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Nicholas Altstaedt

German/French cellist Nicolas Altstaedt is a versatile artist being equally at home at performing on period instruments, the classical repertoire and commissioning new music.  Nicolas was one of Boris Pergamenschikow's last students in Berlin, where he continued his studies with Eberhard Feltz.
After having won several international competitions and a "Borletti Buitoni Trust Fellowship" in 2009, he was awarded the Credit Suisse Young Artist Award 2010 as part of which he performed with the Vienna Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel at the Lucerne Festival. As a BBC New Generation Artist 2010-2012 he has performed with all BBC Orchestras, at the Proms and the Wigmore Hall. In 2012 Nicolas has been chosen by Gidon Kremer to become his successor as the new artistic director of the Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival. Since then the Festival has also been touring and performing at venues like Mozarteum Salzburg, Wiener Konzerthaus, Musikverein Graz and the Concertgebouw Amsterdam.

Art-i-Schock

There was a time when Agnese, Guna and Elina all attended the same music school in Riga, nearly in the same class.  Interestingly, they first began to perform together only nine years after graduation.  Four years ago, at the Great Music Prize ceremony, all three of them were nominated individually in the category “Pretty Good Work in All Kinds of Ensembles.”  Agnese took the top prize, while Guna received a prize from an Internet vote.  Who can remember all of that?  El?na is delighted about the awards that her colleagues received, and her gift was joy at the success of the others.  And yet all three young women had loved playing together, and that was the evening when the ensemble was born.  Piano, cello and percussion – there were few scores for that particular assemblage of instruments, though a few valuable opuses were found.  Instead, the girls made use of their charm and charisma, thus inspiring our own country’s beloved composers to come up with music for them to play.  Ten compositions have been the result so far, including a concerto for the trio and an orchestra, as well as several arrangements specifically for the ensemble.

The name Art-i-Shock is based on a dinner that vegetarian Guna once had.  Cucumbers, onions, garlic, broccoli, artichokes – oh, yeah!  Artichokes!  Art and shock, the shock being the starting point for new ideas.  The artichoke is a vegetable that resembles a green pine cone or a thorny cauliflower.  Basically it is an enormous thistle.  The taste is rather inexpressive, but the artichoke itself is said to be an aphrodisiac.  And old belief holds that women who want sons must eat artichokes.

Guntars Freibergs

Guntars Freibergs studied in the Emils Darzinš Music School and later on, due to a successful participation in the Nutcracker International Television Contest for Young Musicians completion in Moscow, he finished Moscow Central School of Music. After that he started his journey in the best percussion music schools of Europe. He studied in the Conservatory of Strasbourg (France), Royal Conservatory of Brussels (Belgium) and in 2014 he got his master’s degree in the Anton Bruckner University of Linz (Austria). He has won various prizes in many international percussion competitions, such as 2nd prise at International Marimba Competition in Salzburg (Austria), Grand-Prix at Fermo Percussion Competition, and recently, he has won 1st prize in the international percussion competition in Ukmerge, (Lithuania). He has a solo performance experience, with many orchestras, such as chamber orchestras "Musica Viva" (Moscow), "Deutsche Kammer Akademie Neuss am Rhein" (Germany) and "Sinfonietta Riga" (Latvia), as well as with symphonic orchestras Plovdiva Philharmonic Orchester (Bulgaria) and Symphonic orchestra of Latvian National Opera (Latvia). Guntars also has been given solo recitals in the most of European countries. In 2011 he was nominated for The Grand Music Award in Latvia.
Today he is actively participating and often organising various music events. In 2014 together with his colleagues he founded percussion ensemble “Perpetuum Ritmico” with idea to realize even more percussion projects.

Anastasija Kadiša

Anastasija Kadiša (*1985) has been born in Jurmala, Latvia. She began her musical career as a pianist graduated from the Jurmala Music High School by Maija Berzina and Irene Štrause. Later she turned to composition, conducting and music pedagogy graduating from the Jazeps Vitols Music academy of Latvia by Juris Karlsons. She enriched her knowledge in composition and music theatre by Krzysytof Meyer and Johannes Fritsch at the Cologne University of Music and Theatre (Germany). The strong will to develop skills in contemporary music and electronic composition has lead her to the Music Academy of Basel city where she studied by Balz Trümpy, Georg Friedrich Haas, Caspar Johannes Walter and Erik Oña obtaining a Master degree. At the moment she is developing her skills in multimedial composition and art - performance at the Academy of Art and Design Basel.

Anastasija's compositions have been played in different contemporary music festivals such as: Latvijas Jaunas Muzikas Dienas (Latvia), Viliaus Veidai (Lithuania), Brücken, Donaueschinger Musiktage, SWR Schwetzinger Festspiele (Germany), New Music Days (Rome, Italy), electronic music festival d'Bâle (Switzerland), art performance festival ACT' 15 (Switzerland) etc. 2007 she has been awarded the Olgerts Ziverss piano prize, but since 2011 she is a member of the Latvian Composer's Union.

