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

The 26th Liepāja International Stars Festival begins this week

The 26th Liepāja International Stars Festival is opening on 3 March at the Concert Hall “GREAT AMBER”. The Festival opening concert will present the organiser of the festival Liepāja Symphony Orchestra (LSO) with one of the brightest Latvian pianists Reinis Zariņš and the young, talented cellist from Russia Rustem Khamidullin under the excellent German conductor Lutz Koehler. In turn, on 4 March the Concert Hall named after Dzintars Jurgelaitis will host the concert “The Pianism of Emīls Dārziņš Music School”.


The opening concerts of Liepāja International Stars Festivals have always been vivid musical events, creating the sparkling and festive atmosphere that is maintained throughout all events of the festival. This year will be no exception, in addition, the opening concert and the gala concert will present a closed musical circle. It has to be noted that this will be the first time in the festival’s history when both the opening and the gala concert feature the same piece – Cello Concerto No. 1 in C major by Joseph Haydn. At the opening concert the Vienna Classic masterpiece will be performed by Rustem Khamidullin, whereas at the gala concert the cello solo part will be played by trumpet; the arrangement for trumpet and orchestra will feature Sergei Nakariakov, a Russian musician nicknamed “the trumpet Paganini”.


Uldis Lipskis, LSO Board member for the first time heard Khamidullin, born in Ufa − the capital of Bashkir, last May in Klaipeda, where the cellist gave an outstanding performance at the International Cello Festival earning jury’s appraisal and the LSO award. After the competition, Uldis Lipskis said: “Actually after Rustem Khamidullin’s performance there was no alternative left. His excellent technique, nuanced phrasing and stage charisma are the virtues which accompanied by our “amber” orchestra will enchant the audience in Liepāja and elsewhere in Latvia.

Until 1961, Joseph Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1 in C major for cello and orchestra was presumed lost, however, musicologist Oldrich Pulkert discovered a copy of the score at the Prague National Museum. Though there have been some doubts about the authenticity of the work, most experts agree that Haydn did in fact compose this concerto. 


Reinis Zariņš is a laureate of eleven international competitions, and has participated in a number of international music festivals. As a solo pianist and chamber musician, he has performed on both sides of the Atlantic and in South Africa, collaborating with symphony orchestras of Europe, Russia and USA in such venues as Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Weill Hall of Carnegie Hall, New York Steinway Hall, London Wigmore Hall, St Petersburg Glazunov Hall etc.

Most possibly a few days after the concerts in Liepāja Reinis Zariņš will become a winner of the Latvian Great Music Award – this year he has been nominated in six categories including the category “Concert of the Year” for the performance at the opening concert of Liepāja International Stars Festival in 2017. 


This year the pianist will perform Piano Concerto No. 3 in E major by Hungarian composer Bela Bartok. The name of the Hungarian composer, pianist, pedagogue and ethnomusicologist is one of most well known in the music history of the first half of the 20th century, however this particular music Bartok wrote in 1945, during the final months of his life. He did not complete the orchestration of the last 17 measures and the work was finished by his friend, composer Tibor Serly.

The second part of the concert will feature Antonin Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 – a sun-filled and optimistic piece, which very often had been overshadowed by Symphony No. 9, though sometimes rated higher by musicologists.


On Sunday, 4 March in Dzintars Jurgelaitis’ Chamber Hall the 26th Liepāja International Stars Festival will host a concert “The Pianism of Emīls Dārziņš Music School”

Thirteen young pianists from Emīls Dārziņš music school will play music by Frederic Chopin, Sergey Rachmaninov, Johann Sebastian Bach, Latvian composers Lūcija Garūta and Jāzeps Vītols, as well as other composers. The concert will feature the pupils of Sergejs Osokins, Ligita Muižarāja, Iveta Pinkule, Ilze Treija, Rūdolfs Vanks, Andrejs Bilalovs, Lelde Paula, and Sandra Jalaņecka.


The festival will feature maestro Raimonds Pauls, State Choir “Latvija”, Klaipeda Chamber orchestra, violinist Frank Erik Stadler, pianist Vestards Šimkus, trumpet player Sergei Nakariakov, and others, as well as conductors Māris Sirmais, Atvars Lakstīgala, and Gintaras Rinkevicius.


Liepāja International Stars Festival has an atmosphere of high culture, combining style and buoyancy, refinement and excitement where eager hearts of excellent artists communicate with open and relishing audience. Festive time is coming!


The Festival is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, State Culture Capital Foundation, and Liepāja City Council.

Tickets to the Festival concerts can be purchased in all Box Offices of “Biļešu paradīze” and at