Michael Finnissy, Guy Reibel, Marek Kopelent, Klaus Huber, Richard Ayres, Jonathan Harvey, Phillippe Manoury, Ole Lützow-Holm, Nils Henrik Asheim, and many others. He is a former Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts at Trinity College, Cambridge University (2011–2013). He is a recipient of the Jāzeps Vītols Scholarship (1999, 2002), as well as scholarships from the Vernisāža Musical Centre (2002), the Latvian Creative Fund (2002), and the Latvian Ministry of Culture (2003, 2004).
Among Ešenvalds‘ awards and recognitions are an Honourable Mention from the International Clarinet Association competition in Miami, USA for Iespaidi Sāremā (Impressions of Saaremaa), and first place in the Young Composers Category of the 2006 International Rostrum for Composers Competition for Légende de la femme emmurée. In 2005 and 2007, he received the Latvian Great Music Award, as well as the AKKA/LAA Copyrights Infinity Award (2006, 2014), and the 2007 Culture Award from the newspaper Diena. In 2010, he received recognition and honors in the United Kingdom and the United States (British Composer Awards nomination, and the Philadelphia Inquirer award for best new composer). The choir music CDs O Salutaris (2012) and At the Foot of the Sky (2013) received the Latvian Music Recording Award in the category Best Academic Music Album.
He has been a member of the Latvian Composers’ Union since 2002. He has worked as a teacher in the Riga 31st Secondary School. He is a former singer in the State Choir Latvija (2002–2011). His works have been performed at innumerable music festivals on all inhabited continents. The composer speaks to the listeners in a language, which combines a mass appeal with modern music characteristics and the newest compositional techniques.
Even though his creative work covers a broad spectrum of genres, recently choir music has been in the foreground. In the field of choir music, Ēriks Ešenvalds is among the most renowned of Latvian composers in the world.
Lolita Fūrmane, Guntars Pupa, Mārīte Dombrovska
Photo - Aivars Krastiņš © LMIC