In 1997, Austria’s legendary Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival was witness to a small revolution when, beside many distinguished musicians, the violinist Gidon Kremer presented a brand new orchestra: Kremerata Baltica, comprising 23 young players from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. From their very first concert, the Kremerata Baltica conquered the discerning audience, injecting new blood into the Festival with their exuberance, energy and joy in playing.
An educational project with a long-term vision, Kremerata Baltica was Gidon Kremer’s 50th birthday present to himself: a way of passing on his wisdom to young colleagues from the Baltic states while making no compromises on artistic standards as he nurtured and inspired musical life in the region.
The talented group of musicians developed in a few years into one of the best international chamber orchestras in the world and has cemented its international reputation in major concert venues around the world. Kremerata Baltica has played in the last 13 years in more than 50 countries, performing in 600 cities and given around 1,000 concerts in Japan, Australia, the USA, Latin America, Russia and all around Europe. It has released more than 20 CD’s and has won the Grammy Award in 2002, the ECHO prize in 2002 and the Praemium Imperiale Grant for Young Artists in 2009.
The orchestra is supported by the governments of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Its members, all outstanding musical personalities, are selected through a rigorous auditioning process and play as a stable ensemble.
Among the celebrated soloists with whom Kremerata Baltica has played are soprano Jessye Norman, pianists Mikhail Pletnev, Evgeny Kissin and Oleg Maisenberg; violinists Thomas Zehetmair and Vadim Repin; and cellists Boris Pergamenshikov and Yo Yo Ma. Conductors have included Sir Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Christoph Eschenbach, Kent Nagano, Heinz Holliger and Vladimir Ashkenazy. Each of these musicians has contributed to shaping the chamber orchestra.
Essential to Kremerata Baltica’s artistic personality is its creative approach to programming, which often looks beyond the mainstream and has given rise to numerous world premieres of works by composers such as Kancheli, Vasks, Desyatnikov and Raskatov. The orchestra’s wide-ranging and carefully chosen repertoire is also showcased in its numerous and much-praised CD recordings, such as “Eight Seasons”, pairing Antonio Vivaldi’s set of concertos with Piazzolla’s Argentinian sequence, and “Silencio”, compositions by contemporary composers: Arvo Pärt, Glass and Martynov. “After Mozart”, a 21st century take on the composer, won an internationally coveted Grammy Award, while “Mozart’s Five Violin Concertos”, recorded live at the Salzburg Festival in 2006 during the composer’s 200th anniversary celebrations, have been released on the Nonesuch label.
Latest CD releases by Kremerata Baltica are the “Mozart Concertos No. 20 & 27” with Gidon Kremer and “De profundis” featuring Evgeny Kissin.