The unique amber sound of the Orchestra has originated in a unique place at the Baltic Sea – in Liepāja.

Stars Festival will be opened by Apkalna, Krenberga and Zariņš

The opening concert of the 25th International Liepāja Stars Festival on 3 March at Concert Hall "GREAT AMBER" is going to be especially impressive ‒ Liepāja Symphony Orchestra conducted by Atvars Lakstīgala will be joined by 8 outstanding Latvian soloists with Iveta Apkalna, Dita Krenberga and Reinis Zariņš among them. The programme will feature the premiere of the 12th Liepāja Concerto for Piano and Orchestra by Artūrs Maskats.

The festival will be opened by Iveta Apkalna, locally and internationally renowned solo organist, who has just participated at Elbphilharmonie Opening Concert in Hamburg and is now the Elbphilharmonie's Titular Organist. Iveta Apkalna will begin the concert with Samuel Barber's Toccata Festiva for organ and orchestra. The 15 minutes-long opus was written in 1960 by the well-known contemporary composer to a special request and dedicated to the new organ of Philadelphia’s Academy of Music. Toccata Festiva was designed to display the wide expressive range of the new instrument as well as the virtuosity of the Philadelphia Orchestra, which premiered this magnificent music that has earned its permanent place in the repertoire of organ music.

The concert will continue with music of Latvian composers. One of them will be Pēteris Vasks' Flute Concerto, which in collaboration with German record label “Wergo” was recorded by Liepāja Symphony Orchestra under Atvars Lakstīgala with Dita Krenberga playing the flute solo. The CD was released in the second half of last year and has been nominated for the Latvian Music Records Award “Golden Microphone”. The flute solo with Liepāja Symphony Orchestra at the opening concert will once again be played by Dita Krenberga who once said that “Pēteris Vasks’ Concerto for Flute is the composer’s most complicated opus for flute. The music is so deep and saturated. For a musician it is spiritually and physically demanding. The recording with Liepāja Symphony Orchestra is a great challenge and responsibility for me.” The music was written and dedicated to German flutist Michael Faust, who premiered it with Cologne Symphony Orchestra in Cologne Philharmonic Hall in 2009. The main theme of the composition, characteristic to Vasks’ style, has ties to ethnic motifs and nature. Melodious first and third movements frame the active, virtuoso and burlesque second movement.

The festival opening concert will also feature the world premiere of Artūrs Maskats' Liepāja concerto No.12 for Piano and Orchestra. Piano solo will be played by one of the currently world-acclaimed Latvian pianists Reinis Zariņš, for whom this work was written. It is a 25 minutes long concerto consisting of various contrasting movements, sudden changes of expression and energy. “I am fascinated by Reinis Zariņš’ excellent mastery of pianism – deep, heartfelt and always very personal interpretation of music, spiritual subtlety without theatrical affectation nevertheless distinctly romantic,” Artūrs Maskats comments his choice of pianist.

The concert will close with Pēteris Plakidis’ “Interplay”, Concerto for Group of Soloists and Orchestra. The piece was written in 1977 when composer was 30 and embodies the mentality of Latvian folk songs in orchestral music − an unusual concert where five soloists will be performing not only on the stage but also each of them in a different place in the concert hall. It will be like an interplay of sounds of nature, where Artūrs Šults with French horn, Egils Upatnieks with oboe, Guntis Kuzma with clarinet, Miks Vilsons with flute and Anete Toča with piccolo flute will play with each other and also with the orchestra.

The Festival programme will comprise 4 diverse concerts. On 11 March the festival audience will have a chance to enjoy Italian jazz music performed by Kekko Fornarelli Jazz Trio, on 16 March the stage will be taken by Klaipeda Chamber Orchestra and Baroque virtuoso as well as countertenor Dmitry Sinkovsky from Russia, on 24 March Liepāja Symphony Orchestra will perform with three internationally acclaimed musical stars − Ukrainian violist and conductor Maxim Rysanov, Russian violinist Sergei Dogadin and Lithuanian cellist and conductor David Geringas. On 31 March the Gala concert of the 25th Liepāja International Stars Festival will feature Latvian National Symphony Orchestra and Russian pianist Dmitry Masleev.

Tickets to the 25th Liepāja International Stars Festival, ozganized by Liepāja Symphony Orchestra can be purchased at all Box Offices of "Biļešu paradīze” and at www.bilesuparadize.lv.

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