August 20, 2019

Riga Jurmala Music Festival to Continue This Week with Five Exceptional Concerts: Mehta, the Israel Philharmonic, Perahia, Lisiecki, Wang, Kozhukhin, Conunova

This week, from August 23rd to 25th, the new Riga Jurmala Music Festival continues with five excellent concerts at the Great and Small Halls of the Dzintari Concert Hall. Performing at the third weekend of the festival will be young pianist Jan Lisiecki (23.08), the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and legendary conductor Zubin Mehta (24. and 25.08), world-famous pianists Murray Perahia (24.08) and Yuja Wang (25.08), in addition to chamber performances by pianist Denis Kozhukhin (24.08) and violinist Alexandra Conunova (25.08).

The goal of the Riga Jurmala Music Festival is to become one of the world’s leading classical music events, offering a mix of top artists and repertoire not just to local Latvian music lovers, but also to an international audience.

Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

On August 24th and 25th, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO), conducted by Zubin Mehta, will give two concerts at the Dzintari Concert Hall. On the first night, they will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with legendary pianist Murray Perahia at the piano, as well as Mahler’s Symphony No. 1. On the second evening, the audience will be able to hear Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with one of the most vibrant of the new generation of pianists, Yuja Wang, as well as Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique.

Since it was founded, the IPO has claimed a stable spot among the world’s top orchestras, and they regularly perform in the world’s most prestigious concert halls and festivals. The orchestra was founded in 1936 by great violinist Bronisław Huberman, while the orchestra was conducted in its inaugural concert by the 20th century legend Maestro Arturo Toscanini. In 1969, Maestro Zubin Mehta was appointed Musical Advisor to the orchestra, becoming its Artistic Director in 1977. Meanwhile, world-famous American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein was made Conductor Laureate in 1988. In 1992, Maestro Kurt Masur was named Honorary Guest Conductor, while in 2011 Gianandrea Noseda became Head Guest Conductor. This year, conductor Zubin Mehta will say his goodbye to the orchestra, making the concerts in Jūrmala truly historic! 

Pianist Murray Perahia will visit Latvia for the first time, but for many generations of pianists he has offered the benchmark of performance: often listened to, marveled at and imitated. Alongside Zubin Mehta and his orchestra, the pianist will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, a piece which sparkles with the spirit of improvisation and a completely free and exciting musical direction, in which silence plays almost as important a role as sound. Next-generation pianist Yuja Wang’s playing is characterised by “technical ease, colouristic range and sheer power [which] has always been remarkable … but these days there is an ever-greater depth to her musicianship, drawing you into the world of each composer with compelling immediacy,” wrote the Financial Times a year ago.

IPO performs Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 under the leadership of Zubin Mehta


pianist Yuja Wan

Jan Lisiecki

On August 23rd at 19:00, in the Small Hall of the Dzintari Concert Hall, pianist Jan Lisiecki will perform solo piano pieces by Bach, Chopin, Schumann, Ravel and Rachmaninoff. The New York Times describes him as “a pianist who makes every note count.” Jan himself says: “Going into a concert hall should be like going into a sanctuary. You’re there to have a moment of reflection, hopefully leaving feeling different, refreshed and inspired”. The past few years have brought Lisiecki together with the Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, London Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Symphony, Staatskapelle Dresden, Zurich Chamber Orchestra and others. He has collaborated with Vladimir Jurowski, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Antonio Pappano, Daniel Harding and other conductors. Lisiecki’s musical insight unites zeal, skill, enthusiasm and a realistic vision of a musician’s career.

Jan Lisiecki performs Chopin’s Andante Spinato

Denis Kozhukhin

On August 24th at 14:00, in the Small Hall of the Dzintari Concert Hall, pianist Denis Kozhukhin, who can safely be called one of the best pianists of his generation, will give a solo concert. His playing is characterised by sensitivity, complete engrossment in the message of the music, and crystal-clear technique. Critics, praising his playing, use words such as “captivating,” “compelling,” “fascinating”. And also powerful. Listening to him play is said to be an opportunity to experience the most deliberate, sensitive and purposeful piano playing of our time. A diamond of piano playing polished by the masters: teacher Dmitri Bashkirov and mentor Daniel Barenboim. His concert will feature the piano music of Mendelssohn, Grieg and Gershwin. 

Denis Kozhukhin performing Prokofiev’s Precipitato


Alexandra Conunova & Denis Kozhukhin

On August 25th at 14:00, in the Small Hall of the Dzintari Concert Hall, violinist Alexandra Conunova and pianist Denis Kozhukhin will perform Poulenc and Strauss’ sonatas for violin and piano. The duet between Conunova and Kozhukhin is the magnetic attraction of two polar opposites – in Conunova’s hands, her 18th century Guarneri ‘del Gesù’ instrument becomes a nuanced, deeply considered conversation leader, whose conversation partner is Kozhukhin’s piano playing – passionate, with the conviction that the instrument has no boundaries.

Conunova performs Wieniawski’s Scherzo Tarantelle

The festival will continue with the London Symphony Orchestra and Gianandrea Noseda (30. and 31.08). The soloists form a constellation of the brightest stars: violinist Vadim Repin (31.08), pianist Seong-Jin Cho (30.08), soprano Ying Fang (31.08), cellist Edgar Moreau (01.09) and pianist Lucas Debargue (01.09).