June 17, 2019

Festival Labelled New and Excellent

NRA.lv: This summer, a new, world-class symphony orchestra festival, the RĪGA JŪRMALA Festival, will take place in Latvia. The festival’s opening season will run over four weekends, from July 19th to September 1st, with concerts taking place at the Latvian National Opera, the Great and Small Halls of the Dzintari Concert Hall, as well as the Great Guild. Executive Director of the festival, Zane, Čulkstēna, tells us more.

The first one!

The RĪGA JŪRMALA Music Festival is planned as Northern Europe’s most significant annual cultural event. And the first year is the most important to ensure that the event becomes an “Event” with a capital letter. The festival organisers have accented musicians whose names can be seen on the posters for the world’s most prestigious concerts, but who have only rarely or never been to Latvia. The summer will be full of new discoveries!

Classical music in the best concert halls

The RĪGA JŪRMALA Music Festival will take place at some of Riga and Jūrmala’s architectural gems: the Latvian National Opera, the Great Guild, and the summer season’s most in-demand venue, the Great and Small Halls of the Dzintari Concert Hall. With one of the most beautiful beaches in the Baltics, the sounds of the pine forest, and the colours of Latvian nature, an unforgettable atmosphere awaits visitors.

Nature and classical music

Latvia – the original natural gem – is definitely worth exploring! 12,000 rivers, 500 kilometers of sandy beaches, and half of the area of Latvia is forested! One of the festival locations – Jūrmala – has a 24-kilometer beach and untouched pine forest. Dzintari Concert Hall audience members gain an unforgettable experience, where Baltic nature, beautiful sunsets, sea melodies and music mingle. Every concert is unique!


Four amazing groups at the top of world orchestral playing will visit Latvia in the space of one summer for exclusive concerts! Pride of Latvia, maestro Mariss Jansons, and his Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra; the legendary Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in one of their last concerts together (the conductor will leave his job as Artistic Director of the IPO this autumn after 50 years!); Mikhail Pletnev and the Russian National Orchestra; as well as the British rebels and trailblazers Gianandrea Noseda and the London Symphony Orchestra.

Why a new festival?

The festival was created as part of a private initiative based on pride in a country which has produced so many internationally-recognised talents! A country with a population of less than 2 million has created such modern stars as Mariss Jansons, Andris Nelsons, Gidon Kremer, Mischa Maisky, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Elīna Garanča, Marina Rebeka, among others. On the other hand, Latvia is a country with the most refined singing tradition in Europe – every five years, more than 15,000 choir singers gather from all areas of Latvia for a monumental concert in the capital city. This is a great basis for a new, ambitious musical event which aims to become the most significant cultural tourism destination in Northern Europe!

Four in one

The festival is comprised of four mini festival series: four summer weekends, five concerts each, and at the heart of each weekend is one excellent symphonic music heavyweight – a symphony orchestra. Gourmet food-lovers and those who like to discover new things will particularly like our daytime concerts which will feature those named by the musical press as future stars.

Visiting the Baltic region for the first time!


World’s top Beethoven expert and face of Deutsche Grammophon’s Beethoven anniversary year, Rudolf Buchbinder; the pianist, showwoman and charismatic virtuoso Yuja Wang; South Korean idol and winner of the Chopin competition Seong-Jin Cho; young, emotive pianist and intellectual Jan Lisiecki; American piano star Murray Perahia!


Youngest winner of the Eurovision competition and the youngest soloist to ever perform with the Vienna Philharmonic, now an in-demand soloist and professor Julian Rachlin; Siberian native and gold medal-winner of many competitions Vadim Repin.


One of the best tenors of our time, Grammy nominee, Malta native with a golden-age voice and honeyed tone Joseph Calleja. China’s nightingale Ying Fang, who glitters on the stages of the world’s most prestigious opera houses. Benjamin Appl – an unsurpassed chamber singer.