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5. February, 2020

The Grand Concert of Latvian Symphonic Music took place on January 25th in Riga’s Great Guild Concert hall featuring all four Latvian professional symphony orchestras. Works by Jānis Mediņš, Arturs Maskats, Platon Buravicky, Marģeris Zariņš and a world premiere of “Plūsma” by Rolands Kronlaks were performed to an enthusiastic audience. The performance was broadcast live by Latvian Radio 3 Klasika.

Jānis Mediņš Symphonic poem “The Blue Mountain”
Arturs Maskats Liepaja concerto No. 12 for piano and orchestra
Platon Buravicky Concerto for saxophone and chamber orchestra
Rolands Kronlaks Premiere
Marģeris Zariņš Suite for piano and orchestra “Greek Vases”

Latvian National Symphony Orchestra
and conductor Guntis Kuzma

Liepaja Symphony Orchestra
and conductor Atvars Lakstīgala

Latvian National Opera Orchestra
and conductor Mārtiņš Ozoliņš

State Chamber orchestra Sinfonietta Riga
and conductor Normunds Šnē

Reinis Zariņš, piano
Vestards Šimkus, piano
Aigars Raumanis, saxophone


The Latvian Symphonic Music Grand Concert has been an enduring part of the Latvian concert scene for 15 years. The tradition that started in 2005 continued this winter as well bring together the professional symphonic orchestras of Latvia, resound with the music of Latvian authors and showcase a new piece written especially for this event. 

The concert began with The Latvian National Opera symphony orchestra and its chief conductor Mārtiņš Ozoliņš performing the symphonic image “Zilais kalns” (The Blue Mountain) composed in 1924  – one of the first pieces of this genre in Latvian music, authored by the prominent symphonist Jānis Mediņš (1890-1966) whose 130th birthday will be celebrated in Latvia in 2020. 

Sinfonietta Rīga and its artistic director Normunds Šnē and the up-and-coming saxophone star Aigars Raumanis followed by recently premiered Concerto for Saxophone and Chamber Orchestra “Temperature of Plastics”. Its author, advocate for aggressive beauty Platons Buravickis (1989) describes it as “a cry of nature’s soul and industrial production manifesto.” 

The Liepāja Symphony orchestra brought to Riga Arturs Maskats’ (1957) Liepāja concerto No. 12 for Piano and Orchestra, which has been dedicated to the pianist Reinis Zariņš and, as in its premiere three years ago, the soloist of the concerto was Zariņš himelf together with conductor Atvars Lakstīgala. The imagery of the opus is saturated with motives of the genius Spanish poet Federico García Lorca, contemplating the Andalusian natural peculiarities and the passionate relationships of its people.

Marģeris Zariņš (1910-1993) has also found his inspiration in foreign cultures – his suite Grieķu Vāzes (Greek Vases) for piano and symphony orchestra joins the antique and folk-related, even some specks of the impressionistic, and the characteristic witticisms of the composer. This impressive composition was rediscovered by the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, entrusting the piano solo to Vestards Šimkus. 

The LNSO together with conductor Guntis Kuzma is also responsible for the biggest intrigue of the concert programme – the world premiere of the new work Plūsma (Flow). Its author Rolands Kronlaks (1973) is known in the Latvian concert scene as a specialist of electro-acoustic music and author of striking chamber pieces, making his return to the orchestral scope a long-awaited event. The basis of Kronlaks’ piece is the architecture of sonic pulsation, he investigates the sonic flow and its elemental nature – how it accelerates and relaxes, ebbs and flows, thickens and thins, and influences our perception.