Today [12 June 2020] the Riga Jurmala Academy has announced that Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes will be leading an online masterclass next week on 18 June at 5PM (EET), free to watch live online. Young pianists from the Baltic States will receive one-on-one tuition with the pianist, hailed by the New York Times as “a pianist of magisterial elegance, power, and insight”. Andsnes was due to perform at the Riga Jurmala Music Festival this summer, and to teach in the Festival’s Academy. Instead, the tuition will take place online, and will be available to watch live on the Academy’s Facebook page.

This masterclass is one of a series of weekly broadcasts that the Riga Jurmala Academy have been organizing live online. Principal members of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (another ensemble that was due to appear in Riga and Jurmala this summer) have been teaching students in live classes, available to watch back on the Academy’s social media channels. The Academy has also been posting tips from top international musicians, and interviews with the participating students to offer musicians under quarantine advice and information for practicing their instruments at home.

Martin T:Son Engstroem, Artistic Director of the Riga Jurmala Music Festival, said: “I strongly believe that every festival should always aim to educate as well as entertain. For young artists, who will hopefully be performing on our festival stages in the future, masterclasses led by outstanding seasoned artists is an incredible opportunity.  By opening the masterclasses to the public, our audiences can also witness a master sharing his or her know-how and experience with a developing performer. I am convinced that the Riga Jurmala Academy is just the beginning of a parallel chapter to the amazing adventure we began in 2019.”

Fourteen masterclasses have already taken place, offered by musicians from the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra—principal violinists Tobias Steymans and Julita Smolen, principal cellist Lionel Cottet, and piccolo flautist Natalie Schwaabe. Music students from the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music, the Emīls Dārziņš Music School and London’s Guildhall School of Music & Drama participated.

In February of this year, the Riga Jurmala Music Festival announced a new music education initiative – the Riga Jurmala Adacemy. Organised in collaboration with the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music, the country’s centre for excellence in classical music training, the Riga Jurmala Academy will provide unique artistic development opportunities for young and talented musicians from the Baltics and abroad, organizing masterclasses and workshops with selected soloists and orchestra musicians drawn from the Festival roster.

Watch the first masterclasses, including lessons with principal musicians from the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, here. All masterclasses are available to watch live, and on playback, on the Academy’s Facebook page.