“Riga Jazz Stage” Set to Surprise with High Artistic Quality

“Riga Jazz Stage” Set to Surprise with High Artistic Quality
Kaspars Garda, Riga 2014 . „Riga Jazz Stage” press conference
The international jazz artist contest “Riga Jazz Stage 2014” will take place at the “Splendid Palace” cinema in Riga from the 3rd to the 5th of April. The festival is one of the events in the “Amber Vein” thematic line of the European Capital of Culture Programme of Riga this year.

During a press conference on the 19th of March, the festival’s Artistic Director Māris Briežkalns told the media that the “Riga Jazz Stage” contest was marking its tenth anniversary this year (the first contest, held in 2004, was won by Intars Busulis). Furthermore, unlike the past contests, this year’s “Riga Jazz Stage” has become an international event, and the organisers are proud that participants from Australia and the United States had signed up on the first day the applications were open. “After hearing the applicants’ performances, we decided that 28 would perform in the finals. The contest has never been at such a high level as this year. Of course, it may be a little hard for the jury to hear 28 performers on the first night, but on the other hand, the performers will each present just one composition."

 

Māris Briežkalns emphasised that the winners of the contest will have an opportunity to perform at the “Rīgas ritmi” festival, the Stockholm Jazz Festival and the “606” jazz club in London, go on tours and suchlike. “In fact it was the “Riga 2014” foundation that encouraged us to continue the tradition for organising contests; it’s not easy at all – it is not a concert. Besides, it’s important that music organisers are members of the jury as they can see and understand the best; which performer is a talent and which is not. Likewise, the “Riga Jazz Stage” is different from other contests in that contestants sing not just for the jury, but for the public – which is the true jury of the performance.”

The “Riga 2014” Head of Programming, Aiva Rozenberga said, in turn, that she was very pleased that the “Riga Jazz Stage” was a part of the “Riga 2014” programme this year. “What does the “Amber Vein” have to do with jazz and music? The answer is simple: amber is music and amber has a voice.

Amber has been the subject of multiple songs in various cultures for at least a few thousand years. Just as any piece of amber is unique, so is jazz with its art of improvisation that affords great freedom.”

Aiva Rozenberga also reminded the media that the “Riga 2014” thematic line “Amber Vein” drew inspiration from the ancient Amber Road that connected nations and countries. “Amber was one of our first currencies, but now we interpret it completely differently. Namely, today amber is a certain cultural currency that we can exchange, share and present to each other. That is why the expansive presence of artists in this programme is exactly what we had hoped for – that we would be able to get to know other artists and cultures, as well as show ourselves off at a high level. Therefore I thank the organisers and jury of the “Riga Jazz Stage” for setting the bar so high!”

The organisers informed the public that over forty jazz performers had signed up for the contest this year to perform in two categories: “Vocal” and “Saxophone”. In the final, 26 jazz talents from fifteen countries will perform and their performances will be assessed by a competent jury – musicians, producers and festival directors from several countries: Onder Focan (Turkey), Magnus Palmquist, (Sweden), Steve Rubie (Great Britain), Artis Sīmanis and Maestro Raimonds Pauls (Latvia), China Moses (United States) and others.

Vocalists Rūta Dūduma and Kristīne Prauliņa, as well as saxophonists Toms Rudzinskis and Dāvis Jurka will represent Latvia in the contest.

More information about the contest is on the "Riga Jazz Stage” website.

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