ARĒNA 2017

October 14 – 20, 2017, the contemporary music festival ARENA for the 16th time will offer its visitors to experience and listen to rather unusual musical performances. This year the festival will present world premieres of musical pieces created by both Latvian and foreign composers, the visitors will have the chance to meet outstanding Latvian and foreign musicians, as well as go on a one-day concert journey on a special ARENA trolleybus.

The 16th season of the contemporary music festival ARENA will unfold on October 14 in Riga, with a unique project FOUR VENUES. It will present the opportunity during one whole day to see four consecutive concerts in different venues in Riga. To fully experience this musical adventure, going to all the venues with a special ARENA trolleybus, which will not only take the attendants to all separate concert venues, but also allow to participate in a live storytelling about music and life.

The first concert of the project FOUR VENUES – the FOLK MUSIC AFTERNOON will take place in Kalnciema Kvartāls, on the 14th of October at 11:00, 12:30 and 14:00. In the concert you will hear Duo Stanislav Judyn & Asnate Rancāne performing a folk music programme. Uniting their different musical experiences – the improvisations and compositions by Stanislav with Asnate’s knowledge in ethnic music and folklore – they have created an improvisation project, where the original music with lyrics from folk songs is combined with folk melody variations.

Following the first concert the visitors are offered to hear an electroacoustic concert TRAUMTIERE at 13:30, 14:30 and 15:30 in the basement of club ONEONE, 18 Šarlotes street, where the  Vocal group PUTNI will perform two musical pieces, which will also be the world premiere of both of them. One of the pieces is by the Swiss composer Beat Gysin, whose electroacoustic chamber opera Marienglass Latvian audience had the chance to see in ARENA 2015, and this year he returns to the festival with his new musical piece Traumtiere. The other of the premiered pieces is by the young Latvian composer Platons Buravickis, who for the festival has created a musical piece Sprut for eight female voices and octophonic electronics.

The third concert DOGS, WOMEN, GODS and GHOSTS will be performed only once – at 17:00, in the Ģertrūdes Street Theatre. In the concert we will have the opportunity to meet  THE ALPACA ENSEMBLE from Norway and singer Alwynne Pritchard (Norway / UK), who the Latvian auditory got to know in the previous year’s ARENA. They will perform compositions that brightly and originally depict the language of contemporary musical theatre. The concert will also be the world premiere of a musical piece by the British composer Justin Connolly.

Those attendants who wish to participate in all those concerts in “one attempt”, the festival ARENA for the first time in its history will invite all the willing to go on an unforgettable musical journey with a special ARENA trolleybus. At 13:00 the trolleybus will pick up its passengers in the centre of Riga, to take them to the concert in Kalnciema Kvartāls, at 14:00. After the concert the concert-goers will be taken to the next concert in the basement of club ONEONE, but the musical journey will conclude with a concert in the Ģertrūde Street Theatre.

Following the tradition the festival began the previous year, on the evening of October 14 at 21:00 in club Nemiers ARĒNA offers to attend the CLUB NIGHT event, where short interludes of live performance academic music concertos will mingle with DJ played dance music based on pieces of academic music. This year in the CLUB NIGHT you will see performing  DJs Toms Auniņš and Oriole, as well as Veronika Zubairova (piano) and Vita Rozēna (flute).

On October 15 at 17:00 in the Reformation Church one will have the chance to see an international chamber music project Trio ORBIT (Greece), which has brought together Panayiotis Andreoglou (accordion), Gundega Šmite (piano) and Dimitris Marondis (electronics). The concert programme is based on combining exquisite electroacoustic pieces for the piano, accordion, and electronics. In the concert you will hear musical pieces from a wide historic range, beginning with the first historically recorded composition for piano and electronics – the Synchronisms by the pioneer of American electronic music Mario Davidovsky – till the newest opuses by Greek composers Panayiotis Kokoras and Dimitris Maronidis.

On October 17 at 19:00 in Latvian National Library’s Ziedoņa Hall, festival ARENA in cooperation with Latvijas Koncerti PLC invites to the Latvian Radio Bigband new programme premiere and CD presentation. In the programme The LATVIAN JAZZ SUITE: THE NEW COMPOSERS VOL II the Latvian Radio Big Band has offered the young and talented and already internationally acclaimed Latvian musicians and composers – pianists   Krists Auznieks, Rūdolfs Macats and guitarist Matīss Čudars –, to create original pieces for Latvian Radio Big Band. This will be already the third concert, where one will have the chance to hear completely new jazz pieces.

On October 18 at 19:00 in the Concert Hall of Zirgu Street we will hear a concert by Vestards Šimkus (piano ): VESTARDS ŠIMKUS. IMPROVISATIONS. THE WRITTEN DOWN ONES AND THE FREE. In the concert one will hear Vestards Šimkus’ free improvisations or musical pieces that will be created in front of the eyes of the viewers, and will exist only in this concert. In Vestards’ improvisation style one can feel the roots of contemporary academic music, jazz, world music, and early music, while he tries to find the meeting points in these seemingly very different genres of music. Alongside with the free improvisations one will hear the fantasies or the improvisations that had been written down – by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert. In their fantasies the brilliant composers of classical music (who by the way were no less brilliant piano improvisers) allow themselves to wander over and through different moods, tonalities, textures of music, confidently leading the audience into the unknown.

This year’s contemporary music festival ARENA will come to its conclusion with a concert MADE IN BELGIUM, FROM BALCANS TO JAZZ on the 19th of October at 19:00 in the Chamber Hall of VEF, in Riga, and on the 20th of October in Hotel Promenade Hicks Hall in Liepaja. In these concerts one will have the chance to see performing the virtuous musical union from Belgium ARANIS , which will offer intellectual and emotional entertainment in a professionally impeccable and artistic performance. Skilfully balancing on the borders of contemporary academic, Balkan, klezmer, punk, jazz, and tango music, the Belgian instrumental quintet offers to get acquainted with the most recent pieces of Belgian music, the authors of which to most of the Latvian audience will be yet quite a discovery.The contemporary music festival ARENA takes place with the support of State Culture Capital Foundation of Latvia, Riga City Council, Swiss foundations Pro Helvetia and Suissa, as well as the Whirlpool Corporation and the Latvian Radio.See you in the festival ARENA!