Last 9th and 10th February Landarbaso abesbatza had the opportunity to work with Maris Sirmais, one of the most prestigious conductors in Europe.
He is the founder of the youth choir Kamēr… and was its artistic director and principal conductor from 1990 until 2012. Māris Sirmais was born in 1969. He graduated from Emīls Dārziņš Music College in Riga, then earned the master’s degree in choral conducting from the Latvian Music Academy. In 2000, Sirmais studied orchestral conducting at the Graz Music Institute (Austria) with Professor Martin Sieghart.
In 1990, Sirmais founded the youth choir Kamēr…, and from 1992 till 1997, he worked with the Latvia Philharmonic women’s choir Dzintars. Both groups have won numerous international competitions. Since 1997, Sirmais has been working as the artistic director and chief conductor of Latvija, the Latvian State Academic Choir. He has worked with such world-famous conductors as Mariss Jansons, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Tönu Kaljuste and Arturo Tamayo, and has performed together with Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Riga Chamber Players, Liepaja Symphony Orchestra, Ulm Chamber Orchestra (Sweden), and KREMERata Baltica.
Sirmais is one of the principal conductors of the All Latvian Song Festival, as well as the Latvian Youth Song Festival. He also serves as artistic director of the highly acclaimed International Sacred music festival organized by State Academic Choir Latvija. Sirmais has been recognized in many international conducting and choral competitions, and he is also a frequent member of international choir and conductors competitions’ juries. He has worked as a teacher of conducting in Riga Dome choir school, and a lector at other institutions. Sirmais holds the highest Latvian State award, the Order of the Three Stars, and he is an honorary member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences.
Regarding this curriculum, we felt that we had the chance to enjoy a wonderful weekend. On Friday afternoon (8th February) a welcome was organized in the town hall together with representatives of Errenteria’s Council and the Provincial Council from Gipuzkoa. On Saturday (9th February) we began working for the first time. Sirmais sent us the pieces of work that we had to sing a month in advance, so that we could work with him details, musicality, articulation etc, of those pieces of work. The pieces of work are the following ones:
Ubi Caritas Dubra
Nire marko txikian Renars Kaupers (Moldaketa: Esenvalds)
Sonnet No 12 Puce
Long Road Esenvalds
Es tevi milesu Maskats
Pater Noster Miskinis
To be honest everything we expected was very far from what we worked with him. He obtained everything he wanted in few minutes by mean of little gestures. He knew what he wanted, which way was the best one to perform each piece of work, in this way, every repetition we made during the weekend had its own explanation. On Sunday evening (10th February), we offered and audition for all our relatives and friends in Niessen (our rehearsal room) to show our weekend work
For everyone who forms Landarbaso Abesbatza, working during a whole weekend with Maris Sirmais has been an unforgettable experience which will no be repeated in a short period of time. Below, a song that we sang in the audition and in the end, you can listen and watch some words that Sirmais told us.