Zigmars Liepiņš Jubilee Concert




Latvijas Nacionālā opera

Zigmars Liepiņš made his noteworthy debut as a composer in the mid-70s, and since then, he has created an amazingly wide array of works – there are sorrowful melodies and catchy pop songs; there are ballads and there are nods to folk melodies; you’ll come across witty parodies, and be captured by the motifs of longing and of playfulness; discover lengthy song cycles as well as instrumental gems; find the popular and beloved operas, rock operas and musicals; his body of work contains everything from an intimate whisper to monumental pieces composed for the Song festival.
Zigmars Liepiņš 70 year jubilee programme will feature three large-scale pieces. The first of these is the Violin concerto, which was dedicated to the composer’s father and saw its premiere through the interpretation of Paula Šūmane, the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra and the composer’s son Jānis Liepiņš 10 years ago. On the 17th of October the LNSO and Jānis Liepiņš will be joined by the fantastic and internationally sought-after violinist Kristīne Balanas.
The second work is the suite Sarkanais Mežs (the Red Forest) that was created from the charming and truly cinematic motifs composed for a popular Latvian TV series; the work saw its premiere under the direction of Jānis Liepiņš in the 2022 Grand Concert of Latvian Symphonic Music.
And finally, the new work – the grandiose Mesa 2020 (Mass 2020) that was created during the first wave of the C-19 pandemic when the composer along with his loved ones escaped to the family sea-side house in Ģipka and felt the impulse to write a large-scale sacred piece. During that time, the world needed all the help it could get from both the Earth and higher powers, but as the composer was working and imagining humanity amidst the health crisis, he could not imagine that during the year that Mesa would be premiered in, the world would have encountered even more horror. This time we’ll hear the canonical text of the Mass in Latvian, and according to the composer’s vision, the three sacred words of prayer “Give us peace” will ring out in a crystalline five-fold softening of the volume, because that is the only way to reach the core of the prayer.
For the premiere of the Mass, Jānis Liepiņš has chosen outstanding partners. In the work, the organ plays a large role, so it is very fortunate that the fantastic organ star Iveta Apkalna has agreed to perform the part. The polyphonic singing will be covered by the State Academic Choir LATVIJA, a special atmosphere will be created by the Gregorian chant ensemble Schola cantorum Rīga, the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra will also be performing, and Ilze Grēvele-Skaraine and Laura Grecka will provide two beautiful solo voices. All of this leads to believe that we shall hear Zigmars Liepiņš like never before.


Zigmars Liepiņš – suite Sarkanais Mežs (The Red Forest)
Zigmars Liepiņš – Violin concerto
Zigmars Liepiņš – Mesa 2020 (PREMIERE)


Ilze Grēvele-Skaraine, soprano
Inga Šļubovska, soprano
Kristīne Balanas, violin
Iveta Apkalna, organ
The State Academic Choir LATVIJA
The Latvian National Symphony Orchestra
Early music ensemble Schola Cantorum Riga
Conductor Jānis Liepiņš

October 17, 2022