Brother and Sister Liepini

Sister and brother- violinist Madara Liepina and pianist Daumants Liepinš- come from a family of musicians going back many generations.
Daumants Liepinš is a first year piano student under Arnis Zandmanis at the Jazeps Vitols Latvian Academy of Music, before which he studied the piano at the Emils Darzinš Music Secondary School under Ligita Muižaraja. Daumants has participated in several international competitions and festivals in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Russia and Armenia, gaining 3rd place in 2007 and 2nd place and a special award for the best performance of a L. van Beethoven sonata in 2009 at the International Music Competition for Young People in Oldenburg, Germany, and gained 1st place in 2014 at the Inese Galante’s Talents competition.
Madara Liepina is studying the violin at the Jazeps Vitols Latvian Academy of Music under Sanda Šteinberga. In different musical ensembles Madara has participated in international competitions, festivals and projects in Latvia, Estonia, Germany, Russia, Sweden and Armenia. She is the laureate of several important competitions, including 1st place in the XVII International Young Musician’s Competition ‘’Sigulda’’ (2007), 1st place in the Latvian Music Schools String Department Students’ State Competition (2008).

JVLMA Mixed Choir

JVLMA Mixed Choir was founded in year 1945 and initially served as a laboratory of vocal art and conducting technique for young conductors who later used their acquired skills in practice with their own youth and adult amateur choirs. Regular work at the rehearsals during the academic year provides the foundation for mastering the skills of singing and conducting. To ensure the best available musical education and artistic practice, JVLMA provides an opportunity for students to participate in various masterclasses, given by specialists of diverse fields of music. In 2006 JVLMA Mixed Choir participated in masterclasses of Erik van Nevel and Evelyn Tubb. During the last year the Choir mastered nuances of Swedish choir music interpretation under the leadership of Per Burin. JVLMA Mixed Choir often performs in Latvia and abroad, providing an opportunity for their audiences to enjoy choral music of various epochs, styles and genres. Choir also participates in international festivals and competitions. From 1992 to 2005 JVLMA Mixed Choir has participated in 27 projects of European Choir Academy, presenting diverse repertoire in Germany, Poland, Sweden, Greece and USA under the leadership of Silvian Camberling and Michael Gielen. Under the baton of its former leader Ints Teterovskis JVLMA Mixed Choir has won prizes in two world famous competitions of choral music: in 2006 the Grand Prix at the 8th International Choir Music Competition in Maribor (Slovenia) and in 2007 the Grand Prix in all four categories at 39th International Choir Music Competition in Tolosa (Spain). In 2008 JVLMA Mixed Choir fought for the title of the Best European Choir in European Choral Music Great Prize competition in Debrecen (Hungary). Artistic director – Maris Sirmais, Conductor – Janis Baltinš

Janis Liepinš

With a bright two- part concert, in which G. Puccini’s ‘’Messa di Gloria’’ was performed alongside a choral a cappella section, with the Liepaja Symphony Orchestra, soloists Aleksandrs Antonenko and Janis Apeinis, and the youth choir Kamer taking part, Janis Liepinš gained his bachelor’s degree in choral conducting from the Jazeps Vitols Latvian Academy of Music, from where he will also finish his studies in symphony orchestra conducting this summer. Since 2012 Janis Liepinš has been the artistic director and principal conductor of Kamer. Under the leadership of their new conductor they achieved two wins and the Grand Prix at the Bela Bartok International Choir Competition, as well as the right to compete with Europe’s best choirs in Arezzo, Italy in 2013, where the choir won the European Grand Prix. Recognising these achievements, as well as his successful debut concerts with the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, the Liepaja Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonietta Riga, Janis Liepinš won the Grand Music Award ‘’New Artist of the Year 2013’’ prize. 

The Saxophone Quartet

The saxophone quartet was formed by bringing together four creative burgeoning performers. Each of these musicians has gained experience in different masterclasses and concerts not only in Latvia, but also in the rest of the world. This saxophone quartet has also participated in the chamber ensemble competition organised by the Jazeps Vitols Latvian Academy of Music, where they came third, and also performed well at the Brotherhood of Blackheads Chamber Ensemble Concert- Competition. The soprano and alto saxophone is played by Edgars Trapans. (Currently in his second year at the Academy of Music, studying under Arvids Kazlausks, he has participated in various international competitions- Saxophonia, Josip Nochta Saxophone Competition- where he has won prizes.)
The alto and soprano saxophone is played by Katrina Kivleniece. (Currently in her fourth year at the Academy of Music, studying under Artis Simanis. Katrina has taken part in several international competitions (Saxophonia) where she has won prizes, as well as playing in different groups, for example, playing in a duet with an organ etc.)
The tenor saxophone is played by Gundars Kokins. (Currently in his second year at the Academy of Music, studying under Artis Simanis. He has played in several chamber ensembles and orchestras, as well as participating in international competitions (Josip Nochta Saxophone Competition, Italian Young Musician Competion) where he has won prizes.)
The baritone saxophone is played by Viesturs Celms. (Currently in his second year at the Academy of Music, studying under Arvids Kazlausks. Viesturs has also participated and won prizes in several international competitions- Josip Nochta Saxophone Competition, Saxophonia.)
All the saxophonists have also participated in the international chamber ensemble competition Musica Aquarelle in Lithuania, where they won 2nd place.