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Latvian National Symphony Orchestra

The Latvian National Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1926 as the Latvian Radio Symphony Orchestra by conductor Arvīds Pārups. Back then there were only 14 musicians in the orchestra. Current name of the orchestra was established after the independence of the Republic of Latvia in 1990. There are about 90 musicians currently working at the orchestra. Every year the LNSO gives more than 60 concerts.

Over the course of time, the orchestra was headed by principal conductors Jānis Mediņš (1928–1944), Dmitri Kulkov (1945–1949), Leonīds Vīgners (1949–1963; 1966–1974), Edgars Tons (1963–1966), Vassily Sinaisky (1975–1987), Paul Mägi (1990–1994), Terje Mikkelsen (1997– 2001), and Olari Elts. Since 2009 the Principal Conductor of the LNSO is Karel Mark Chichon.
The LNSO has collaborated with such celebrity conductors as Leo Blech, Valery Gergiev, Arvīds Jansons, Mariss Jansons, Kristjan Järvi, Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi, Kiril Kondrashin, Kurt Masur, Andris Nelsons, Krzysztof Penderecky, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Leonard Slatkin, Yuri Simonov, Igor Stravinsky, and Bruno Walter, as well as numerous distinguished soloists, among them Elena Bashkirova, Van Cliburn, Elīna Garanča, Maija Kovaļevska, Alexander Kniazev, Gidon Kremer, Mischa Maisky, Sergey Nakariakov, David Oistrach, Kristīne Opolais, Vadim Repin, Sviatoslav Richter, Mstislav Rostropovich, Vineta Sareika, Egils Siliņš, Baiba Skride, Lauma Skride, and Vestards Šimkus.
The LNSO has also been acknowledged by audiences abroad. The orchestra has performed in Lithuania, Estonia, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, the UK, Spain, Gibraltar, Germany, Switzerland, Greece, Japan, Russia, and Poland.
To great acclaim, the orchestra has played in prestigious concert halls like the Berliner Philharmonie, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Kölner Philharmonie, the Sapporo Concert Hall, the Tokyo Metropolitan Hall, the Leipziger Gewandhaus, the Berliner Staatsoper, the Zürich Tonhalle, the Madrid Auditorio Nacional de Música, the Oslo Concert Hall, the Stockholm Concert Hall, the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Hall, the Greater Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, etc.
From season 2009/10, Karel Mark Chichon holds the post of the Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the LNSO. Over the last nine years the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra had established a great rapport with acclaimed conductor. This artistic association has resulted in a number of much-appreciated opera concert performances and concerts highly praised by the public and critics alike.
This season the orchestra offers a very diverse and innovative programme, including both the traditional symphonic repertoire – three of Ludwig van Beethoven’s symphonies interpreted by three internationally renowned conductors – and a selection of Spanish zarzuelas and symphonic waltzes, as well as experimental inter-genre collaborations, for instance, with DJ Monsta and the jazz saxophonist Nik Gotham and a number of first performances of works by Latvian composers with the objective of promoting the development of Latvian symphonic music. Quite a few of the concerts attract with a bill of prominent and inimitable soloists: Gidon Kremer, Elīna Garanča, Marina Rebeka, Kristīne Opolais, Vestards Šimkus, Kristīne Blaumane, Vineta Sareika and many others appear with the orchestra this season. In keeping with an established tradition much loved by the listeners, the new season will see Karel Mark Chichon present a concert performance of an opera, this time a take on I Puritani by Vincenzo Bellini. It will be all the more special since it will be the first-ever performance in Latvia of Bellini's masterpiece opera.
Currently the musical life of Latvia cannot be imagined without a permanent symphonic orchestra; this is a question of prestige of the state. The status of Latvian National Symphonic Orchestra assigns a duty for each musician to improve their skills on a daily basis and bring enjoyment to the audiences. It’s also important to represent the culture of Latvian music abroad. The LNSO has set itself the goal of becoming a world-class orchestra – the best symphony orchestra of the “New Europe” – over the next few years.

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