MĀRIS SIRMAIS is one of the most important names in the world of choral music. He is a pillar and guide for the Latvian choir culture, and a voice respected by thousands of participants in the Song Festival, as well as by professional musicians. He has been the artistic director of the State Choir Latvija since 1997. Sirmais also helped foster one of Latvia’s brightest cultural symbols – the Youth Choir Kamēr..., of which he was senior conductor from its founding in 1990 and until 2012. He is head of the Department of Choral Conducting and professor at the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music, and has served as a member of the jury for international choir and choral conductor competitions. He is also a recipient of the Order of the Three Stars, an honorary member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, and recipient of numerous titles and awards for his cultural achievements and for the popularization of Latvia throughout the world. Sirmais regularly performs with the various professional orchestras in Latvia, and has conducted such collectives as Kremerata Baltica, the Umeå Symphony Orchestra, the Helsinki Strings, and the Evgeny Svetlanov State Academic Symphony Orchestra. He has also collaborated with world renown soloists, including Maxim Rysanov, Kristīna Blaumane, Egils Siliņš, Aleksandrs Antoņenko, Julius Berger, Gidons Krēmers, Nicolas Altstaedt, Douglas Webster, Inese Galante among others.