Harpsichord, recorders, electronics, harp, a giant musical dream catcher, a guitar made from skis, sewer pipe trumpets, singing vegetables, spoken word... These original instruments, non-traditional musical ensembles, improvisation, jazz music and many surprises in the world premieres of modern composers' works await in this year's New Music Festival ARENA 2019 which will take place in Riga from 19 October to 2 November.
CONCERT TRIP WITH A TROLLEYBUS will mark the opening of the festival on Saturday, 19 October. With the composer Andris Dzenītis at the wheel, the audience members will travel to see three musical performances.
The first of which will be AIZLIEGTAIS AUGLIS (FORBIDDEN FRUIT) by Elizabete Balčus (flute, vocals, electronics) at 12:30 at “The Mill” club. The artist will unite an ethereal vocal performance with electropop beats and experimental electric dream pop in a free–jazz improvisation, while transforming organic fruits and vegetables into a MIDI synthesiser.
At the same time, (at 12:30) a collective improvisation and meditation event SAPŅU SKAŅU DARBNĪCA (DREAM SOUND WORKSHOP) will take place in Žanis Lipke Memorial, conducted by the composers Jēkabs Nīmanis and Marina Gribinčika, as well as sound architect Maksims Šenteļevs. This creative workshop will take place a second time at 14:30, planned as the second stop for the ARENA trolleybus.
The last stop of the concert trip will be Riga Reformation Church, where the concert AUZIŅŠ, ČUDARS & ARUTYUNYAN. SIRDS KATEDRĀLE (HEART CATHEDRAL) will take place at 17:00. The musical performance will include a new piece by composer Krists Auzenieks (1992) performed by Kārlis Auziņš (saxophone), Matīss Čudars (guitar) and Ivars Arutyunan (drums). The composition consists of four parts, and it draws inspiration from the ideas of major philosophers, including elements of Hermann Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game, values embraced by the Latvian writers Rainis and Aspazija, the philosophical beliefs of Martha Nussbaum, as well as the feelings and associations of the composer himself.
This year’s ARENA programme includes many other premieres of Latvian composers’ works. Two of them – compositions by Santa Bušs and Oskars Herliņš – will be performed by the Austrian chamber ensemble AIRBORNE EXTENDED on 29 October at 19:00 at the Riga Reformation Church. In addition, the ensemble, which is characterised by a unique arrangement of instruments (harp, harpsichord, ten recorders and four flutes), will perform the works of Italian, Irish, Turkish and Chilean contemporary composers.
On 30 October at 19:00, the piano quartet “Quadra” will perform a new composition by Oskars Herliņš, included in the programme ĶENIŅŠ UN QUADRA, which will feature works by the brilliant composer Tālivaldis Ķeniņš, as well as multiple innovative pieces by Italian, English and American composers.
The Latvian audience will appreciate the electric-acoustic concert IMAGE IN SOUND on 2 October at 17:00 at the Riga Reformation Church, where the Polish ensemble Kwartludium will premiere a new composition by Edgars Rubenis.
The brilliant, highly creative and experimental German band ENSEMBLE MOSAIK will provide the opportunity to listen to the newest contemporary music from Sweden, Iran, Italy, Germany and Estonia on 20 October at 17:00 at the Riga Reformation Church.
Meanwhile, on 23 October at 19:00, lovers of music and poetry are invited to the programme DZEJA UN DŽEZS. KLAUSIES. СЛУШАЙ. LISTEN (POETRY AND JAZZ) that will take place in Kalnciems Square. It is an interdisciplinary project during which the poetry of Aleksandra Line will be accompanied by improvised jazz music performed by internationally acclaimed musicians: Artis Orubs (percussions), Toms Mikāls (keyboard instruments, sound effects) and Dominykas Vyšniauskas (wind instruments, Lithuania). This project is unique due to its impromptu character that ensures that no two performances are alike, so the programme never gets old.
ARENA is a contemporary music festival held in concert halls of Latvia every autumn since 2002 to call together composers, performing artists and audience from many countries of the world. The motto of the festival HEAR THE FUTURE! reflects its main idea and objective – to present the diversity of contemporary music in all its magnificence thus encouraging creation of new music, its performance and recording. No doubt, ARENA is one of the most innovative culture events in Latvia without which regular and logical development of contemporary music culture in Latvia would be unthinkable.