Ešenvalds’ multimedia symphony “Ziemeļu gaisma” ready for world premiere

For the past four years, Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds has been working on a multimedia symphony about the Aurora Borealis phenomenon, entitled ‘Ziemeļu gaisma’ (Nordic Lights).

For research purposes, Ešenvalds travelled to Scandinavia, Iceland, Greenland, and Alaska, where he met with indigenous peoples, and filmed them talking about their beliefs and legends about the Northern Lights. During his travels, he met with 23 storytellers and, with the help of a professional film crew, recorded more than 40 different myths and songs.

Ešenvalds also spent time in Tromso University in Norway to study the Northern Lights, and there began a collaboration with Kjetil Skogli, an ‘Aurora chaser’. Skogli’s video clips are used as part of the performance of the work.

The world premiere of the work is April 27, 2015 at the Latvian National Opera. Performers include the Liepāja Symphony Orchestra, the State Choir Latvija, and conductor Māris Sirmais.

Worldwide performances are planned starting in the autumn of 2015.

For more information on the performance, please see the video preview  (in English), as well as the composer’s website.

Egils Kaljo is an American-born Latvian from the New York area . Kaljo began listening to Latvian music as soon as he was able to put a record on a record player, and still has old Bellacord 78 rpm records lying around somewhere.

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