Latest from Latvia

Latest from Latvia


norman lebrecht

September 30, 2009

A press release from Riga informs me that the national symphony orchestra has a new chief conductor, Karel Mark Chichon, who is apparently British.

The statement neglects for some reason to mention that he is also the husband of the country’s leading international opera singer, Elina Garanca, who will no doubt wish to spend more of her time in the bracing Baltic winter season.

I had not heard of Mr Chichon before, though his c.v. lists dates with important orchestras. Perhaps they, or I, were out of town.

Also in the mailbox comes a new symphony by the Latvian composer, Edgars Kariks, another blank in my musical knowledge. According to his biography, Mr Kariks grew up in New Guinea and played flute in Australian orchestras before returning to his parents’ homeland, where he teaches at the university and contemplates Daoist philosophy.

Downloads of his symphonies are available here. I’ll get round to listening some time. 


  • Thank you for mentioning Latvia. Perhaps we are not as provincial as some people would like to think.
    My newest flute quartet PANDEAN AUSCULTATIONS was premiered in New York last week by the AMBER FLUTE QUARTET … four Baltic flautists – perhaps our best form of diplomacy.
    The business of music well be in the doldrums but creativity and ingenuity is not lacking among the peoples who choose to live beyond the city limits of London. Auscultate some more – it is a great and refreshing experience.