News from Latvia

Summer workshops - 2013 in Dobele (Latvia)

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Gunta Melbārde, 28.08.2013

Dobele-2013-1-previewThe latest event that had been fostered for a long time in the framework of Foundation "We Play Music with friends" activities were the first Summer workshops - 2013 for young chamber musicians. The event took place from August 19 to 25, near Dobele, in a lovely 3-storey rural guest house "Ausātas". Surrounded by a quiet forest, on the shore of a small lake, far from the city crowds and noise... Conditions both for living and playing music were close to ideal. This summer camp was attended by 36 young chamber musicians (including the chamber orchestra Armonico) and 8 teachers: Professor Petras Kunca from Lithuania and 7 teachers from Latvia. Intensive music lessons were held the whole week. The sunny weather really made us glad. When it was too hot for the orchestra to rehearse in the hall, they continued playing music on the 2nd floor terrace, close to the nature with great views of the lovely surroundings. The orchestral group work led by violinist Dace Upatniece and cellist Reinis Melbārdis was also held both indoors and outdoors.

Dobele-2013-2-previewThe culmination of the camp was two concerts: on August 23 - chamber music concert in Dobele music school. Before the concert, prof. P. Kunca and G. Melbārde held four open master-classes for Dobele teachers (with 2 chamber ensembles, a violinist from Limbaži and a pianist from Jāzeps Mediņš 1st Music School of Riga). We had staged a varied program for the concert with musical performances by the young musicians and workshop leaders. Finally the dream of the string quartet came true thanks to the enormous amount of work and love invested by prof. Petras Kunca. At the concert, they were playing with a true passion and on a superb artistic level, receiving the acclamation of the audience. On August 24, youth chamber orchestra Armonico, led by conductor Normunds Dreģis, performed at Dobele Lutheran Church. After the concert they received the enthusiastic reviews of the audience.

Our Foundation had made sure that the free time in the summer camp would be substantively filled: there were both attractive morning exercises in the green meadow and trips to special places - Pokaiņu forest and ancient Castle ruins of Dobele. A family of white swans was nesting in our lake, adding a romantic accent to the beautiful landscape. On August 22 we watched with delight a wonderful full moon night from the second-floor terrace. For sport - swimming in the lake, from which our "mermaids" came out with white water lilies in their hair... We also played volleyball, chess, and games of Alias on the first floor terrace until late at night. We should not forget the Evening circles around the fire with the interesting and exciting conversations! After the last concert the landlady of "Ausātas", Vineta, surprised us before the rich feast with an opportunity to enjoy the spirit and delights of real rural bathhouse.

Dobele-2013-3-previewStudents and workshop leaders received certificates for active participation in the activities of this lovely, unforgettable week. At the end of the camp we were cheered up with variety of witty diplomas, noting each participant's creative nature and characteristics with friendly humour.

We thanked Māra Rozentāle, director of Dobele music school, for creative collaboration both in the camp preparation period and thereafter. We particularly thanked cook Aija Cimmermane for the delicious and abundant meals four times a day. Our driver Ēriks, who masterfully guided us through all the routes, often to please the whims of musicians to deviate from the route, deserves particularly kind words of appreciation.

The summer workshops for young chamber musicians will be held hereafter every year at the end of the summer break. These workshops will be international, as we will invite our friends from other countries and other Latvian music schools. See you next year!