Will be performed the version by Desire Dondeyne.
Ending the busy season and entering the significant year of centenary of Latvia, choir “Maska” spent three weeks in Australia, bringing Latvian choir music to this very far, far land and giving all the best both to the local Latvian society and Australians. These three weeks were full of various adventures and beginning of new friendships.
On December 25, just a few days after choir’s annual concert ChristMASKAs, which we enjoyed together with Vestards Šimkus, the choir got onto plane and began the journey to the other side of the planet – Australia, where the choir’s first concert tour outside of Europe was awaiting. If we don’t consider the unlucky situation that the luggage of 2/3 of the choir was left in Beijing, the traveling was successful and on December 28 MASKA gave the first concert at the opening of 35th Australian Latvian Youth days, for the first time singing in regular clothes, as the costumes were only on their way to Sydney. On the following day, choir gave a full 2,5h concert in Sydney Latvian house, gathering a full house of both Australian Latvians and guests. A full review can be found in newspaper “Latvietis”.
On the last day of 2017 choir’s artistic director Jānis Ozols led a workshop for Sydney’s choir society, showing the best warm-up and vocal exercises, and together with choir MASKA singing several songs form the repertoire of the following song festival dedicated to centenary of Latvia. Choir celebrated the coming of year 2018 in Sydney Latvian house in a fun event together with Australian Latvians, creating more and more new friendships.
On January 3 choir went to the capital of South Australia – Adelaide. After enjoying quality free time, on January 6 choir gave the hottest concert in choir’s history, since the temperature both outside and inside of Adelaide St. Peter’s church was 42.5°C
Further the choir traveled to Melbourne via the Great Ocean Road, enjoying three beautiful days, full of marvelous landscapes, look-outs, hiking paths and ocean itself. Although there wasn’t a workshop planned to be held also in Melbourne, however local choirs – mixed choir “Daina” and male choir “Veseris” asked for one really nicely, since they also wanted to obtain the knowledge from Jānis Ozols and sing together with MASKA, and their wish was granted on January 10.
A really special concert occurred on January 12, when the choir gave a pop-up concert in Victoria State library – the beautiful “Cowen Gallery”. Choir MASKA really values this chance to be the ambassadors of Latvian choir music and culture in the very beginning of the year of centenary of Latvia. The concert was attended by many locals and the guests of the city, who were introduce to the classics of Latvian choir music, as well as some best peaces of contemporary artists. On January 13 choir gave a full concert in Melbourne Latvian house, pleasing both Australian Latvians and guests with a versatile concert.
Choir is truly blessed with the time spent in Australia. We wish to thank the Australian Latvian society, especially the families who opened their doors and took in choristers both in Sydney and Melbourne. A special thanks goes to the active organizers – Sandra Draguns and Anita Andersone. This tour will always have a special place in the memory of every chorister as an unforgettable adventure.
In the beginning of November choir “Maska” went to Basque Country, Spain to participate in 49th Tolosa Choral Competition, that is also one of the European Choral Grand Prix events. The fact that the participating choirs do not only compete for the main prize, but also give concerts in towns and villages across the Basque country makes this competition quite special.
Before the competition “Maska” was in three towns – Ordizia, Getxo and Taffala – where concerts were given, and the Basque people seemed to like us a lot, giving warm applause and shouting bravo! even if the piece was not finished yet. With special joy we came back to the two towns that we visited also back in 2014, where the people actually remembered us and wished all the best in this year’s competition.
November 4 was the day, when “Maska” participated in both polyphony and folklore categories (both with the interval of one hour). The choir was ready for a good start and in both 20 minute programmes gave it all out… Now it was up to the jury.
We got to know the results, whilst having wonderful dinner in our Basque home town Zarautz. The loyal guides gave the good news that we have won folklore category and came in 2nd in the polyphony, which was followed by less good news, that the winner of children’s category – The Resonanz Children’s Choir from Indonesia – has gotten more points and are announced the winners of the competition.
“Maska” is proud of this achievement, wants to thank a lot for the support that is coming from friends and families and most importantly – Babīte municipality. Also, “Maska” wishes the winners of the competition all the best in EGP final. Meanwhile choir is actively preparing for Independence day concert in Babīte municipality (November 17), 3rd ZieMASKAsvētki with Vestards Šimkus in Riga Cathedral (December 23) as well as the trip to Australia in the end of the year.
During this weekend mixed choir “Maska” has won the Grand Prix of 15th international choir contest “Tallinn 2017” that took place in the prestigious venue of “Estonia” concert hall in Tallinn.
The international choir contest in Tallinn is being held since 1972 and this year 31 choirs and vocal groups from Estonia, Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, the Netherlands, Finland, Germany and Belarus participated in the competition.
Choir “Maska” participated in three categories, getting the highest score in mixed choir and contemporary music categories, as well as being second best in the folklore category. This performance allowed the choir to qualify to the final, where “Maska” was the best of the best and won the Grand Prix!
