Seven individuals, ensemble earn music awards

Seven individuals and a chamber ensemble have been singled out for their contributions to Latvian music and have been named the recipients of the 2003 Grand Music Award (Lielā mūzikas balva), the nation’s highest award for musical achievement.

Winners of the 2003 award, which will be presented March 4 in a ceremony in Rīga, are:

  • The chamber ensemble Altera Veritas for its interpretations of contemporary Latvian music. Formed in 2000, the ensemble includes accordeon player Aldis Jurisons, flautist Andis Klučnieks, and kokle players Ieva Lapiņa and Anda Zaborovska.
  • Aleksandrs Antoņenko, a soloist with the Latvian National Opera, for his performances in five operas, including Georges Bizet’s “Carmen,” Giacomo Puccini’s “La Bohème,” Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Aleko,” Giuseppe Verdi’s “Requiem” and Richard Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman.”
  • Organist Iveta Apkalna for her concerts in Latvia and abroad. Her first album, simply titled Live, was released during 2003 by the German label Hera. Apkalna’s second album, Touch Down in Riga, is expected to be released in May by the German label Querstand.
  • Choir director Terēze Broka, for lifetime achievement. Broka was born in 1925 and is a music teacher, directs the folk choir Latgale from the Daugavpils region and has directed choirs during national song festivals. In 2000, she also was awarded the Order of Three Stars, Latvia’s highest civilian honor.
  • Latvian National Opera ballet soloist Margarita Demjanoka for her roles in Juris Karlsons’s “Sidraba šķidrauts” (The Silver Veil), Sergei Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet” and Igor Stravinsky’s “Firebird.”
  • Composer Rihards Dubra for his “Te Deum,” performed during the 23rd Latvian Song Festival’s concert of spiritual music.
  • Musicologist Zane Gailīte for her research and publication of Par Rīgas mūziku un kumēdiņu spēli.
  • Choir director Māris Sirmais for programs in 2003, including during the 6th International Festival of Spiritual Music, the 23rd Latvian Song Festival’s concert of spiritual music and several concerts by the choir Kamēr.

The Grand Music Award was created in 1993 on the initiative of composer Raimonds Pauls, who at the time was Latvia’s minister of culture. Award winners are determined by a jury that attends concerts throughout the year and meets regularly to discuss what members are hearing.

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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