Music Director of the Latvian Radio Choir
“A great musical power.”
- Washington Post
“This chorus’s expertise in music pushes voices to extremes, from ethereal high tones to uncannily sustained bass drones.”
- The New York Times
“One of the world’s greatest choirs.”
- The Advertiser
The Latvian Radio Choir is a unique, award-winning ensemble of professional singers that offers its audiences an extraordinary variety of repertoire ranging from early music to the most sophisticated scores of contemporary compositions.
The choir has recorded the Grammy Award-winning album Adam’s Lament (ECM) composed by Arvo Pärt and conducted by Tõnu Kaljuste. It is a repeat winner of the Great Music Award of Latvia (the highest national award for professional achievement in music) and has received the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers Award. The choir’s recording of Sergei Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil was praised by Gramophone as the best recording of February 2013 and ranked among the 25 best albums of the year by the American radio station NPR.
The Latvian Radio Choir has performed at many of the world’s most renowned concert halls: Concertgebouw and Muziekgebouw (the Netherlands), Elbphilharmonie (Germany), Duke University Chapel (USA), Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and Cité de la Musique-Philharmonie de Paris (France), Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center and the Walt Disney Concert Hall (USA), Konzerthaus Berlin (Germany), the Library of Congress (USA), Queen Elizabeth Hall (UK) and the Dresden Frauenkirche (Germany).
It is also a regular performer at leading musical events, such as BBC Proms (UK), the Salzburg (Germany) and Lucerne (Switzerland) festivals, the Festival of Radio France Montpellier (Frane), the Baltic Sea Festival (Sweden), Printemps des arts de Monte-Carlo (Monaco), Klangspuren Festival (Austria), the White Light Festival (USA), Klangvokal Dortmund (Germany), Musikfest Erzgebirge (Germany), OzAsia Festival (Australia) and Soundstreams (Canada). In 2019, the Latvian Radio choir toured Japan and China - two special programmes were performed in Shanghai in October, and in November, the choir's opera NEOARCTIC was premiered in Hong Kong.
Often serving as a creative lab, the choir encourages composers to write new music that challenges the capabilities of a human voice. During the past 20 years, the ensemble has evolved into an unprecedented form of a choir where every singer has an individual mission and provides their unique contribution to the group’s unique, defining blend of timbral qualities.
The choir regularly releases new recordings with Ondine, Hyperion Records, Deutsche Grammophon, ECM, BIS and Naïve, collaborating with a number of outstanding guest conductors, including Heinz Holliger, Riccardo Muti, Riccardo Chailly, Gustavo Dudamel, Lars Ulrik Mortensen, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Peter Phillips. It has also partnered with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Ensemble Intercontemporain, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Camerata Salzburg and Concerto Copenhagen.
The Latvian Radio Choir was founded in 1940 by the legendary Latvian conductor Teodors Kalniņš, who led the ensemble until his passing in 1962. Following the musical direction by Edgars Račevskis (1963–1986) and Juris Kļaviņš (1987 – 1992), the choir has had two conductors ever since 1992 - musical director and principal conductor Sigvards Kļava and conductor Kaspars Putniņš.