During the competition choir “Maska” performed in the opening concert in Tallinn’s Methodist church as well as in a night concert in “Hopneri Maja” concert hall in Tallinn’s old town. The final was broadcasted in Estonian national radio and supporters could also hear the performance via web.
Choirs were vetted by a serious international jury: Tone Bianca Dahl (Norway), Basilio Astulez Duque (Spain), Georg Grün (Germany), Heli Jürgenson (Estonia), Ko Matsushita (Japan).
“I am truly proud about what we have accomplished. For my beloved youngsters. For Latvia. It is almost unbelievable that with our songs we – the Maska-family again and again prove to the foreign auditory that our country’s glory of the choral singing has not disappeared. And it is especially nice to hear the whole audience chanting the word “Latvia” although you are abroad” says choir’s artistic director and conductor Jānis Ozols.
“Maska” performed pieces both by Latvian and foreign composers, including Arvo Pärt, Pärt Uusberg, Micheal Berkley, Perttu Haapanen and Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdi as well as Pēteris Vasks, Laura Jēkabsone and Ēriks Ešenvalds.
Already this Saturday “Maska” will compete in live TV show hosted by national broadcaster Latvian Television – “Latvija dzied!” (“Latvia sings!”). This a selection event to name the choir that will be participating from Latvia in the first “Eurovision choir of the year 2017” event to be held in July. It will be broadcasted in LTV1 as well as in live-stream in the internet, so everyone has the possibility to tune-in and support “Maska”!
Within participation in the 13th international choir festival Sborove Slavnosti in Hradec Králové, mixed choir “Maska” held a concert tour in the Czech Republic. To brighten Latvia’s name in world of choral music, choir “Maska” performed pieces created only by Latvian composers, such as J. Mediņš, L. Garūta, P. Butāns, B. Skulte, L. Jēkabsone, Ē. Ešenvalds and others. Festival which is organised by Czech a capella masters “Gentleman singers” is one of the most important choral events in the country. This year it hosted four local choirs (mixed choirs “Smetana” and “JITRO” and female choirs “Vokální Harmonie” and “Kantilená”) as well as three guest choirs —“Cantemus” (Hungary), “Ad Una Corda” (The Slovak Republic) and “Maska” (Latvia).
During the festival, choir “Maska” gave seven concerts in Ostrava, Hradec Králové, Šumperk and Prague, where the audience greeted the choir with standing ovations. Festival’s gala concert was held in Hradec Králové’s historical Cathedral of The Holy Spirit, where all festival’s choirs together performed Leoš Janaček’s “Otčenaš” (“Our Father”) for mixed choir, tenor soloist, organs and harp. However, choir “Maska” concluded the tour with a special performance in Czech Philharmonic – majestic Rudolfinum’s most beautiful Dvořák Hall.
“Maska” popularized Latvian music not only by performing pieces exclusively done by Latvian composers, but also by organizing a workshop led by Jānis Ozols and Laura Jēkabsone. During the workshop, festival participants – both professionals and amateurs – were introduced to traditions of Latvian choral music, putting an emphasis on Latvian Song and Dance Festival phenomena, as well as the rich cultural heritage.
Choir’s visit to the Czech Republic was also noticed by fellow Latvians residing in the country. Latvia’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary – His Excellency Mr. Alberts Sarkanis – attended one of the concerts held in Prague in the Czech Republic. During the last day of the festival, a reception of choir “Maska” to Latvian Embassy in the Czech Republic, where the ambassador stressed, how important are the activities done by Latvian culture workers in the terms of establishing foreign affairs, as well as thanked choir “Maska” for its input in creation of Latvia’s image in the world.
More about the festival and mixed choir’s “Maska” participation in it, you can find in festival’s Facebook page.
Babītes novada jauktas koris “Maska” no šī gada 7.-12. jūnijam pārstāvēs Latviju vienā no nozīmīgākajiem kormūzikas notikumiem Čehijā – 13. Starptautiskajā koru festivālā Sborove Slavnosti Hradeckrālovē. Festivālu organizē pasaulē atzītā vokālā grupa Gentlemen Singers un šogad festivāls pulcēs 4 korus no Čehijas, kā arī 3 viesu korus – jauktos korus “Cantemus” (Ungārija), “Ad Una Corda” (Slovākija) un “Maska” (Latvija).
“Maska” festivāla ietvaros sniegs 7 koncertus Ostravā, Hradeckrālovē, Šumperkā un Prāgā, viesojoties arī Latvijas vēstniecībā Čehijā. Iepazīstinot festivāla dalībniekus un apmeklētājus ar latviešu kormūziku, diriģentu Jāņa Ozola un Lauras Jēkabsones vadībā koris sniegs meistarklases par Latvijas kordziedāšanas tradīcijām.
Festivāla kulminācijā – galā koncertā vēsturiskajā Svētā Gara katedrālē kori izpildīs Leoša Janačeks (Leoš Janaček) “Mūsu Tēvs” (“Otčenas”) jauktajam korim, solistam, ērģelēm un arfai.
