The Latvian National Symphony Orchestra (LNSO), whose history spans nearly a century, is one of the foundations of Latvian national culture. The LNSO’s mission is to provide excellent musical performances of a wide spectrum of symphony music repertoire, to introduce Latvian listeners with the world’s classic and contemporary works and, likewise, to acquaint audiences abroad with Latvian music treasures.
One of the main aims of the LNSO involves continuously seeking and finding new audiences by creating educational programmes in a modern, creative, fresh format.
The LNSO is a five-time winner of Latvia’s highest classical music award – the Grand Music Award (1993, 2009, 2012, 2013, and 2016).
Since 2013, the music director and chief conductor of the LNSO is maestro Andris Poga, a conductor sought after by top orchestras in Europe, China, and Japan. From season 2021/2022, Poga will conduct the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra in Norway. French music critic Florence Michel has said of Poga: ‘He leads his army with precision and inner calm. His intentions do not rely on chance, which is why the complete architecture of the composition stands on solid ground and is illuminated by flowing, inviting plot guideline.’
Orchestra’s most notable former music directors are Jānis Mediņš, Leonīds Vīgners, Edgars Tons, Vassily Sinaisky (LNSO’s honorary guest conductor since 2017), Olari Elts, and Karel Mark Chichon. LNSO’s guest conductors include world-famous Latvians Arvīds Jansons, Mariss Jansons and Andris Nelsons, as well as Valery Gergiev, Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi, Kirill Kondrashin, Kurt Masur, Krzysztof Penderecki, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Yevgeny Svetlanov, Yuri Simonov, and many others.
During the concert season in winter, the orchestra shares the stage with renowned guests – conductors Vladimir Fedoseyev, Vassily Sinaisky, Jean Claude Casadesus, Gintaras Rinkevičius, Modestas Pitrėnas, Kristiina Poska, soloists Nicholas Angelich, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Albrecht Mayer, Baiba Skride, and others.
In the past six years, the LNSO has performed in Alte Oper Frankfurt and Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris, in Grand Théâtre de Provence of Aix-en-Provence and in Arsenal de Metz. The orchestra’s performances include nine concerts in the renowned Crazy Day festival in Nantes, appearances in the Roque-d’Anthéron international piano festival, Bratislava concert hall, and Philharmonie de Paris. In the most recent tours, the LNSO teamed up with dazzling violinist Baiba Skride, outstanding cellist Alexander Knyazev, brilliant pianists Nicholas Angelich and Boris Berezovsky, young top talents Lukas Geniušas and Lucas Debargue.
As regards future tours, the LNSO plans to perform with Iveta Apkalna at the Philharmonie de Paris in 2021.
Since 2015, the LNSO organises the LNSO Summer Festival for families and friends in Latvia’s regional acoustic concert halls in late August. The city of Cēsis has hosted the festival three times, and August, 2019, will see the festival’s return to the city of Rēzekne, GORS concert hall.
In the festival, the LNSO stages chamber productions by Latvian authors for children and teenagers, including The Wind in the Willows and Loranga by Edgars Mākens and Ģirts Šolis, Zenith by Jānis Šipkēvics and Marts Pujāts, Tale of Diegabiksis by Rihards Zaļupe. The festival also offers interactive music classes and musical morning workouts. Grown-ups can enjoy chamber music concerts, opera productions (The Human Voice by Poulenc, Lohengrin by Wagner, modern ballet production Carmen), as well as symphony music and popular music concerts in the evening. The LNSO Summer Festival guests include Baiba Skride, Georgijs Osokins, Andrejs Osokins, Corby Welch, Karen Vourc’h, Kim Criswell, Daumants Kalniņš, Raimonds Tiguls, Ieva Saliete, Matīss Čudars, and other remarkable artists.