Next spring, from 25 February to 11 March, the Liepāja Symphony Orchestra will invite its listeners to the Liepāja International Stars Festival for the 31st time, offering a rich and outstanding journey into the world of music. Tickets for the festival concerts, where music lovers will enjoy symphonic music with brilliant soloists, jazz, Latvian choral music and chamber music, are already available for purchase.
On 25 February for the first time the Liepāja International Stars Festival will be opened by stars whose real brilliance is yet to come – these will be the winners of Valdis Vikmanis’ Latvian Young Players’ Competition. The brightest young musicians from music secondary schools all over Latvia are invited to participate in the competition, by submitting their applications by 1 December.
On such a scale the competition is organized for the first time, however, Liepāja Symphony Orchestra's cooperation with the organizer of the competition, namely, Liepāja Music, Art and Design Secondary School, in developing the talent of young musicians goes back several decades.
The culmination of the opening concert of the Liepāja International Star Festival will be the performance of the globally sought-after Latvian violinist Kristīne Balanas, who will play Antonín Dvořák's Violin Concerto in cooperation with the Liepāja Symphony Orchestra under the direction of the chief conductor Guntis Kuzma.
On 2 March the Riga Chamber Choir “Ave Sol” under the direction of Jurģis Cābulis, who is a representative of the new generation of choir conductors and the chief conductor of the Latvian Song Festival, will play the songs written by the masters of Latvian choral music. Jānis Ivanovs, Jēkabs Jančevskis, Pēteris Plakidis, Pēteris Vasks – music pieces by these great composers will be performed in cooperation with the chamber choir by the musicians of the Liepāja Symphony Orchestra and the owner of a heavenly clear voice – Aleksandra Špicberga.
On 4 March two great masters of modern brass music will take the stage of the Stars Festival. One of them is trumpeter Sergei Nakariakov, who is well-known to Liepāja residents. The other is Christian Lindberg, who is not only a brilliant trombonist, but also a vital conductor and a composer.
At the Stars Festival he will play solo in his own Trombone Concerto “Black Hawk Eagle” and also conduct two other masterpieces: Meczysław Weinberg's Trumpet Concerto full of mystical colours and sudden changes in temperament and Jean Sibelius's popular Symphony No.2.
On 10 March the Stars Festival will delight the audience with a solo concert given by the pianist Vestards Šimkus, where both the fantastic galactic patterns drawn by Alexander Scriabin and the intriguing works of the less known Felix Blumenfeld, will be played.
The closing concert of the Festival on 11 March is going to be a real treat for symphony jazz lovers. The world-famous jazz singer Ola Onabule, who was born in London and educated in Nigeria, will return to Latvia and the audience will have the chance to hear his velvety voice in Liepāja for the first time. He knows how to entwine jazz and soul into a single piece like no one else does, and we will see it for ourselves by listening to a selection from Onabule's latest album “Point Less”.
Furthermore, this evening there is going to be a premiere of the Triple Concerto “Trio Colossus” for tenor saxophone, double bass and percussion by Kārlis Vanags, the artistic director of the Latvian Radio Big Band.
Back in the day the Liepāja International Stars Festival was launched in 1993 by Imants Resnis, the former artistic director of Liepāja Symphony Orchestra, as the International Piano Stars Festival. Around 200 pianists from all over the world have performed at the Festival.
Since 2016, when Liepāja Symphony Orchestra moved into the Concert Hall “Lielais dzintars”, the Festival was relaunched in a wider format, attracting both pianists and exponents of other instruments, as well as excellent singers, so such names as Mischa Maisky, Gidons Krēmers, “Carion Quintet”, Iveta Apkalna, Aleksandrs Antoņenko, Ludmila Monastirska and many more can also be added to the list of stars of the Festival.
The 31st Liepāja International Stars Festival is supported by the Ministry of Culture, Liepāja Municipality and the State Cultural Capital Foundation.
Tickets for the Festival concerts can be purchased at “Biļešu paradīze” ticket offices.