Koncertos Čehijā koris izpildīs latviešu komponistu skaņdarbus, izceļot klasiskas kormūzikas vērtības, gan atklājot mūsdienās radītās mūzikas daudzveidību. Koncertprogrammu, kurā iekļauti J.Mediņa, L.Garūtas, P.Butāna, B.Skultes, L. Jēkabsones, Ē.Ešanvalda un citu komponistu skaņdarbi, ikvienam būs iespēja dzirdēt arī koncertā 5. jūnijā plkst. 13.00 Piņķu sv. Jāņa ev. lut. baznīcā. Ieeja koncertā par ziedojumiem.
Jauniešu koris “Maska” ar vērienu noslēgs savu 15. gadu jubilejas koncertciklu 1.aprīlī Babītes Kultūrizglītības centra lielajā zālē. Zīmīgi, ka šis koncertcikls noslēgsies ar pasaules pirmatskaņojumu Lauras Jēkabsones ciklam “Acīm redzamais”, kas veltīts jauniešu korim “Maska” jubilejas gadā. Iespējams, šis būs viens no filozofiskākajiem skaņdarbiem Lauras daiļradē, jo pieskaras pārpasaulīgām tēmām, piemēram, cilvēks un daba, vientulība, dzīvnieku aizsardzība un citām globālām, acīm redzamām lietām.
Koncerts būs divās daļās un kā ierasts, ne bez dažādiem muzikāliem pārsteigumiem. Šajā koncertā “Maska” un diriģents Jānis Ozols, iespējams, pierādīs, ka kormūzika un dziedāšana kā tāda spēj sniegties pāri nedomājamām robežām, gan garīgi, fiziski un pat emocionāli.
Kora 15 gadus ilgajā pastāvēšanas vēsturē, dziedātāji un diriģenti ir apzinājušies klausītāja lomu un atbalstu, kas šajā koncertā spilgti atspoguļosies gan mūzikā, gan telpas atmosfēriskajā noskaņā un sajūtās.
Programmā, kā jau minēts Lauras Jēkabsones kompozīcijas, arī paša Jāņa Ozola aranžējums, Andra Sējāna, Džuzepes Verdī, Imanta Kalniņa u.c. komponistu mūzika. Tas viss tiks paspilgtināts ar īpaši šim koncertam piemeklētām video projekcijām.
CD “Ziema”(“Winter”) includes three major compositions written by Laura Jēkabsone dedicated to Christmas theme – „Advent Story”, „Xmas All Around the World” and “Ziema”. These compositions are performed by choir, soloists and various instrumental groups – pianist Aurēlija Šimkus, kokle ensemble “Balti”, guitar virtuoso Gints Smukais, Latvian National Symphony Orchestra string group; conducted by – choir’s artistic director Jānis Ozols.
The record is already available in the world’s most popular streaming services:
The record is also available in a tangible form at choir’s concerts or through contacting choir’s representatives.
We remind that CD’s presentation concert “ZieMASKAsvētki” will be held on December 20 in Riga Dome Cathedral at 19:00.
“Choir’s second CD and the concert is another culmination of choir “Maska” 15th anniversary. Composer Laura Jēkabsone has been choir’s vocal teacher that allows her to feel choir’s possibilities, sound and character. However, her signature can be described with lightness and specific melody, as well as attention to detail. In a result we have created an album in a Christmas mood, which is also a great way for Laura to be noticed as a great composer in the professional choir-music environment” emphasizes choir’s conductor Jānis Ozols.
Opus “Advent Story” tells the story about winter from Advent till the birth of Jesus Christ. Music is dominated by contrasts, which are created by variety in the performers as well as the specifics of the acoustic of the room and usage of rhythm percussions. „Xmas All around the World” is a journey in Santa’s sleigh around the world, visiting France, Ukraine, Sweden, Venezuela, Israel, South Africa, England and coming back to Latvia, having gather each nation’s most beautiful winter solstice songs. However, composition „Ziema” is for mixed choir, string orchestra, piano and soloist, that brings to life lyrics by Rainis and Aspazija, as well as composer herself.
December 20 19:00, Riga Dome Cathedral
PROGRAMME: Compositions composed by LAURAS JĒKABSONE
„Advent Story” for mixed choir, soloists and kokle ensemble in 6 parts
„Xmas All around the World” for mixed choir, guitar and percussion
“ZIEMA” („Winter”) for mixed choir, soloist, piano and string orchestra – PREMIERE!
Choir’s „MASKA” Christmas concerts have become an integral part of the most wonderful time of the year. This year „MASKA” is celebrating its 15 Year Anniversary year of choir lead by its conductor Jānis OZOLS will give an exclusive concert called „ZieMASKAsvētki” („ChristMASKAs”) in the Riga Dome Cathedral on the fourth Advent.
The concert programme consists of the music composed talented composer, singer and leader of the vocal group Latvian Voices – Laura Jēkabsone. These compositions are written specially for choir „MASKA”, soloists and different instrumental accompaniment that will be performed by musicians recognized both in Latvia and abroad:
“Advent Story” is a story about winter – from its very beginning and Advent time till the birth of Christ. It is music that’s full of contrasts made by the diversity of performers, acoustics of the church and rhythm percussion.
