The Latvian Radio Choir (LRC) is a unique musical group in the domain of choral music – here is a chamber choir able to perform the widest repertoire from the early music to the most sophisticated scores created by modern composers. The Latvian Radio Choir is a creative lab insistently encouraging composers to write music that challenges the scale of vocal possibilities – from traditional singing to overtones and quarter tones.
Since 1992, LRC has two conductors: music director and principal conductor Sigvards Kļava and conductor Kaspars Putniņš. Over the last 20 years, LRC has developed an unprecedented notion of a choir – every chorister has his or her own mission and individual contribution. As a result, the blend of all these timbral qualities defines choral ensemble’s sound. The expertise of the singers has made LRC a remarkably flexible ensemble able to deal with a wide variety of musical genres: vocal and instrumental music as well as opera performances, multi-media projects, intimate a capella conversations and theatrical shows in which the singer express themselves as versatile soloists, talented actors and instrumentalists.
The choir has been invited to perform at top international musical forums including the Salzburg and Lucerne festivals, BBC Proms, Radio France Montpellier Festival, the Baltic Sea Festival, Printemps des arts de Monte-Carlo, Klangspuren Festival, White Light Festival (USA), Klangvokal Dortmund, Musikfest Erzgebirge, Soundstreams (Canada) and at renowned concert halls such as the Concertgebouw and Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam, Elbphilharmonie, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and Cité de la Musique in Paris, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Konzerthaus Berlin, Lincoln Centre in New York and the Dresden Frauenkirche.
The Latvian Radio Choir has worked with many outstanding guest conductors, including Heinz Holliger, Riccardo Muti, Ricardo Chailly, Gustavo Dudamel, Lars Ulrik Mortensen, Essa-Pekka Salonen and Peter Phillips. The choir has also enjoyed partnerships with the Lucerne Festival Orcestra, Ensemble Intercontemporain, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Camerata Salzburg and Concerto Copenhagen and others.
The Latvian Radio Choir records on a regular basis, and its recordings have been released on such labels as Ondine, Hyperion Records, Deutsche Grammophon, ECM, BIS and Naïve.
In 2015, a new series of recorded Latvian choral music was initiated by the Skani national record label. LRC also participated on Arvo Pärt’s Grammy Award-winning album Adam’s Lament (ECM) in a performance conducted by Tõnu Kaljuste. One of the choir’s most acclaimed recordings is of Sergey Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil; it was praised by the renowned music magazine Gramophone as the best recording in February 2013 and ranked as one of the 25 best albums of the year by American radio NPR. In the summer of 2017, LRC debuted at the famous BBC Proms Festival with Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil.
Latvian Radio choir is a member and one of the four founders of Tenso, the European network for professional chamber choirs.
The choir has repeatedly received the Latvian Great Music Award (the highest national award for professional achievement) as well as the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers Award and other awards.
Latvian Radio Choir was founded in 1940 by one of the legendary Latvian choir conductors Teodors Kalniņš, who led the choir till the end of his days in 1962. Another important period in LRC history is connected with Edgars Račevskis – he was music director in 1963–1986. In 1987 – 1992 the post of LRC Music Director was held by Juris Kļaviņš, who invited Sigvards Kļava to become assistant conductor.