Three different music festivals dedicated to the music of Johan Sebastian Bach will ring in the spring season of the European Capital of Culture Year in Riga. From March 20 to April 31, the fifth annual "Windstream" spring music festival will be held, which is being organized by the professional brass orchestra "Riga". The festival is traditionally organized in tandem with the start of the astronomical spring season.
This year, the "Windstream" festival will be dedicated to the music of Johan Sebastian Bach, and this year’s edition will be called "Windstream 2014 under the sign of Bach". The culmination of the festival will take place on March 31 at the Great Guild Hall, where a concert in honor of the 329th anniversary of Johann Sebastian Bach will be held. The concert will feature performances of arrangements of Bach for wind instruments, commissioned to Latvian composers. Bach dance suites and instrumental music will come to the forefront of this concert, where musicians will aim at creating modern sound of brass orchestra and the rhythmic design to align it with the XXI century.
The "Windstream" festival will continue in April with several concerts as part of its International Composers’ Competition, where modern adaptations of Bach’s music will be performed. The competition’s jury will arrive in April, as well as the authors of the six best musical pieces selected for the competition. Three concerts will then be held – a Jury Concert, a Final Round Concert and the Awards Ceremony and Laureate Concert.
Meanwhile, on March 21, the annual spring series of the Bach Chamber Music Festival will once again be held in Riga where audiences will have the opportunity to hear seldom performed interpretations of J.S. Bach's chamber music, including the compositions that were produced by the great artist's sons and contemporaries, as well as the music inspired by Bach's personality.
Furthermore, a concert series called "Bach.Passion.Riga" will be held in the Latvian capital from April 4 to 18, which will present the most significant passions in the sacred music genre. Johan Sebastian Bach’s compositions are unparalleled in courage, depth and the strength of their philosophic conception. The great influence and energy of Bach and the power of his music have stimulated minds and driven the birth of ideas. His music in Riga’s places of worship will bring audiences closer to the essence of living. The participation of some of Europe’s top Baroque musicians in this project proves that Riga, as European Capital of Culture, belongs in Europe’s historical culture space.
Riga’s three largest churches will host the "Bach. Passion. Riga" concert series on the three Fridays preceding Easter.
The concert series "Bach. Passion. Riga" is a pet idea of conductor Sigvards Kļava – it is an international project run by the Latvian Radio Choir, and participants are not only top Baroque musicians from all over Europe, but also the well-known "Sinfonietta Riga" orchestra. Along with the inspired and succinct "St. Mark’s Passion" by the Baroque genius of Bach, the first concert of the series will boast the première of "Passion of Luke" by the Latvian composer of international renown, Ēriks Ešenvalds.