„Xmas All around the World” will take you on a musical trip around the world in Santa’s sleigh, visiting France, Ukraine, Venezuela, Israel, South Africa, England, eventually coming back to Latvia, having collected the most beautiful solstice songs from all the nations.
Whereas composition „Ziema” (“Winter”) is original music by Laura Jēkabsone, that enlivens poetry of the greatest Latvian poets celebrating their 150th Anniversary – Rainis and Aspazija, as well as some lines written by the composer.
This concert programme is also recorded in a CD “ZIEMA” and will be issued at the beginning of December.
Choir “MASKA” is one the best mixed amateur choirs in Latvia, achieving high results in competitions in Latvia and abroad. They are a creative unity and they stand out with a unique musicality and daring to be innovative by creating new interpretations and collaborations with other musicians.
Tickets available in all “Biļešu paradīze” box offices and www.bilesuparadize.lv
15% discount for students, pensioners and persons with disability. Free entrance for pre-school children if a separate seat is not occupied.
This September 15 years will turn since youth choir „Maska” was established. The anniversary season will open with a concert on 18th September at the Great Hall of the University of Latvia, and continue with a release of a Christmas CD and concert at the Riga Dome Cathedral on 20th December, as well as a concert on 1st April, 2016.
At the concert on 18th September you will hear the most significant compositions the choir has performed during 15 years of its existence, highlighting the development, most significant events, brightest emotions and victories of the time. The choir will perform pieces specially composed for them as well as compositions of Latvian and foreign composers, such as Vincent Clarke, Perttu Haapanen, James MacMillan, Jāzeps Mediņš, Jāzeps Vītols, Juris Vaivods, Pēteris Vasks, Renāte Stivriņa, Rihards Zaļupe, Ēriks Ešenvalds, Reinis Sējāns, Andris Sējāns, Jānis Šipkēvics (Shipsi) and conductor of the choir – Jānis Ozols.
An essential part of the concert will be compositions written by Laura Jēkabsone, who is choir-master of “Maska” and also leader of the vocal group “Latvian Voices”. Among the pieces composed for the choir, there will also be a world premiere of a new piece composed for the choir’s anniversary concert.
The concert’s special guest will be the instrumental group “Xylem Trio” that choir “Maska” has collaborated for many years with. It consists of percussionist Rihards Zaļupe and brothers Oskars and Raimonds Petrauskis playing saxophone and piano.
Youth choir “Maska” was founded in 2000 by its conductor Jānis Ozols. They have gained many achievements at international competitions and they are one of the best choirs in Latvia, also well recognized abroad. The choir is unique by its ability to perform not only in the frame of classical music, but also introducing creative innovations making choir music more attractive to every listener. The choir professionally performs both Latvian and foreign music from choir classics to contemporary music, as well as pop/folk/ethno compositions, often surprising the audience with ingenious performance solutions.
Tickets available at “Biļešu Paradīze” box offices and www.bilesuparadize.lv
No 2015. gada 25. līdz 28. jūnijam Rīgā un Latvijas novados norisināsies VIII Ziemeļu un Baltijas valstu Dziesmu svētki, atzīmējot šīs tradīcijas 20 gadus. Šo gadu laikā svētki sarīkoti visās tradīcijā iesaistītajās dalībvalstīs. Simboliski, ka tieši jubilejas gadā svētki atgriežas Latvijā. Svētkos piedalīsies kori no Dānijas, Igaunijas, Islandes, Latvijas, Lietuvas, Norvēģijas, Somijas, Zviedrijas, kā arī latviešu kori ārvalstīs. Programmu papildinās deju kolektīvi un pūtēju orķestri – kopā svētkos tiksies ap 8000 dalībnieku, kuru vidū arī Koris “Maska”
27. jūnijā Koris “Maska” piedalīsies VIII Ziemeļu un Baltijas valstu dziesmu svētku reģionālajā dienā Jūrmalā. 27. jūnija programma:
• 11:00 – 14:00 vairāku koru solo-koncerti Jomas ielā, Majoros;
• 18:30 Šauļu Valsts kamerkora POLIFONIJA (Lietuva) koncerts Dubultu evaņģēliski luteriskajā baznīcā;
• 20:30 Lielkoncerts pie Majoru Dzelzceļa stacijas, kurā piedalīsies vairāk kā 500 koru dziedātāju no Lietuvas, Igaunijas, Somijas, Norvēģijas, Zviedrijas, Grenlandes un, protams, Latvijas (kori “PRIEDE”, “NOKTIRNE”, “BURINIEKS”, “ĶEKAVA”, “RESONO”, “DAUGAVIETE”, “VIA STELLA”, “LIRA”, “ZEMDEGA”, “MĀRUPE”, “SPĀRNOS”, “VAIVARI”, “JŪRMALA”, “MALDUGUNIS”, “ATSKAŅA”, “UNIVERSUM”, “TEMPUS”, “MOZAĪKA” un “MASKA”, kā arī Xylem Trio un vairāki solisti.
