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The Latvian Radio Choir, which was founded in 1940, is dedicated to a wide repertoire from the Renaissance into the 21st century. It is especially through its performances of contemporary scores that the Choir has earned its reputation as “sonic laboratory.” The singers specialize in such vocal skills as the intonation of quarter tones and overtones, while also regularly exploring the ancient singing traditions of their homeland. A major focus of the ensemble is to promote Latvian composers, who are presented during their international performances around the world. For its recordings of the works of Ēriks Ešenvalds, Kristaps Pētersons, and Mārtiņš Viļums, the Choir won the International Rostrum of Composers Prize of Unesco’s International Music Council, and its recording of Arvo Pärt’s Adam’s Lament won the coveted Grammy Award in 2014. The Latvian Radio Choir has performed at the Baltic Sea Festival, the Salzburg Fes-tival, the Klangspuren Festival in Schwaz, and the Biennale di Venezia; it has concertized at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Konzerthaus in Berlin, the Cité de la Musique in Paris, and Lincoln Center in New York. Among the ensemble’s conducting partners are Heinz Holliger, Tõnu Kaljuste, Stephen Layton, Lars Ulrik Mortensen, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and James Wood. Since 1992 the Latvian Radio Choir has been led by two conductors: Sigvards Kļava serves as Music Director and is supported by Kaspars Putniņš. In January 2016, under Kļava’s leadership, the Choir performed in the opening celebrations of the Latvian EU Presidency. The Choir has won the Grand Latvian Music Prize a total of nine times, most recently in 2015; in 2014 it garnered the Latvian Award of the Cabinet of Ministers, one of the country’s highest honors.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 30 August 2014, when the Latvian Radio Choir performed Heinz Holliger’s Scardanelli Cycle, with the composer conducting.