Latvian bassist wins ARD Music Competition

A young Latvian double bass musician has survived two weeks of competition in Munich, Germany, to win this year’s ARD Music Competition. Gunārs Upatnieks also won the audience prize, competition organizers announced.

Upatnieks was one of 94 double bass players who applied to the competition. Only 39 were admitted by contest officials.

Competition began Aug. 31 and advanced to the Sept. 8 finals, when competitors had to perform with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks.

Stanislau Anishchanka of Belarus won second prize in double bass, while Olivier Thiery of France and Ivan Zavgorodniy of Ukraine shared third prize.

Musicians also competed in voice, violin and harp.

All winners will now perform in a series of concerts in Munich: Sept. 16 with the Münchner Rundfunkorchester; Sept. 17 with the Munich Chamber Orchestra; and Sept. 18 with Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks.

Upatnieks, who studied at the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music in Rīga, has done well in other international music competitions. He won the solo competition in the 2007 International Society of Bassists competiton and took first prize in the 2008 Sperger International Competition in Ludwigslust, Germany.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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