• Visos 27. jūnija koncertos Jūrmalā ieeja bez maksas!
Svētku vērienīgākais notikums būs Noslēguma koncerts, kas norisināsies 28. jūnijā plkst. 17.00, Mežaparka Lielajā estrādē, Rīgā. Koncerta programmu veidos izcili skaņdarbi, kas iepriekš jau izskanējuši Ziemeļu un Baltijas valstu Dziesmu svētkos, kā arī vairākas jaunas dziesmas no visām svētku dalībvalstīm. Tāpat Ziemeļu un Baltijas valstu kopkoris izpildīs daļas no Karla Orfa (Carl Orff) slavenās kantātes Carmina Burana, kas būs grandiozākais šī skaņdarba atskaņojums pasaulē. Priecīga ir arī ziņa, ka vokālā grupa “Cosmos” apvienosies īpaši šim gadījumam, lai svētku noslēguma koncertā kopā ar kopkori izpildītu dziesmu “Vindo”.
Svētku noslēguma koncerts vienlaikus būs arī Latvijas prezidentūras Eiropas Savienības Padomē kultūras programmas noslēguma pasākums Latvijā, tādējādi piesaistot gan Latvijas, gan visas Eiropas sabiedrības uzmanību dziesmu svētku tradīcijai.
Biļetes uz noslēguma koncertu iespējams iegādāties “Biļešu paradīzē”.
Vairāk informācijas VIII Ziemeļu un Baltijas valstu Dziesmu svētku mājas lapā: www.nordicbalticchoir.lv
During this July choir “Maska” will participate in exhibition “Song” (“Dziesma”) Anna Salmane and Krišs Salmanis that will take place in “Arsenāls” Exhibition Hall. Choir will be performing composition “Dievzemīte II” by Kristaps Pētersons that is specially created for this event.
Working on the exhibition, artists Anna Salmane and Krišs Salmanis have gathered all the songs that have been performed in the closing concerts of Song festivals since reinstitution of independence in 1990. Counting the words that have been sung, artists came to a conclusion that the most popular words are “saule” (sun, 209 times) and “meita” (daughter, 193 times). However, the third place was taken by an unforeseen word. Due to both surprise and the strong connotation this word has, artists decided to create a song, which lyrics consist only of this word.
Kristaps Pētersons has transferred this idea into two new pieces — “Dievzemīte I” and “Dievzemīte II”. “Dievzemīte I” created in the collage technique, using 184 (this many times this word was sung in the Closing concerts) fragments of Song festival records and will be available for viewing and hearing in the exhibition’s regular part. “Dievzemīte II” is a new piece for a mixed choir without accompaniment. It will be performed in “Arsenāls” Exhibition Hall’s lobby by choir “Maska” conducted by Jānis Ozols.
Exhibition will be open from June 19 till July 26.
Choir “Maska” will perform on:
July 2, at 18:00 and 19:00;
July 9, at 18:00 and 19:00;
July 16, at 18:00 and 19:00.
Mixed choir “Maska” has just returned from 13th International Choral Competition „Gallus Maribor 2015” that took place in Slovenia. Among 13 strong participants choir “Maska” managed to get into the Grand Prix, received a score of 92,2 points that guaranteed the very high 2nd place. First place was taken by “East Carolina University Chamber Singers“ from the USA and the difference in the score was as little as 0,3 points. Choir “Maska” also received a special prize from the jury for the best performance of Jacob Gallus (Iacobus Gallus) composition.
Choir’s conductor and artistic director said: “I am especially glad that choir received the special prize from the jury, since the composition „Mirabile Mysterium” was a real challenge for the choir. This composition was written by J. Gallus in the 16th century, however it is outstanding with a unique sound that is extraordinary for that time. I am proud that our performance was recognized as the best one in the prestigious Maribor choral competition that is named after this outstanding composer.”
Choral competition „Gallus Maribor” takes place every second year and always gathers best choirs from all around the world. The choirs are carefully evaluated by their achievements, artistic quality an repertoire and only then are invited to participate. This competition is one of six European Choral Grand Prix events and this year choirs from Sweden, Indonesia, Slovenia, USA, Ireland, Germany and Latvia took part in it.
Competition program director Mihela Jagodic who organizes international choral competition already for ten years, acknowledged that in her and jury’s opinion the performance and musical quality of the choirs that were nominated to participate in the Grand Prix of “Gallus Maribor 2015” was equal to that in European Choral Grand Prix grand finale.
We offer you to listen to choir’s performance of Ēriks Ešenvalds’ composition “Northern Lights” in the Grand Prix :
Mixed choir “Maska” invites everyone to spend Easter Monday in a musical atmosphere. Choir will be hosting a concert, performing the program it has prepared for “13th International Choral Competition Gallus Maribor 2015” that is a part of The European Grand Prix for Choral Singing that will take place in Maribor, Slovenia.
