Every year in July
RIGAS RITMI FESTIVAL is one of the most attended and loved music festivals in Latvia. The festival’s stages at different locations in Riga feature both – world-famous and award-winning, as well as young and undiscovered musical talents. Rigas Ritmi Festival is one of the main music festivals in the Baltic States, as well as is recognized in Europe and elsewhere around the world.
The first Rigas Ritm Festival took place July 2001; since then, around 500 artists from more than 20 countries have performed more than 500 concerts (including free outdoor performances) to an audience of more than 150 000 people. The festival has gained the status of a state-importance cultural event by successfully promoting Riga and Latvia around the globe.
Initially the festival took place once a year, during the first week of every July, but starting 2011, the festival has expanded to additional Winter and Spring concert session, thus providing music lovers with quality concerts all year long.
Rigas Ritmi Festival is a real musical celebration with performances of outstanding artists, including - Bobby McFerrin, Diane Reeves, “Take 6”, Richard Bona, “BBC Big Band”, Avishai Cohen, Patti Austin, Scott Hamilton, Freddy Cole, “The Yellowjackets”, Victor Wooten, Buika, Astillero, Jojo Mayer, Medeski Martin & Wood, Robert Glasper, Diane Schuur, as well as the greatest Latvian musicians, and as stated before – new talent.
The idea of an international contemporary jazz and improvisation music festival in Riga was initiated by Latvian jazz musician and producer Maris Briezkalns, who currently holds the position of the festival’s artistic director, as well as remains the driving force behind the festival today. Due to his contribution to the creative scene, Maris Briezkalns has received some of the highest state honours, including the Order of Three Stars.
PROJECTS OF CULTURAL EDUCATION
Among the cornerstones of the festival are master-classes, workshops and seminars for young musicians, held by world renowned masters. Every year, young people and music teachers, journalists and well as others from different countries attend and participate in the workshops.
One of the festival’s main objectives is to educate, both the audience and young musicians. Besides diverse concerts, the festival also features jam sessions and other workshops, where world known musicians share their knowledge and experience, techniques and artistic vision to new talent, serving as inspiration and is the turning point for many young musicians in their careers.
An integral part of the festival’s audience comes from music and arts schools – the students and teachers visit not only concerts, but also the master’s workshops, therefore increasing their skills and qualification. Every educational establishment for music and arts in Latvia receives two free-of-charge tickets to master’s workshops and concerts at the Riga Congress Center.
Unforgettable master-classes have been with – Horacio el Negro Hernandez, Victor Wooten, Markus Stockhausen, Vinx, Bo Stief, Alex Wilson Salsa Orchestra.
An annual tradition till 2010 was the Riga Kids Festival, which hosted special events for the youngest residents of Riga and city guests, where they can not only watch their favourite Latvian children’s ensembles and recognized artists, but also participate in the concert themselves. Riga Kids Festival highlighted the idea to encourage and give support to children enthusiasm and admiration for music.
RIGAS RITMI SHOWCASE
An important element of the festival is the Rigas Ritmi Festival is Showcase project, which aims to present the best Latvian jazz, improvisation and world music performers to the world’s jazz scene. The Project aims to promote Latvia’s creative music industry and its export abroad. During this Showcase, guests from abroad have the chance to meet new Latvian talent, view them in concert, meet them at master’s workshops and talk to them during panel discussions.
RIGAS RITMI FESTIVAL PRESENTATION IN USA
In spring 2011 festival made its presentation tour in USA: Rigas Ritmi All Stars – Maris Briezkalns Quintet was giving series of concerts and interviews around USA all of which culminated in ensemble’s debut at the world famous Blue Note jazz club in New York City, this being the first time that Latvian artists headline at Blue Note. In mid- This program was enacted through the cooperation and sponsorship of New York University (NYU) and The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA).