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International Choral Scene

In portrait: Ēriks Ešenvalds

A luminary of choral music endows the world with magical moments

The Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds is one of the most sought-after composers of his time. His works are performed around the world, from Europe to the USA and Australia. Some of the most popular compositions are "Northern Lights", a commissioned work for the Choir of the West (USA), "Nordic Light", a multimedia symphony premiered in 2016 by the Berlin Radio Choir and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, "Stars" for mixed choir and water glasses, and of course "My Song", the official song for the World Choir Games 2014 in Riga.

Born in 1977 in Priekule, Latvia, Ešenvalds studied at the Latvian Baptist Theological Seminary (1995-97) and graduated from the Latvian Academy of Music (2004). Numerous masterclasses and the collaboration with the State Choir Latvija made him the artist that he is today. In 2011 he received the two-year position of the Fellow Commoner of the Creative Arts at Trinity College, Cambridge University.

For his compositions Ešenvalds received numerous awards, including three times the Latvian Grand Music Award (2005, 2007 and 2015). His choral work "The Legend of the Walled-in Woman" was awarded the first place in 2006 by the Forum of the International Music Council (IMC), the International Rostrum of Composers.

"… an inventive Latvian composer with an ear for a good hook and a knack for evocative effects." — The New York Times

Through his collaboration with renowned choirs from all over the world such as the Latvian Radio Choir, The King's Singers, Salt Lake Vocal Artists, Choir of Trinity College Melbourne, The University of Mississippi Concert Singers and the Berlin Radio Choir, his works achieved international recognition and fame. "Listening to my songs from so many choirs from so many different countries, these moments are simply magical to me," he said in the following interview with INTERKULTUR.

Ēriks Ešenvalds’ 2017 calendar is filled with numerous projects around the world, including Berlin. For the §Fest der Chorkulturen§ and the affiliated Grand Prix of Nations Berlin 2017 he composed the official festival hymn "Proclamation” that will premiere in Berlin performed by the international participants, the Berlin Radio Choir and 120 singers of the Sing Along Workshop under the direction of Nicolas Fink.