Seven mixed, one male, one female choirs and three vocal groups will be competing for the main prize – chance to participate in The European Grand Prix for Choral Singing 2016 final. These music groups originate from all around the world – Slovenia, Indonesia, USA, Sweden, Ireland and Latvia, which will be represented by Mixed Choir “Maska” and Mixed choir Sōla of the Latvian Academy of Culture.
We invite everyone to attend our concert that will take place on 6th of April 15:00 in the Great Hall of Babīte Center of Cultural Education. In this concert you will have the possibility to hear out the program that “Maska” has prepared for this competition, that includes variety of music from different ages, nations and composers.
Celebrating the year’s brightest holiday, Mixed choir MASKA and its conductor Jānis OZOLS invites everyone to concert ZieMASKAsvētki (in English – ChristMASKAs) that will take place on 20th of December at 18:00 in Riga New St. Gertrude church. The concert will bring the audience a beautiful combination of instrumental and vocal sounds that shall create new and unheard-of musical nuances, which will definitely create a warm feeling right before the holiday.
In this year’s concert choir MASKA will be accompanied by young guitar master Gints SMUKAIS, who is playing his guitar in the style of finger percussion guitar play that expands the sound of a single instrument into polyphonic sound.
Gints’ guitar play will be heard in several solo compositions as well as together with the choir in the new masterpiece written specially for choir MASKA by beloved Laura JĒKABSONE /Latvian Voices/ meant for a mixed choir, guitar and soloists – Xmas Medley. The composer describes the upcoming first performance as follows: It will be like a musical trip around the world in Santa’s sleigh, visiting France, Ukraine, Venezuela, Israel, South Africa, England, eventually coming back to Latvia, having collected the most beautiful solstice songs from all the nations.
Also a very special moment will be the first performance of a new composition for mixed choir and soloists “Doma iet…” written by SHIPSI (Jānis ŠIPKĒVICS) /Instrumenti/. This a capella piece is also written specially for choir MASKA with lyrics by one of greatest Latvian poets – Rainis. Jānis Šipkēvics is known not only for his participation in group “Instrumenti” and a performance of popular music, but also for the fact that his musical journey started by getting a degree in academic music and conducting, which has always had a place in his heart. A combination of all his experiences can be felt in the new composition.
The concert program also includes compositions of world’s masters of choral music, as well as well-known and loved local composers, including Andris SĒJĀNS, Kristaps Šoriņš and Laura JĒKABSONE.
Tickets are available in all “Biļešu Paradīze” sales points and www.bilesuparadize.lv
See you in ChristMASKAs!
At the end of 2014 third kokle (traditional Latvian string instrument) music festival “Gaismas ceļā” will take place in several locations around the state. Festival will bring different sounds and colors to the Advent season, bringing concerts to regions – Aizkraukle and Babīte and closing the festival in Riga – the Great Guild.
Youth choir MASKA is very proud to have been invited to be a part of such a wonderful project that will bring together 360 kokle players from all around the country that are from different age groups but together will create a magic sound. The festival also has involved well-known composers who have created compositions specially for kokle.
MASKA will joining 360 kokle players in the performance of a 5-part-composition Advent Story that was created specially for choir MASKA and Kokle ensemble BALTI from Babīte by vocal group’s Latvian Voices leader and MASKA’s choir master Laura JĒKABSONE.
The concerts will take place on:
30th of November at 17:00 in Babīte Center of Cultural Education
7th of December at 18:00 in Riga Great Guild
See you in the concerts!
From 25th of October till 6th of November MASKA was in Spain, where it gave several concerts in cities all over Basque country, as well as we took part in the 46th Tolosa Choral contest, which is one of six European Choral Grand Prix events. After two contest stages, first of which was Polyphony, and second – Folklore, Youth Choir MASKA took the 2nd place. We lost only to Female Choir of Kiev Glier Institute of Music. 3rd place went to female choir Aurum from Spain. It’s significant that both mixed choirs and choirs of equal voices were evaluated in the same competition – such system exists in the contest only for the second year. It means that MASKA achieved the highest evaluation in the mixed choir competition.
MASKA’s artistic director Jānis Ozols comments on choir’s achievements: “Overall I am happy with the choir’s performance in the competition. Of course, 2nd place is always a bit painful experience, because it means that there was only something very little missing to get the win! However, looking back at other Latvian choirs’ experience in this competition, I have to admit that our performance has been very successful, since not always the best Latvian choirs have ended up winning the Tolosa contest. And considering the mixed choirs in the contest – MASKA was the best of them, and I am very pleased with that!”
Before and after the contest MASKA gave in different cities and towns all over Basque country, including Tafalla, Zumaia, San Sebastian, Pamplona, Getxo and Bera, which turns out to be the widest concert tour in choir’s 15-year-history. Concerts in churches and concert halls were well attended. The auditory especially appreciated Basque songs that MASKA performed however also Latvian choral music and traditional “Pūt vējiņi” in the conclusion of the concert were received with standing ovations.
MASKA expresses gratitude to everyone for the support and love that we felt from the supporters at every moment. There are several concerts planned till the end of the year. We kindly ask you to follow the information in our webpage www.korismaska.lv, Facebook profile, Twitter and other social media. See you very soon!
