Pop musicians set classical concert tour of U.S.

Members of two Latvian pop and rock music groups with classical music training have joined forces for a six-city tour of the United States, the American Latvian Youth Association has announced.

During February, Marts Kristiāns Kalniņš and Kārlis Auzāns of Autobuss debesīs and Valters Pūce and Kristaps Bergs of Melo-M will perform classical music concerts in Washington, D.C.; Cleveland, Ohio; Kalamazoo, Mich.; Chicago, Seattle and Los Angeles.

All of the musicians received their training in the Emīl Dārziņš Music High School and the Jāzeps Vītols Music Academy of Latvia. Auzāns also has studied in Cologne, Germany.

Kalniņš, son of popular Latvian composer Imants Kalniņš, is lead singer of Autobuss debesīs, a popular Latvian group formed in 1998. Last year, Autobuss debesīs visited the United States for a short tour.

Melo-M is an “instrumental cello rock” group formed in 2004 by Auzāns, who also performs with Autobuss debesīs. Pūce and Bergs are the other members of the trio. The group released its self-titled debut album in June on the Rīga-based Platforma label.

Concerts are scheduled:

  • In Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Feb. 4, in the Latvian Ev.-Lutheran Church of Washington, D.C., 400 Hurley Ave., Rockville, Md. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission is USD 25 or, for senior citizens and college students, USD 20. Children and high school studens will be admitted free. The event is sponsored by the Latvian Organizations of Washington. For further information, telephone Anita Juberte at +1 (301) 869-3127.
  • In Cleveland on Saturday, Feb. 11, in the United Latvian Ev. Lutheran Church of Cleveland, 1385 Andrews Ave., Lakewood. The charity program includes champagne and refreshments beginning at 5:30 p.m., dinner at 6 p.m. and the concert at 7 p.m., followed by a ball. Admission to the entire program is USD 50. General admission to the concert and ball is USD 25, admission for senior citizens and students is USD 20. For further information, telephone Brigita Puķite at +1 (216) 577-4370 or Franz Bauer at +1 (440) 320-5959.
  • In Kalamazoo on Sunday, Feb. 12, in the Union Bar & Grille, 125 Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo. The concert begins at 4 p.m. In advance tickets cost USD 25 for adults, USD for youth to age 21, USD 5 for children to age 13. Tickets may be ordered by credit card by telephoning the Union Bar & Grille at +1 (269) 384-6756. Ask for the “February 12th Latvian Concert.” Tickets also may be ordered by check, payable to “Kalamazoo Latvian Association,” from Viktorija Krieva, 2526 Bach Ave., Portage, MI 49024. Further information is available by telephoning from Malda Pūtele, +1 (269) 353-8320.
  • In Chicago on Saturday, Feb. 18, as part of a Valentine’s Day program and dance, in the Latvian House, 4146 N. Elston Ave., Chicago. A social hour is scheduled at 5 p.m., followed by the concert at 6 p.m., a broadcast of a Latvian hockey game at 7 p.m. and the dance at 9 p.m. General admission to the entire program is USD 35, but for ALJA members and supporters admission is USD 30. General admission to the concert is USD 25, but for ALJA members and supporters admission is USD 20. General admission to the hockey game broadcast and dance is USD 15, but for ALJA members and supporters admission is USD 10. Tables for eight persons may be reserved by contacting Vija Vīksne by e-mail at vijavara@aol.com or by telephone at +1 (310) 850-6940.
  • In Seattle on Friday, Feb. 24, in the Latvian Center, 11710 3rd Ave. N.E., Seattle.
  • In Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 26, in the Latvian Community Center, 1955 Riverside Drive, Los Angeles. The concert begins at 12:30 p.m. Admission is USD 20. Refreshments will be available by donation. For further information, telephone Vīja Vīksne at +1 (310) 850-6940.

The concert series is sponsored by the American Latvian Youth Association (Amerikas Latviešu jaunatnes apvienība, or ALJA). Further information about the concert tour is available by visiting www.alja.org.

Melo-M and Marts Kristiāns Kalniņš

The “instrumental cello rock” group Melo-M and Autobuss debesīs lead singer Marts Kristiāns Kalniņš will tour the United States in February with a program of classical music.

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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