January 25, 2021

From Bach to Brahms: This Week, Public Masterclass with World-Famous Baritone Benjamin Appl and Latvian Vocalists

On January 27th, as part of the Rīga Jūrmala Academy’s online masterclasses, local vocalists—students of the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music—will develop their singing skills with Benjamin Appl, one of the current generation’s brightest chamber singers. Viewers can watch the masterclasses at 5 p.m. through the Academy Facebook page.


Benjamin Appl

Taking part in the masterclasses will be Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music students Ilze Grēvele-Skaraine (R. Kandalincevs’ class/accompanist I. Puriņa), who will be performing Agathe’s prayer from Der Freischütz (C.M. von Weber) and the soprano aria Ich folge dir gleichfalls from the St. John Passion (J.S. Bach), and Sniedze Kaņepe (doc. A.Rūrāne’s class/accompanist V. Rinkule), who will be performing Dalila’s aria Printemps qui commence… from Samson et Dalila (C. Saint-Saëns) and Azucena’s aria Stride la vampa… from The Troubadour (G. Verdi).

Ilze Grēvele-Skaraine, JVLMA
(R. Kandalincevs’ class/accompanist I. Puriņa)

Sniedze Kaņepe, JVLMA
(doc. A.Rūrāne’s class/accompanist V. Rinkule)

Viewers will also be able to hear Daniils Kuzmins (doc. K.Norvelis’ class/accompanist L. Tīrele) with Zueignung (R. Strauss), Du bist die Ruh (F. Schubert) and Feldeinsamkeit (J. Brahms), as well as Viktorija Pakalniece (doc. A.Rūrāne’s class/accompanist V. Rinkule), who will perform Ave Maria (J.S. Bach/Ch. Gounod) and Violetta’s aria E strano… from La Traviata.

Daniils Kuzmins, JVLMA
(doc. K.Norvelis’ class/accompanist L. Tīrele)

Viktorija Pakalniece, JVLMA
(doc. A.Rūrāne’s class/accompanist V. Rinkule)

We are extremely pleased that there is an opportunity for some of our department’s students to take part in these masterclasses. We can’t wait, and are interested to see what they will bring. It was not easy to select these students, as our department has many able, talented students who want to become better educated and are able to work hard. After intense discussions, the department teachers selected students who represented different voice groups to ensure that the masterclasses are interesting to as wide a range of viewers as possible. All the active participants in the masterclasses have made significant strides in the vocal arts before this, and we truly hope that these masterclasses will give them energy, encouragement and passion to develop their vocal abilities and musical achievements,” according to Doc. Aira Rūrāne, JVLMA Head of the Vocal Department.

About artist

Benjamin Appl is described as ‘the current front-runner in the new generation of Lieder singers’ (Gramophone Magazine, UK). He had the good fortune to be mentored by one of the greatest singers of the twentieth century, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau—Appl was his last student.

Appl enjoys performing in operas and oratorios, but the highly polished solo songs of the German romantics are particularly special to him: “When I sang in the boys’ choir, my vocal teacher introduced me to a German song which I liked even then. I would sing it often with my grandfather. I have a similar personal link with many songs. I am truly lucky to have grown up with this tradition, this music. I think it is this special link that I want to reveal to the public when I sing.”

He trained as a chorister at the renowned Regensburger Domspatzen and continued his studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München and graduated from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, where he now teaches German Lieder. In 2016, he won Gramophone Award Young Artist of the Year, and was a member of the BBC New Generation Artist scheme from 2014-16. He became an exclusive SONY Classical recording artist in May 2016. Appl gave up a career in finance to become a musician.

He made his BBC Proms debut in September 2015 singing Brahms’ Triumphlied and Orff’s Carmina Burana. Appl has performed at the Banff Festival, the Aldeburgh and Brighton Festivals, as well as in performances at Berlin’s Deutsche Staatsoper and London’s Classical Opera Company. He is equally drawn to both classical (Purcell, Mozart, Puccini) and contemporary music (Britten, Eötvös, Gander). He has also partnered with the Hamburg Ballet, singing for new productions by John Neumeier.