Youth Choir MASKA has spent the end of summer and beginning of autumn preparing for the 46th Tolosa Choral Contest, which is one of only six European Choral Grand Prix competitions. MASKA will be competing in two categories – Polyphony and Folklore – performing a variety of Latvian, Lithuanian, English and Basque choral compositions. In additions, MASKA will perform concerts in six cities around Basque country, where the choir shall present the contest repertoire, supplementing it with compositions that have become MASKA’s proven values.
Before leaving for Spain, our conductor JĀNIS OZOLS and Youth Choir MASKA invites everyone who enjoys choral music to see us before this utmost important contest, as well as to experience our new home – Babīte Center of Cultural Education (Babīte Music School)* that was opened only on 1st of September.
We will be delighted to see you on 24th of October at 19:00 in the Great Hall of Babīte Center of Cultural Education.
* Address – Jūrmalas iela 14A, Piņķi (click to open a map)
If you are active on Facebook, let us know that you are coming to the concert.
One season has ended and the new season is here.
This is the best time to join Youth choir MASKA
The audition for the potential singers is taking place on:
15th of August at 18:00
in Babīte Secondary School (Jūrmalas iela 17, Piņķi)
+371 2 6367245
+371 2 6459392
8th World Choir Games took place from 9th till 19th of July in Riga. Also Youth Choir MASKA participated in these games, taking part in two competition categories. In total 460 choirs from all around the world were competing for the prizes.
At first MASKA had the chance to participate in Mixed Choirs Category (C9), where MASKA received a Gold Medal, took honorable 2nd place in the Category and got the best-ever result out of any Latvian choirs that had participated in World Choir games – 96.88 points.
A week later MASKA participated in the Folklore Category (C28), where we won and were named Champions of 8th World Choir Games. We also received a Gold Medal and got 92.38 points. Once again it was proven that Latvians are able to show their folk songs in such manner that the audience from any place in the world could feel it and understand it.
We express our gratitude to Riga2014 who were the ones that presented us the opportunity to participate in these Games. Great thanks also go out to the organizers of the event, because they made it possible to see the choirs and music from so many different places here in Riga.
Of course the biggest thank you goes to our supporters, fans, friends and families. To everyone who believed in us and supported us – THANK YOU!
Mixed choir «MASKA» is one of the best mixed amateur choirs in Latvia. Choir proudly represents Babīte municipality and Latvia by taking part in international choral contests and performing in different concerts. Choir «MASKA» is glad to collaborate with the best Latvian musicians, including vocal group «Latvian Voices» and instrumental group «Xylem Trio». Every time when creating a new program, always at least several pieces created by Latvian composers are included that helps to promote Latvian choral music both locally and globally. Choir «MASKA» and conductor Jānis Ozols is a creative community with its own charm and style that is characterized by musicality, movement towards the goal and daring to be different.
Most important facts:
Jānis Ozols (1980) is one of the well-recognized and promising new conductors in Latvia and is also known as one of the former vocal group “Cosmos” singers.
Jānis started to obtain his musical education in Emīls Dārziņš Music School, later continuing it in Riga Cathedral Choir School’s class of choir conducting. He acquired a bachelor’s degree in Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music also in the class of choir conducting with the professor Sigvards Kļava and a master’s degree in choir conducting was supported by professor Jānis Zirnis. During 2013 and 2014 Jānis Ozols studied symphony orchestra conducting in Royal College of Music, Stockholm.
While being the baritone singer of the vocal a cappella group “Cosmos”, Jānis has worked along with world known musicians. This includes master classes and concerts with Bobby McFerrin, “The Real Group”, “Take 6”, “The Manhattan Transfer”, “The Hilliard Ensemble”, “The New York Voices” and the Icelandic music icon Björk. “Cosmos” were the winners of contest New Wave in 2004. They have attained several prestige prizes and awards through different contests and events including the Great Latvian Music Award in 2009.
Besides singing in “Cosmos” Jānis has proven him as one of the most talented Latvian conductors. He has reached notable achievements and won many prizes in Latvia and abroad. Jānis is conducting choir “Maska” which he established in 2000 and that is now one of the best amateur choirs in Latvia. Jānis has also proven his talent by taking the honourable 3rd place in the International Conductor Contest of Jazeps Vitols in 2009 as well as by attaining the unique and unprecedented prize of “The Best Young Conductor” in the 49th International Choir Singing Contest “Seghizzi” in Italy for which he was invited to take part in the jury in 2011.
Jānis takes active role in the field of academic music in Latvia, being the conductor and artistic director of several choirs and the head conductor of Riga region choirs of the XXV Latvian Song festival.
Jānis does not stop at the achieved and constantly keeps developing himself. His musical view and interpretation often differs from the usual. Being open to creative innovations and musical experiments is what highlights him among other conductors and helps in fulfilling his own ideas which are highly appreciated both by music professionals and lovers.
