The festival opens with a performance of Cello Concerto No. 2 (‘Presence’) by Pēteris Vasks (1946), who is celebrating his 70th birthday this year. The cellist Kristaps Bergs has previously performed the cello solo part in a concert abroad in front of the composer, earning high praise from him. Kristaps Bergs is appearing with the DD Orchestra; founded by Jānis Liepiņš, the ensemble has previously focused on the music of young Latvian composers in a series of concerts.

Pēteris Vasks has said the following about his Second Cello Concerto ‘Presence’, a dedication to the world-famous cellist Sol Gabetta: ‘Through cantilena […] and also the contrasts that symbolize the darkness that still follows every one of us – it is the completion of the whole course of life: from silence, from the arrival, through maturity and onwards to the departure as a new beginning. Similarly to the rest of my work, I am not a detached observer here: I am present in this life with my own temperament, my doubts, my faith and conviction, but above all – my love.’

A prize winner at a number of international music contests, Kristaps Bergs has performed at the Carnegie Hall in New York, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Musikverein and Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Royal Albert Hall and Royal Festival Hall in London and the Suntory Hall in Tokyo.

In the 2014/2015 season Jānis Liepiņš, the artistic director of the Kamēr… Youth Choir since 2012, started his collaboration with the Latvian National Opera, where he conducts Verdi’s ‘Il trovatore’, Puccini’s ‘Le Villi. Gianni Schicchi’, Strauss’ ‘Die Fledermaus’, Glazunov’s ‘Raymonda’ and Prokofiev’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’. Liepiņš’ work has won him the 2013 Grand Music Award in the Young Musician of the Year category and the Annual Diena Newspaper Prize in Culture in 2013.

Kristaps Bergs, cello

DD Orchestra

Conductor Jānis Liepiņš


Pēteris Vasks, Cello Concerto No. 2 ‘Presence’