Christmas Festival. Jānis Lūsēns, Zigfrīds Muktupāvels, Elīna Šimkus. On a Starry Winters Night

Performers: Jānis Lūsēns (piano), Zigfrīds Muktupāvels (vocal, violin), Elīna Šimkus (soprano), Aigars Reinis (organ), Veronika Rinkule (harpsichord), Artūrs Noviks (accordion)


I part

Es skaistu rozīt...
Songs by Jānis Lūsēns:

1. Bērna sapņi (Kārlis Skalbe)
2. Sniega pārslas, lietus piles (Kārlis Skalbe)
3. Mūs' māsīte (Anna Brigadere)
4. Ilgu zeme (Aspazija)
5. Bērna lūgšana (Paulīna Bārda)
6. Ticība (Jānis Poruks)
7. Veltījums
8. Tas vārds (Aspazija)
9. Tev sirds (Māra Zālīte)
10. Ar zvaigžņu kluso gaismu (Ojārs Vācietis)
11. Kā man tevi sasildīt (Leons Briedis)
12. Ir klusa nakts (Lija Brīdaka)

II part

1. Sniega karaliene (Kārlis Skalbe)
2. Circenīša Ziemassvētki (Aspazija)
3. Ziemassvētkos (Velta Toma)
4. Ziemas ceļā (Kārlis Krūza)
5. Jaunās egles (Kārlis Skalbe)
6. Pelēkā dziesma
7. Ziemassvētku vakarā (Leonīds Breikšs)
8. Ja es būtu (Vilis Plūdons)
9. Šai svētā naktī (Valda Moor)
10. Ir daudz pie debesīm zvaigžņu (Jānis Poruks)
11. Balts sniedziņš (Jānis Poruks)
12. Mazu brīdi pirms (Vilis Plūdons)



Jānis Lūsēns is a popular Latvian composer, who has been active in non-academic music, founded the “Zodiaks” ensemble and written music for the biggest theatres in Latvia. He is one of the rare Latvian composers who is also working in the field of music for children. Amongst Lūsēns’ fans are people who prefer both pop and classical music - his academic education, professionalism, beauty of melodies and democratic expression resonates with professionals, as well as simple listeners. Two operas for children - "Puppet Opera" (2008) and "Birds Opera" (2000) - are still available at the Latvian National Opera, even today. Rock-opera "Sphinx" has been performed 86 times in the National Theatre, while rock-opera "Kaupēn, mans mīļais" is included in the Latvian Canon of Culture. The composer's creative axis is song, but one of his latest projects "Aiz... mūzika vēlā vakarā", together with Evija Mendeciema, is a programme of instrumental sound and improvisations of tone, which has been nominated for the Annual Latvian Music Recording Awards.


She is the winner of the VII International Klaudia Taev Competition for Young Opera Singers. In 2015, she was nominated for the Great Music Award for outstanding performance. Foreign media describe her as a person with “a bright sound, beautiful cantilène and a surprisingly magnificent and stable upper register” (OperaNews.Ru).
Elīna’s repertoire consists of more than 40 large-format pieces, 16 roles in operas, 6 of which are Baroque, and 3 - Mozart. She has performed as a guest soloist in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Italy, France, Poland and Russia. Since 2014, she regularly collaborates with the Italian Baroque opera company Coin du Roi, and since 2017 - with the old music ensemble Fantasia Ficta in Switzerland, while in Latvia, Elīna has established a close partnership with the Baroque music orchestra Collegium Musicum Riga and its artistic director Māris Kupčs. Elīna Šimkus studied under Margarita Gruzdjeva in Riga and she has a master's degree in performing arts from the Norwegian Music Academy in Oslo under Prof. Barbro Marklund. Currently Elīna is studying at Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music under Māris Kupčs.
After her debut with the role of Melia from Mozart’s Apollo et Hyacinthus in Litta Theatre in Mila, Clasicaonline wrote: “Truly, the leading voice of the night was Elīna Šimkus - fantastic in all aspects. Clear, pure and bright voice in the upper registers and juicy in the middle register. Šimkus dominates the stage with her personality, vocal and actor skills; she received a well-deserved applause from the audience after the play.”


We know Zigfrīds Muktupāvels as a singer, violinist and the host of the Latvian Radio show “Kultūras Rondo” and TV show “100 g kultūras”. In 2009, he received the Order of the Three Stars for his contribution to Latvian culture. At the age of 20, Muktupāvels joined the band of Jānis Lūsēns “Zodiaks” as a violinist, becoming one of the brightest local artists of the late 80s. In 1991, Zigfrīds Muktupāvels, together with Guntars Račs, formed the ensemble “bet bet”, mixing pop and country music. At the same time, he continued his partnership with composer Jānis Lūsēns, who trusted Zigfrīds with the main musical role in musicals and other performances; he also wrote a song for Muktupāvels’s solo album “Violets” (2002).

ARTŪRS NOVIKS, accordion

Artūrs Noviks is an open-minded accordionist with a wide range of activity in various musical directions. Since 2005, he is a participant of the salon music ensemble Tango sin quinto. Participant of international competitions and festivals. Since 2011, reader at the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music, and since 2014, a lecturer. Performed in projects, together with the Latvian Radio Choir, as well as performs in Riga Russian Theatre, in plays such as “Tango ar Stroku” and “Precinieki”. Has also performed in the play “Tango līnijas” by the dance group “Ritms”, as well as in Daile Theatre, in “Ziedonis. Lācis. Sievietes,” chamber opera Diptych “Lysistrata” and others.


Aigars Reinis is an organist at Riga’s St. Gertrude Old Church, studied organ play, music pedagogy and conducting in Jelgava Music School, studied organ play in Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music, under Prof. Tālivaldis Dekšņa, where he also graduated with his master’s degree. Aigars is in the Latvian Radio Choir; for a long time he was a participant of the Gregorian singing ensemble Schola Cantorum Riga, led by Guntars Prānis. Currently he sings in the Ars Antiqua Riga band, formed by Pēteris Vaickovskis.


Veronika Rinkule is a lecturer in the concertmaster’s department at Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music. She graduated from piano class at JVLAM, and continues her master’s degree under prof. H. Hansena in chamber ensemble class, while also mastering the play of ancient music interpretation and main bass under Prof. M. Kupčs. As a player of the main bass, she has participated in projects of Collegium Musicum Riga, as well as Sinfonietta Riga and the cello ensemble Dream Team of the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra. Actively works as a concertmaster in cooperation with conductor and Prof. A. Birziņa and her girls’ choir TIARA of Riga Dome Choir School.

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