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.

The 15th International Academic Music Competition in Jūrmala 2014

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Competition takes place in three different categories:

  1. Piano duet (four hands (one or two pianos)
  2. Chamber ensemble (ensemble with pianos: duet, trio, quartet and quintet)
  3. Mix ensemble (combination till eight participants)

Age limit:

  • Group A – 15 to 19 year olds (inclusive)
  • Group B – 20 to 25 year olds (inclusive)

Duration of the programme:

  • Group A – from 20 to 30 minutes
  • Group B – from 30 to 40 minutes

More information & application form >>

Full report on the The 10th International Latvian Young Musicians’ Masterclasses in Sigulda (Latvia) by Dace Aperāne

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Sigulda-previewThe main theme of this 10th edition of the Internaitonal Latvian Young Musicians’ Masterclasses was New Dimensions in Music, and took place from July 14 – 23 in the spacious and welcoming Sigulda Arts School. To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the master classes, which have taken place biannually in Latvia since 1994, 16 concerts took place in Riga, the Sigulda Castle chamber music hall and the beautiful White Grand Piano Concert Hall. Dr. Ingrīda Gutberga (USA) and Normunds Vīksne (vice-rector of Academic Work at the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music) were the directors of the master classes. Dace Aperāne (USA) was the artistic director and Guntars Zvejnieks (director of the Sigulda Arts School) was the administrator of the master classes.

We Play Music with Friends - 10th Anniversary

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We Play Music with Friends celebrates the 10th anniversary of its annual Festival/Competition for young performers. For complete information about this year's events:

6th issue of e-journal "We Play Music With Friends"

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The 6th issue of the e-journal of “We Play Music with Friends” will be coming out at the beginning of March. Articles will include an Artistic Portrait in honor of Professor Petras Kunca, Professor at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre and Board member of ECMTA.

V Chamber Music Festival FESTARI in Riga

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V Chamber Music Festival "FESTARI" was held in Riga November 17th -19th, 2011.

Next FESTARI Chamber Music Festival will be held in early November 2012 in Tartu, Estonia.

Results of the Jurmala Competition

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Results of Jurmala 2011 CHAMBER MUSIC, the 12th Competition in Academic Music

The event was a complete success. The 12th Competition in Academic Music Jurmala 2011 CHAMBER MUSIC was held in Jurmala Music Secondary School, with the support of Jurmala Municipality, the State Fund for Culture Capital, SEB Bank, Jurmala Music Secondary School and the Concert Agency „Mūza”. The international jury was presided by Prof. Alexander Bonduryansky (Russia). Other members of the jury were: violinist Anna Vayman (USA), viola player Tim Frederiksen (Denmark) and pianists Natalia Sakkos (Estonia), Normunds Viksne, Janis Maleckis and Gunta Sproge (Latvia).

We Play Music With Friends

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E-Newsletter No. 5 from the “We Play Music With Friends” Foundation is now online:

Articles by Daiva Stulgyte, Composer Gundega Smite, Juta Berzina, Pille Taniloo, Alexander Kulikov, Evan Rothstein, and Carsten Dürer.

Read the Newsletter >>

The complete text of Gunta Sproge’s conference from the Chamber Music Pedagogy Round table at the ECMTA annual meeting in Rome

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Upgrade of the professional level of teachers of chamber music in

The Latvian academy of music named after Jazep Vitola, on the International master courses of the Latvian young musicians and «Winter master classes for Chamber ensemble teachers

«We play music together with friends»

In this report the basic attention is given to possibilities of improvement the qualification of the chamber ensemble teachers in the Latvian academy of music named after Jazep Vitola (LMA), and behind. The chamber ensemble Department was created in 1959. Its founder, the professor and composer Janis Kepitis (1908-1989) lead it till 1981, later this duty carried out prof. Dajna Vilipa, and since 1991 and on the present time the Dean of the Department is prof. Gunta Sproge. On this Department, which is called since 2002 “Department of chamber ensemble and piano accompaniment”, we have well prepared teachers, who not only continue working, but also develop the traditions, which were set up in the Latvian state conservatory of Jazep Vitola (nowadays music academy, LMA), in State musical college named after Gnessin (nowadays the Russian academy of music named after Gnessin. Prof. Gunta Sproge and prof. Aldis Liepinsh finished Post-graduate course in a class of the prof. George Fedorenko), St.-Petersburg state conservatory named after N.A.Rimsky-Korsakov (Prof. Janis Maletskis finished Post-graduate course in a class of prof. Tamara Fidler) and the Moscow state conservatory named after P.I.Tchaikovsky (Inese Milzaraya finished Post-graduate course in a class of prof. Marina Jashvili). Now we try not only to save these traditions, but also to develop, creating new contacts to foreign musical high schools.

Newsletter 4 from the “We Play Music With Friends” Foundation in Riga is now online in Latvian, Russian, and English

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 Articles include the complete text of Gunta Melbarde’s conference at the ECMTA annual meeting in Rome, as well as articles by Hans Erik Deckart, Gunta Sproge, Alexander Kulikov, and Anneli Kuusk.



  • Practical Advice After a Chamber Ensemble Competition
  • Professor Gunta Sproge, Jazeps Vitols Latvian Academy of Music,
  • Head of chamber ensemble and piano accompaniment department


  • Chamber Music as Training in Musical Teamwork
  • Professor Hans Erik Deckert, Hamburg/Germany and Copenhagen/Denmark


  • Chamber music for young musicians
  • Anneli Kuusk, teacher of Heino Eller Music School in Tartu/Estonia


  • About romanticism. Piano trio op. 49 d-moll by F. Mendelssohn
  • Alexander Kulikov, teacher of Musical Institute Kungsvegen in Espoo/Finland


  • Teaching musicians to teach chamber music
  • Gunta Melbarde, teacher of Jazeps Medi_š Riga 1st Music School


  • Festivals, Contests, New Music for the Chamber

Winter Masterclasses in Riga

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A Report from Project manager Gunta Melbarde

The Foundation We play music with friends (Rīga, Latvia), in co-operation with Jāzeps Mediņš Riga 1st music school, organised a 3-day Winter masterclasses for chamber ensemble teachers January 7-9, 2011. Invited to lead master classes were: Professors Petras Kunca (violinist, Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, Department of chamber music), and Alexander Kulikov (violinist, Kungsvägen Music Institute in Espoo, Finland), Juta Bērziņa (cellist, P. Jurjāns music school in Riga), and Inga Grīnvalde (flutist, Jāzeps Mediņš Riga 1st music school). 46 teachers from Latvia and Lithuania attended, as well as ECMTA Chairman Evan Rothstein, and 17 participating student ensembles came from all around the country. ECMTA is proud to be an official partner of the “We Play Music With Friends” Winter Masterclasses.

nl5_masterclasses-in-riga1 nl5_masterclasses-in-riga3

12th International Academic Music Competition JURMALA 2011 for Chamber Music

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May 24th – 28th 2011

For Piano duet, Chamber ensemble with piano (duos, trios, quartet and quintet), Mixed ensembles (up to eight musicians). For musicians aged 15-19 (Group A) and 20 to 25 (Group B). Application Deadline April 15th.