New initiatives announced: Riga Jurmala Academy Online; Televised Tribute to Mariss Jansons

Riga, Wednesday 13 May 2020

The Board of Trustees of the Riga Jurmala Music Festival today announced the decision to suspend the Riga Jurmala Music Festival until 2021. Although the Board and the entire festival team remained optimistic until the last moment that all or some of the planned events could proceed this summer, the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Latvian Government’s guidelines led to the regrettable decision of cancelling the events planned for this year. The Board deemed that any other course of action would have presented too great a risk to the health and safety of the festival’s audiences, artists and staff.

Confident that it will be able to resume its activities in 2021, the Riga Jurmala Musical Festival team will now focus on finalizing next year’s programme, which will likely include some of the artists scheduled to appear this summer.  The Festival will announce the 2021 programme shortly after the summer.

The Board is pleased to share some new initiatives developed by the Festival’s team during these unsettled times. 

Online Riga Jurmala Academy.  As part of its commitment to supporting and nurturing young talent, the Riga Jurmala Music Festival intended to unveil the Riga Jurmala Academy this summer, in collaboration with the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music. The team recently introduced an Online Riga Jurmala Academy to provide unique artistic development opportunities for young and talented musicians from the Baltics and abroad.  Working remotely, the Academy will pair them with world-renowned artists who have already appeared at or were scheduled to perform at the festival.  After the success of the first master classes featuring principals from the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (flautist Natalie Schwaabe and cellist Lionel Cottet), the Academy is rolling out a series of new ones that will be announced shortly. World-renowned Latvian cellist Mischa Maisky, who took part in the 2019 Festival, has already confirmed his involvement with the Academy this summer.

Televised Tribute to Mariss Jansons.  The world lost one of the greatest musicians of all time when the Latvian conductor Mariss Jansons passed away on November 30 of last year. To commemorate Mariss Jansons’ legacy, the Festival is planning on recording a special program for international television broadcast. Although the project is in its early stages, the four orchestras that Mariss Jansons led as music director or chief conductor – the Oslo Philharmonic, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Royal Concertgebouw and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra – have already agreed in principle to participate in the project. More details about the project will follow at a later stage.

“Even though cancelling the Festival’s second season has not been an easy decision, it is the right thing to do in these very unfortunate circumstances. On behalf of the whole team, we once again pay our biggest respects to all of the wonderful orchestras, conductors and soloists who were committed to the Festival’s ambition – to become a truly extraordinary classical music destination in Northern Europe,” says Zane Culkstena, CEO of Riga Jurmala Music Festival.

“Nonetheless, we are keeping a forward-looking view and hope that our new initiatives – Online Music Academy and televised audio-visual tribute to Mariss Jansons – will only widen the number of our Festival’s friends and followers, who will join us next summer in Riga and Jurmala,” Culkstena adds.

Martin T:son Engstroem, Artistic Director of the Riga Jurmala Music Festival, said: “While we are naturally sorry not to be welcoming our musical partners and visitors to Riga and Jurmala this year, we are busy finalising the plans for the 2021 Festival. Such is the enthusiasm of our various partners we will be able to announce the 2021 Festival’s programme shortly after the summer. Just as we did last year, we will welcome some of the world’s greatest orchestras, conductors and soloists in idyllic surroundings and appreciative audiences unique to Latvia.”

Ticket holders will be contacted by the Festival’s organizers for the reimbursement of their tickets. 

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