In November 2010 the State Choir “Latvija” made its debut in New York (USA) with three concerts at the White Light Festival organised by Lincoln Centre. The New York Times in several of its reviews characterised the Choir’s sound as „exquisite, beautiful and magnificent”.
At present the choir is in high demand among choirs in Europe and has given over twenty concerts abroad in 2010, including some of the most prestigious concert halls (Amsterdam Concertgebouw; Hamburg Laeiszhalle; Lucerne concert hall; Igor Stravinsky Hall in Montreux and others).
In 2012 the choir is to celebrate its 70th anniversary. The choir is a five-time receiver of the Great Music Award of Latvia (in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2009 and 2010) and in 2003 the Choir was presented with the Award of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia. In 2007 it was given the Award of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia.
Since 1997 the artistic director and chief conductor of the choir is Maris Sirmais and general manager is Maris Oslejs.
In recent years, the choir has co-operated with the leading symphonic orchestras of Europe - The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and The London Philharmonic Orchestra. Also choir has co-operated with orchestras from Germany, Finland, Singapore, Israel, USA, Estonia, Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Chamber Orchestra of Gustav Mahler and also with the prominent conductors Mariss Jansons, Andris Nelsons, Neeme Järvi, Pavo Järvi, Kristian Järvi, David Zinman, Vladimir Jurowski, Valery Gergiev, Zubin Mehta, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Tõnu Kaljuste ,Simone Young and many others.
Choir “Latvija” has collaborated with musicians such as vocalist Elīna Garanča, Angela Brown , Alexander Antonenko; and violoncellists Ivan Monighetti, Patrick Demenga etc.
The choir is a universal collective. Its repertoire is based on golden pieces from 18th – 20th century European classical music but that permanently adds to its repertoire innovative compositions of various genres, starting with film music records - Perfume (Original Soundtrack) EMI Classics and ending with vocal-instrumental world first performances of “Credo” by Kjartan Sveinson in New-York in November 2010. In September 2007 at Bremen Music Festival the Choir Latvija together with conductor Tõnu Kaljuste and the Bremen Symphonic Orchestra participated in world premiere of Russian Requiem by Lera Auerbach.
MOST SIGNIFICANT CONCERTS AND RECORDS OF RECENT YEARS
September of 2011 choir debut in Brusels, in Centre for Fine Arts, where had performance together with The London Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Vladimir Jurowski.
March 2011 - two debut concerts with Royal Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra performing Mahler's 8th Symphony. Conductor Mariss Jansons
November 2010 – three debut concerts at White Light Festival organised by Linkoln Centre (New York), including the project with musicians of Icelandic group Sigur Ros participating in world premiere of Kjartan Sveinson composition Credo and Jonsi & Aleks album Riceboy Sleeps composition transcriptions for choir and symphonic orchestra. Positive reviews of this concert were published both in “The New York Times” and “The Rolling Stone”.
In September 2010 the choir Latvija made its debut at Montreux Festival that in collaboration with maestro of Lucerne Festival under leadership of David Zinman organised magnificent concert performance of Arnold Schoenberg Songs of Gurre concert performance at both festivals. This was the second participation of the choir at Lucerne festival.
In March 2009 the choir Latvija made its debut at Lucerne festival, in July - at the largest music event of Germany – Reingauh festival - the choir performed The Sealed Angel by Rodion Shchedrin. After this concert Rodion Shchedrin said, that the choir is the best in the world.
In May 2010 the record company WERGO issued this concert record on CD. In September the choir performed in Season opening concert of Hamburg Symphonic Orchestra in Laeiszhalle and at Berlin Music Festival.
In September 2008 - debut of the hoir Latvija in concert hall Finlandia. In collaboration with Helsinki Symphonic Orchestra and conductor John Storgårds the choir Latvija participated in first performance of concert opera by Rodion Shchedrin The enchanted Wanderer (2002) in Scandinavia in concert hall Finlandia in Helsinki on 11 September.
In February 2008 the choir Latvija participated in world first performance of Arvo Pärt composition Deer’s Cry in Ireland in the concert “Baltic voices”. In this concert also compositions by Rihards Dubra Hail To The Queen of Heaven and Georgs Pelecis Blood Upon A Rose were performed for the first time
In the year 2007 the 10th International Festival of Sacred Music organised by the choir Latvija was widely celebrated. At this festival should be specifically mentioned the first performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass in Latvia.
State Choir Latvija has participated in recording of music for the film Das Parfum. In September 2006 this film music was issued by EMI Classics CD with the name Perfume (Original Soundtrack). In recording of this soundtrack participated also Berliner Philharmoniķer with the conductor Sir Simon Rattle. Choir has participated in records produced by Warner Brothers, Harmonia Mundi record companies, and in countless music records of Latvian, German, Belgian and other countries’ brands and publishers’ recordings.
In June 2005, the choir performed Igor Stravinsky Les Noces in Singapore Arts Festival, as well as gave a solo concert performing a cappella program with the conductor Māris Sirmais. In April 2005, the choir participated in the performance of Luciano Berio Coro in Tallinn (Estonia) concert hall Estonia with the conductor Tonu Kaljuste. In February 2005, the choir performed in the concert of Veljo Tormis music, dedicated to his 75 Jubilee, in Riga Latvian Society house.
In October, November 2004, the choir performed in four European capitals - Paris, Berlin, Stockholm and Tallinn, as well as several other cities. In September 2004, within the 7th International Sacred Music Festival the choir organized and performed in the concert of the world famous composer Ser John Tavener. In May 2004, in Singapore, the choir participated in the first performance of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 8 in South East Asia, with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and conductor Lan Shui. On 1 May 2004, in Ireland, the State Choir Latvija represented Latvian choirs at the European Union enlargement celebration with several concerts organised by the European Union and presented within the cultural program Day of welcomes.
In September 2003, within the 6th International Sacred Music Festival the choir organized and performed in the concert of the world famous Estonian composer Arvo Part in the Riga Dome Cathedral.
2000-2006 in Germany, Austria - participation in XII, XIII, XIV, XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII International Bodensee Festival.