Sigvards Kļava is the artistic director and principal conductor of the Latvian Radio Choir and one of the most prominent conductors, teachers of conducting and producers in Latvia. He has a tremendous capacity for work, is an excellent organiser and an inexhaustible source of ideas, and forever seeks new creative paths. He has also been musically and conceptually active in the field of amateur choirs, having led several outstanding amateur ensembles and later becoming a principal conductor and artistic planner for the Latvian Song Festival.
Kļava has served as the artistic director and principal conductor of the Latvian Radio Choir since 1992, and under his focused direction the choir has become an internationally recognised ensemble that is invited to collaborate with some of the world’s most outstanding musicians and appears at the top music festivals and concert halls.
Kļava’s projects with the Latvian Radio Choir always bear a carefully nurtured message. A few examples have been the beloved "Satikšanās mūzikā" (“Meeting in Music”), "Vakara sarunas Jāņa baznīcā" (“Evening Conversations at St. John’s Church”) and "Nakts lūgšana" (“Night Prayer” ) concert cycles. In 2014, he initiated the "Bahs. Pasija. Rīga" (“Bach. Passion. Riga”) project, through which Johann Sebastian Bach’s Passions were performed in the churches of Riga by the Latvian Radio Choir along with world-renowned interpreters of Baroque music from Latvia and abroad. Kļava has also initiated projects involving representatives from traditional and popular music. He has participated in folklore collection expeditions, during which he studied singing traditions related to folk and sacred music in the Latvian regions of Kurzeme and Latgale. The Latvian Radio Choir’s programmes with music by Imants Kalniņš ("Imants un Ziedonis" (“Imants and Ziedonis”), "Dzejnieks un nāra" (“The Poet and the Mermaid”)) and Arturs Maskats (“Vācietis: Piano Concerto”, “Atlantīda”) have been particular favourites with audiences. Kļava also directed the music for the film "Lāčplēsis" (Bear Slayer) and collaborated on "Rakstītāja" (Writer), a stage production dedicated to poet Broņislava Martuževa.
Kļava has enjoyed a close creative collaboration with many composers abroad as well as with notable Latvian contemporary composers Maija Einfelde, Ēriks Ešenvalds, Arturs Maskats, Kristaps Pētersons, Santa Ratniece, Juris Karlsons, Andrejs Selickis and Pēteris Vasks. His accomplishments can he heard in countless Latvian Radio recordings and on many albums released in Latvia and around the world.
Kļava has won the Latvian Grand Music Award several times. He is also a recipient of the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers Award and the Order of the Three Stars. He has been a principal conductor of the Latvian Song Festival since 1990.
Kļava has conducted at the Concertgebouw and Musiekgebouw in Amsterdam, the Berlin Philharmonic and Konzerthaus Berlin, the Opéra Berlioz in Montpellier, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and Cité de la Musique in Paris, Berwald Hall in Stockholm, the Dresden Frauenkirche, etc. As a guest conductor, he has performed with the Netherlands Radio and Opera Choir, the Netherlands Chamber Choir, Cappella Amsterdam, the RIAS Chamber Choir, the MDR Leipzig Radio Choir and many other fine ensembles. He has served as a jury member for international competitions and participated in various educational projects.
Kļava studied conducting at the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music, the Bachakademie Stuttgart, Oregon Bach Festival masterclasses and the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. He has been a professor of choral conducting at the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music since 2000 and also teaches conducting at the Riga Cathedral Choir School.