About the Festival

The Riga Jurmala Music Festival remains a singular one in the landscape of Europe’s summer classical music festivals. It is composed of weekends anchored around a visiting international symphonic orchestra and its music director. The weekends are scheduled between early July and September.

The orchestra performs two different programmes with outstanding soloists, while the third evening is devoted to a recital or chamber music. Noon recitals on the weekend dates feature up-and-coming as well as established artists. The repertoire focuses primarily on the core classical music canon.

After the inaugural year, the Riga Jurmala Music Festival has arguably marked its territory on the map of summer festivals*. One reason is that few festivals can invite so many distinguished international symphonic orchestras each season. The other may be the Festival team’s innovation, as evidenced by its creative responses to the pandemic: Musical Soirées, the Riga Jurmala Academy, a documentary with a new perspective on the life of conductor Mariss Jansons.

* The Festival was included in British newspaper The Telegraph’s top 10 summer festivals, in addition to gaining a prestigious EFFE Label from the European Festivals Association.

Festival History

The Riga Jurmala Music Festival is based on the traditions of the Baltic Musical Seasons concert series, which aimed to introduce Latvian and international music lovers to the world’s best classical musicians. The concert series was founded under the initiative of several Latvian business owners.


In 2021 Riga Jurmala Music Festival featured 21 symphony and chamber music concerts which were attended by more than 15,100 visitors from 30 countries, including Germany, France, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Lithuania, Estonia, Norway and others.

Under the leadership of John Eliot Gardiner and with performances by pianists Yuja Wang and András Schiff, the 2021 summer season was opened by the newly formed Mariss Jansons Festival Orchestra, which united leading musicians from the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. The musicians joined forces to replace the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and honour the memory of Latvian conductor Mariss Jansons. That weekend also saw special daytime concerts by British vocal group The King’s Singers, Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson, and baritone Matthias Goerne. Other three weekends presented a diverse selection of the world’s renowned orchestras and artists, including Concertgebouworkest and Daniel Harding, soprano Renée Fleming, pianists Yefim Bronfman, Daumants Liepiņš, Alexandre Kantorow, Leif Ove Andsnes, Kristine Opolais and pianist Agnese Eglina as well as Mischa Maisky, Daniel Lozakovich and Mikhal Pletnev, Arcadi Volodos and Yoav Levanon.

The season 2021 was concluded with special performances from the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra for a rare performance outside of their hometown under the baton of Latvian native Andris Nelsons and joined by soloists Christine Goerke, Klaus Florian Vogt and Günther Groissböck, and pianist Mao Fujita.


Four world-class orchestras had been planned for the second season of the festival: the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra with their new Artistic Director Lahav Shani; the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Manfred Honeck; the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra and its long-serving Artistic Director Yuri Temirkanov; and the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy. For its second season, the festival began a new initiative: music masterclasses in collaboration with the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music in which emerging talents from Latvia and abroad could develop their skills under the tutelage of world-famous performers. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the festival season was postponed to the following year, while the educational programme gained a new format, offering Latvian and Baltic students online masterclasses. Meanwhile, audiences could listen to the programmes which had been planned to be performed, played during the festival’s specially-organised Musical Soirees.


The new, world-class Riga Jurmala Music Festival took place for the first time in Latvia with performances by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Russian National Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra, as well as the top current soloists: Vadim Repin (violin), Yuja Wang (piano), Julian Rachlin (violin), Mischa Maisky (cello), Seong-Jin Cho (piano), Jan Lisiecki (piano), Rudolf Buchbinder (piano) and others. The festival was visited by 15,500 audience members from 50 different countries. The festival was included in British newspaper The Telegraph’s top 10 summer festivals, in addition to gaining a prestigious EFFE Label from the European Festivals Association.


The Dzintari Concert Hall presented concerts by world-class stars. Actor John Malkovich, tenor Juan Diego Flórez, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra with Elīna Garanča, cellist Mischa Maisky, Antonio Pappano and the Orchestra of the National Academy of Santa Cecilia, and pianist Denis Matsuev all performed in Jurmala.


The Dzintari Concert Hall was visited by world-famous conductor Riccardo Muti and his Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini, opera singers Elīna Garanča and Hibla Gerzmava, Denis Matsuev, Lawrence Brownlee, Sarah Coburn, Kristīne Opolais, Pavel Černoch, Joshua Bell and Chris Botti. The Artistic Director of Baltic Musical Seasons was Andrejs Žagars.