The XV Latvian Song and Dance Festival will highlight the significant contributions made by émigrés from Latvia to the music and culture of Canada with concerts on July 4 at Trinity St. Paul’s United Church, July 5 at Koerner Hall and July 6 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
Concert of Sacred Music
The Concert of Sacred Music at Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church on Thursday, July 4 will feature the State Choir LATVIJA, festival choir and chamber orchestra, under the direction of conductors Māris Sirmais and Brigita Alks.
The program will include the stunning Ave Verum Corpus and Ubi Caritas by Canadian composer Imant Raminsh and the North American premiere of Missa Brevis Latviensis by Canadian composer George Juris Ķeniņš. This work, commissioned by the State Choir LATVIJA in 2017, was first performed by them in Riga, Latvia on August 22, 2017 to great critical acclaim. Dedicated to, and inspired by, the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, it is a significant addition to the catalogue of Canadian sacred choral music.
Other Latvian-Canadian composers on the program include Tālivaldis Ķeniņš, Arvīds Purvs and Ērika Yost, and will also include works by Ella Mačēna (Australia) Brigita Ritmanis, Ādolfs Ābele, Viktors Baštiks (USA) Andrejs Jurjāns, Alfrēds Kalniņš and Ēriks Ešenvalds (Latvia).
Concert of Orchestral and Chamber Music
The Concert of Orchestral and Chamber Music on Friday, July 5 at 4:00 pm in Koerner Hall is presented in partnership with the Toronto Latvian Concert Association and will serve as a launch event for a new Centrediscs recording of music by Latvian-Canadian composers Jānis Kalniņš, Tālivaldis Ķeniņš and Imant Raminsh. Featured artists on the recording and in the concert will be conductor Māris Sirmais, violinist Laura Zariņa, pianist Arthur Ozolins, and members of the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra.
The concert will feature the recently recovered and restored Violin Concerto in F# Minor by Kalniņš, Scherzo concertante by Tālivaldis Ķeniņš, Aria for violin and piano by Imant Raminsh, Overture to Light by Lolita Ritmanis and chamber music performed by additional guest artists flautist Agita Cerusa, cellist Jānis Laurs, pianist Ruta Vaivade and soprano Ilze Paegle.
Always one of the highlights of the festival, the Mass Choir Concert, more than 800 voices strong, will take place on Saturday, July 6 at 3:00 pm in the Mattamy Athletic Centre (formerly Maple Leaf Gardens) and will bring together Latvian choirs from all over the world in a program of Latvian choral favorites and newly commissioned works by young Latvian composers from Canada, the USA, Australia and Latvia.
The Cabaret on Friday, July 5 at our host hotel, the Hilton Toronto on University Ave, will showcase the best of Latvian popular music.
Beginning with a cocktail hour at 9:00 pm, the main program will start at 10:00 pm so that those attending the State Choir LATVIJA concert at Koerner Hall will have plenty of time to arrive and settle in to enjoy a completely different musical experience.
Featured artists include Lolita Ritmane and friends, and Pauls Berkholds from Los Angeles, the Vitols Family and Sandra Kuze from Toronto, the amazing contemporary folk fusion group “Maldugunis” from Boston, jazz greats – flautist Ilona Kudina from Boston, bassist Andrew Downing and drummer Reinis Kravis from Toronto and many more.
Special tributes will be performed honoring Latvian cultural icons Andris Ritmanis and Alberts Legzdins.
The State Choir LATVIJA
The acclaimed State Choir LATVIJA, led by Artistic Director and Conductor Māris Sirmais will perform their Canadian début at Koerner Hall on Friday, July 5 at 7:30 pm. The New York Times has characterized the State Choir LATVIJA’s sound as “exquisite, beautiful and magnificent”. Celebrating its 77th season in 2019, the choir is internationally recognized as one of the best in the world, presenting the unique Latvian choral sound to audiences everywhere. This concert will feature works by Arvo Pärt, Ēriks Ešenvalds, Imant Raminsh, Tālivaldis Ķeniņš, Jānis Kalniņš, Pēteris Vasks, Rihards Dubra, Veljo Tormiss, Vaclovas Augustinas, Eleanor Daley, Eric Whitacre and Morten Lauridsen.
This will be the choir’s first performance as part of a tour produced by Laura Adlers (The Adlers Agency) in partnership with the XV Latvian Song and Dance Festival in Canada (Toronto), Music and Beyond (Ottawa) and the Elora Festival (Elora). This tour is made possible with the support of the Ministry of Culture for Latvia, the LV100 Foundation and the XV Latvian Song and Dance Festival in Canada, who invited the choir to perform at their festival as part of Latvia’s centennial celebrations.