Throughout the years the festival has become one of the most exciting musical experiences, performing new understandings on symphonic, electro acoustic and chamber music. Last year (2010) the festival began a new tradition – next to the innovative musical pieces the well known masters stood out to be presented by contemporary artists. 2011 passes in a sign of the composer Gundaris Pone (1932 – 1994), whose artistic heritage is somehow rarely acknowledged in Latvia.


His creative works have gained international recognition, and he was the winner of the Kennedy Center Friedheim Award in 1982. Pone Ensemble for New Music, founded by Gundaris Pone in 1974, is still active and performs contemporary chamber music. The music of Pone was just as contradictory as his personality. Probably this was due to the composer’s destiny – he emigrated from Latvia soon after WWII and lived in Italy and the U.S., where he absorbed all the musical traditions of the time. Still, being a true representative of the avant-garde, he managed to include national themes in his works. Pone claimed that ‘the composer would be the strongest if he found his roots.’ And this is what portrays Gundaris Pone – the necessity of Latvian identification. This is implemented through the intensity of the beautiful, silent aesthetics and rationality.

Latvian New Music Days 2011 opened on March 4 with the concert program “Es nāku no tālas zemes” (I come from a distant land), where three compositions by composers Gundaris Pone, Imants Kalnins and Marina Gribincika were played. The opening night marked the further performances of Latvian high-level composers, such as Maija Einfelde, Anitra Tumsevica, Valdis Muktupavels, Peteris Vasks and many more. The festival also introduces top quality performers: Sonora Vaice, chamber ensemble Sinfonietta Riga, the Liepaja Symphony Orchestra are just some of them. And if that doesn’t convince you about the significance of the festival, it must be said that various concerts will be seen at Spikeri Concert Hall, Riga’s Great Guild, Blackheads’ House, Latvian Society House, Latvian Music Academy and Ventspils’ Concert Hall – all the greatest concert venues in the country.