Sax quartet combines classics with the modern

A recent question in the daily “Brain” quiz on asked what instrument the quartet n[ex]t is known for playing. The cello, I guessed. But I was wrong: The answer is the saxophone.

The Rīga-based n[ex]t today consists of Inga Meijere on the soprano and alto saxophone, Jelena Kovaļenko on the alto saxophone, Arnita Akmentiņa on the tenor sax and Kristīne Avota on the baritone. When n[ex]t began in 2002, members included Meijere, Akmentiņa, founder Ilze Paegle and Madara Matroze.

The group’s name, as explained on its Web site, emphasizes “ex,” as in the past, and “next,” as in the future. In other words, n[ex]t plays compositions by classical composers (ex-composers?), as well as works by modern composers. The women also throw in jazz standards and music from movie soundtracks.

And, based on the video and audio clips posted on the quartet’s site, they have fun performing.

The foursome has yet to release an album, but has been laying down a number of tracks that could possibly end up in a recording, Meijere said in an e-mail.

Meanwhile, the four women have been busy touring around Latvia and abroad. Most recently they appeared in Estonia, but also have played in concerts in countries such as Finland, Germany, Norway and Russia.

For more on n[ex]t, visit the quartet’s Web site,, where you can also hear samples of the group’s music.


Saxophone quartet n[ex]t includes (from left to right) Inga Meijere, Arnita Akmentiņa, Jelena Kovaļenko and Kristīne Avota.

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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