Jānis is married, a father of two, and proud owner of two cats. He also manages to squeeze in his hobby in the tight schedule of his – Jānis likes to cook and publishes his culinary achievements in his blog “Restaurant at Home and not only…” (dirigents.blogspot.com)
Laura Jēkabsone (1985) is a diverse artist, who is well-known as the leader of vocal group “Latvian Voices” and composer.
Laura started her musical education in Jāzeps Mediņš Secondary Music School where in 2005 graduated from class of choir conducting. She continued her studies in Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music in 2009 acquiring a bachelor’s degree in music education.
In addition to the academic education, Laura has attended master classes in choir conducting with Rafael Immos (Switzerland) and a capella singing with King Singers (United Kingdom), The Hilliard Ensemble (United Kingdom) and Kim Nazarian (New York Voices, USA).
Laura has been a part of Latvian academic and choir music for a quite a long time, already since year 2000 working as a music educator and conducting various collectives. First one that Laura took the lead of was Tilža House of Culture children’s vocal study “Evrili”. It was followed by becoming artistic director of E. Kauliņš Lielvārde High school mixed choir “Bel Canto”, meanwhile taking the leadership of Skrīveri Culture centre women vocal ensemble “Akcents”, where she is still working. Laura was a music educator of preparatory class in Riga Cathedral Choir School. Since 2006 Laura is an integral part of choir “Maska”.
In 2009 Laura together with six other genial singers founded vocal ensemble “Latvian Voices” that definitely has a special place in her life. Most of “Latvian Voices” original music is created by Laura. Together with the ensemble she has won Vokal Total contest in Graz, Austria (2011), A Capella festival in Leipzig, Germany (2012) and 7th World Choir Games in Cincinnati, USA (2012).
Besides signing, Laura Jēkabsone is a recognized composer both locally in Latvia and globally. She has won vocal group’s Amarcord (Germany) arrangement contest (2011) for an arrangement of Latvian folk song “Pūt Vējiņi”. Laura was also nominated for Contemporary A Capella Award for Best folk/world song (2014) and has got into the final of International Jan Sibelius composition contest (2015). She is creating original compositions for a variety of musical collectives. Choir “Maska” is proud to perform Laura’s original music and choir’s favourite piece “Dindaru Dandaru” has been included in the collection “Latvian Voices: Dziesmu izlase I” (2015), where Laura’s a capella compositions for women choirs and ensembles have been compiled. In 2015 Laura was asked to create a special composition for XI Latvian School and Youth Song Festival’s concert of sacred music “Prayer for Latvia”, for what she created an arrangement of most popular Lithuanian church melody “Marija, Marija”. The latest compositions created by Laura was done in cooperation with Swedish a capella group “The Real Group”, creating an arrangement of Latvian folk song “Tumša nakte, zaļa zāle”.
In the spare time of music world, Laura spends time with her friends, doing many other creative activities. Most significant of them is creating short video clips that has transformed into a professional form, since Laura has become an anchor person (“Hobby Saturday”, TV360). When Laura is alone, you will always find a book by her side.
Eduards Vācietis (1989) has a bachelor’s degree from The Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, vocal class of Barbro Marklund-Petersone. In 2009 Eduards graduated from Riga Cathedral Choir School, vocal singing class of Valda Tračuma.
Already in his childhood, Eduards proved himself as a talented and perspective singer, taking part in V.A. Mozart’s “Magic flute” in The Latvian National Opera (he was one of the three geniuses). Eduards has participated in master classes lead by Association of Latvian vocal pedagogues. 1st prize in Alīna Vāne international vocalist contest (2008), 3rd prize in State vocalist contests in Daugavpils (2008). Participated in Stuttgart Bach academy’s project, which was lead by Helmuth Rilling, carrying out “War requiem” by Benjamin Britten (2007). Participated in the staging of W.A.Mozart’s “Don Jon” in Wilhelm theatre in Stuttgart (2013) as well as in Oslo Opera festival (2013). Has participated in various master classes lead by Sir Thomas Allen (The United Kingdom), Anita Garanča (Latvia), David L. Jones (USA), Emma Kirkby (The United Kingdom), Benton Hess (USA) and others.
In 2013 gave F. Schubert vocal music concerts in Rundāle and Riga. Eduards also has cooperated with “Latvijas Koncerti”, singing solos of “Elijah” by F. Mendelssohn Bartholdy, “Carmina Burana” by K. Orff and others. Has participated in dubbing the BBC series “War and piece”. His debut as a baritone in large form genre to Latvian audience could be considered the role of Pontius Pilate in the stating of John Passion by Andris Veismanis in 2016.
Since August 2013 Eduards is an artist and soloist in The State Choir Latvija, as well as teacher in vocal department of Riga Cathedral Choir School.
During his leisure time Eduards tries to be active – be it hiking, enjoying the nature or sports such as floor-ball and basketball. The long and dark winter evenings are spent with friends-enthusiasts “screwing” and reanimating old motorcycles, so during the summer the results can be enjoyed and summer breeze caught driving the bikes.
Tel: +371 26459392