The 8th JVLMA Contemporary Music Festival “deciBels” is approaching

The 8th JVLMA Contemporary Music Festival “deciBels” JVLMA Contemporary Music Festival “deciBels” will take place for the 8th time from March 21- 26 in Riga, Jazeps Vitols Latvian Academy of Music and Riga Art Space. This year's festival will focus on the Latvian Radio Choir's performance (March 22), the British pianist Jonathan Powell's marathon-concert (March 23), the spatial sound concert (March 26), and the JVLMA and RDKS Big Band concert under the direction of Swedish composer and conductor Mats Holmqvist (March 24). The festival’s special guests will be composers Justė Janulytė (Lithuania / Italy), Mantautas Krukauskas (Lithuania), improvising musician Theodore Parker (Estonia) and jazz trumpet player Sebastian Sołdrzyński (Poland). The festival comprises numerous lectures and master classes with a special emphasis on the exploration of the spatial sound possibilities.

The festival will begin on March 21st at 18:00 with a concert of the laureates of the Third Contemporary Chamber Music Interpreters Competition “Skat(!)Logs” at the JVLMA LMT Chamber Hall. One of the goals of this Competition, similar to "deciBels", is to encourage the engagement of the JVLMA students with contemporary music. Ticket price - 3 EUR.

On March 22nd at 19:00 in the Great Hall of JVLMA the Latvian Radio Choir will perform the concert programme "Aquarelle" - five national and international premieres conducted by five young JVLMA Bachelor and Master programme students Anastasija Kildiša, Patriks Kārlis Stepe, Shino Yamasaki, Matīss Pēteris Circenis and Oskars Jeske. The guest of the festival, composer Justė Janulytė has created the sound world of her composition “Aquarelle” by drawing parallels between the nebulous contours of the musical structure and overlaps of watercolour hues without distinct beginning/end outlines. Another guest of the festival, Mantautas Krukauskas, drew inspiration from the traditional Lithuanian church singing for the composition "The Prayer" for choir and immersive live electronics. In Krukauskas' work, voice sounds will be processed and played through a spatial sound system. The concert will also feature the premieres of works by the young composition students of the JVLMA Annija Zariņa, Henrijs Poikāns and Ernests Valts Circenis. Admission is free, please book your seats at

On March 23rd at 10:00-21:00 in the Great Hall of the JVLMA, the British pianist Jonathan Powell will perform the variations ““Sequentia Cyclica super Dies Iræ ex Missa pro Defunctis ad Clavicembaliusum” by the remarkable, but locally relatively unknown English-Indian composer Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji (1892-1988). This tremendous opus takes eight and a half hours to perform. Therefore, the concert will last for the entire day, with small breaks: from 10:00 to 11:30 theme and variations No. 1 ˗ No. 4; at 11:50 – 13:40 variation No. 5 - No. 13; at 15:30 – 16:50 variation No. 14 - No. 21; at 17:10 – 18:40 variation No. 22; at 19:00 - 20:50 Variation No. 23 - No. 27. The ticket price is 7 EUR, and the listeners may join the concert at any time. Pianist Jonathan Powell is a passionate performer of the music of the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, especially Russian and Eastern European composers, however he is also a devoted contemporary music advocate and has premiered works of several notable contemporary composers. Sorabji's music is a passion of the pianist and he has included it in more than eighty solo concert programs. The monumental “Sequentia Cyclica” has been released in seven CDs and won the “Deutsche Schallplattenkritik” award in 2021.

On March 24th at 20:00 in the Riga Art Space the program “Big Band Minimalism” will feature JVLMA and RDKS Big Band with soloists Sebastian Sołdrzyński and Dāvis Jurka under the leadership of the Swedish composer and conductor Mats Holmqvist. "Big Band Minimalism" is the title of Mats Holmqvist's album, released in 2017 in collaboration with the Latvian Radio Big Band and guests Randy Brecker and Dick Oatts. In this album, music from which is going to be performed on the evening of March 24th by the JVLMA and RDKS Big Band, Holmqvist follows his own minimalist-inspired style, drawing inspiration from such composers as Steve Reich and John Adams (who have never composed for Big Band). In these opuses, Holmqvist uses classical repetitive techniques such as canons and loops, the works contain various transformations, often unexpected and surprising. Ticket price - 7 EUR.

The festival will conclude on March 26th at 19:00 in the Great Hall of JVLMA with an electroacoustic music concert titled “Ambisonics”, featuring compositions created for or adapted to the spatial sound system of 17 speakers. The specific placement of many sound sources in the Hall will direct the sound in three dimensions, providing not only the usual sound from the front, but also from behind, above and below the listener. The concert will focus on the music of the two festival guests Mantautas Krukauskas and Theodore Parker. The programme will also include the work "Hyperboreal" by Voldemars Johansons, as well as a composition for trombone and electronics "Exiguum" by the JVLMA composition student Dace Mangulsone, in which the solo part will be performed by Ance Vanaga, and works by two Norwegian composers, Tine Surel Lange and Anders Tveit.
Ticket price - 7 EUR.

The festival is supported by the State Cultural Capital Fund, the Erasmus + program, the Riga Art Space and the Culture and independent thought online magazine “Satori”.

Free entrance cards are available and tickets can be purchased ONLY in advance at the ticket offices of Biļešu paradīze, Welcome to the concerts!