Joining forces with the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music in Riga and Toms Ostrovskis, the head of its Performing Arts Department, the Riga Jurmala Music Festival announced that its education programme – the Riga Jurmala Academy – would debut in 2020 with masterclasses led by soloists and orchestra musicians
The traditional format is the masterclass, a lesson between the professor and the student that is observed by an audience. A Festival offers the student a rare chance to work with a master and to also see them perform.
Starting 2020 when travel and physical contact were forbidden, physical masterclasses were replaced by a remote, digital experience, and the Riga Jurmala Academy’s series of online masterclasses was born and held throughout the year.
Since the first event in April 2020, 28 artists have taught 104 students from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia in front of a cumulative audience of over 100,000 people. Professors have included strings and winds soloists from the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Concertgebouworkest and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; pianists Leif Ove Andsnes and Yefim Bronfman; violinist Renaud Capuçon; cellists Mischa Maisky and Gautier Capuçon; singers Benjamin Appl, Joseph Calleja, Alice Coote and Olga Peretyatko; and guitarist MILOŠ.
In the Summer 2021, continuing the Riga Jurmala Festival’s academic development work, in-person masterclasses were organised. The masterclasses featured young, talented musicians and were led by pianist András Schiff, cellist Mischa Maisky, soprano Renée Fleming, and pianists Leif Ove Andsnes and Yefim Bronfman.