Youth Choir Kamēr...
The principal conductor and artistic director of the Youth Choir Kamēr… is Aivis Greters (1993), and its vocal coaches are Jolanta Strikaite-Lapiņa and Ansis Sauka. The choir was founded in 1990 by conductor Māris Sirmais, and was led by Jānis Liepiņš from 2012 to 2018.
Since its foundation, the choir has won dozens of diplomas, awards, and trophies at a variety of choral competitions. These include a prize at the Marktoberdorf Chamber Choir Competition in Germany in 1999, three European Grands Prix for Choral Singing in Gorizia (2004) and Arezzo, Italy (2013, 2019), as well as three championship prizes and gold medals at the World Choir Olympics in Xiamen, China, in 2006. Kamēr… has twice received the Latvian Great Music Award and has won the national choir competition a total of six times.
In recent years, Kamēr… has developed programs specially commissioned for the choir. Its biggest project to date is World Sun Songs (2008), which featured 17 new choral works inspired by the sun; the project included such world-renowned composers as Sir John Tavener, Giya Kancheli, Sven-David Sandström, Leonid Desyatnikov, John Luther Adams, Stephen Leek, Dobrinka Tabakova, Ko Matsushita, and others. Other examples of this concept have included the cycles Madrigals of Love (2010), Moon Songs (2012), and Amber Songs (2014), in which several celebrated composers wrote choral miniatures on love, the moon, or arrangements of Latvian folk songs, respectively.
The choir has also actively worked toward the goal of synthesizing genres and means of expression. Examples of this effort have included scenic and choreographed performances of Jersikas derība (an oratorio by Līga Celma), The Christmas Legend (a musical tale by Ēriks Ešenvalds), and The Canticles of the Holy Wind (a large-scale scenic meditation by John Luther Adams). The choir’s diversity was on full display in its 25-year anniversary concert in May 2015 at the Latvian National Opera. In three commissioned song cycles, the choir showed its skill as a nuanced a cappella ensemble (Ešenvalds’ In Bird’s Sleep), as a powerful stage group (Raimonds Tiguls’ Legend About Us), and as a splendid collaborator with a professional orchestra (Gabriel Jackson’s Spring Rounds).
To celebrate the special cooperation with artist Ilmārs Blumbergs who created the logo and most of the album art for the choir, a unique concert-exhibition Kalpotājs. Blumbergs. Kamēr... was held in 2018 at Rīgas mākslas telpa. The world premieres of the compositions in this album were enriched with artwork of Ilmārs Blumbergs as well as stage direction by Viesturs Kairišs, choreography by Elīna Lutce and Ģirts Bisenieks, and light design by Egils Kupčs.
Other stage partners of Kamēr... have included Gidon Kremer, Marta Sudraba, the orchestra Kremerata Baltica, Nicolas Altstaedt, Peter Schreier, Yuri Bashmet, Julius Berger, Maxim Rysanov, and many more.
Almost all of the choir's original music as well as various choral classics in the choir's repertoire have been recorded in a series of highly praised CDs. The latest of these are Amber Songs, 17 arrangements of Latvian folk songs by international composers, Pelēcis. Plakidis. Kamēr..., which celebrated the anniversaries of composers Georgs Pelēcis and Pēteris Plakidis, and the recording of the Kalpotājs. Blumbergs. Kamēr... program that was made in spring 2019.
Over the last twenty-five years, Kamēr... has achieved its special sound by cultivating its own signature performance style. Both full emotional surrender, a characteristic of amateur singers, as well as the strictest criteria for vocal quality, are of equal importance for the choir. This is expressed in the ellipsis encoded in the choir's name, Kamēr..., which means "while" in English. While we are still young, anything is possible...