In 1997, Austria’s legendary Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival was witness to a small revolution when violinist Gidon Kremer presented a brand new orchestra called Kremerata Baltica. The orchestra, comprised of 23 young musicians from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, won over the audience, injecting new blood into the festival with their exuberance, energy and joy in playing. The orchestra receives support from the governments of the three Baltic states.
Kremerata Baltica, an educational project with a long-term vision, was Kremer’s 50th birthday present to himself: a way of passing on his mastery and wisdom to young colleagues from the Baltic states. At the same time he made no compromises in relation to artistic standards as he inspired musical life in the region.
Within a few years, the group of talented musicians developed into one of the best international chamber orchestras in the world, cementing its international reputation in major concert venues around the world.
Over the past 15 years, Kremerata Baltica has played in more than 50 countries and 600 cities and has given more than 1,000 concerts in Asia, Australia, the U.S., Latin America, Russia and Europe. The orchestra has released more than 20 CDs and won the 2002 Grammy Award, the 2002 ECHO Prize and the 2009 Praemium Imperiale Grant for Young Artists.
Among the celebrated soloists with whom Kremerata Baltica has played are soprano singer Jessye Norman, pianists Mikhail Pletnev, Evgeny Kissin and Oleg Maisenberg, violinists Thomas Zehetmair and Vadim Repin and cellists Boris Pergamenschikov, Yo-Yo Ma and Mischa Maisky.
Kremerata Baltica has also worked with the conductors Sir Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Christoph Eschenbach, Kent Nagano, Heinz Holliger and Vladimir Ashkenazy. Each of these musicians had an influence on the chamber orchestra.
Essential to Kremerata Baltica’s artistic personality is its creative approach to programming, which often ventures beyond the mainstream and has led to various world premieres of works by composers such as Arvo Pärt, Giya Kancheli, Pēteris Vasks, Leonid Desyatnikov and Alexander Raskatov.
Kremerata Baltica is a welcome guest in different cities and at different events, such as at Schloss Neuhardenberg and Schloss Elmau, the Esterházy Foundation in Eisenstadt and Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival.
Together with world-famous soloists Martha Argerich, Daniel Barenboim, Elsbeth Moser, Nicolas Altstaedt, Khatia Buniatishvili, Emanuel Pahud and Sergey Nakaryakov who were all invited at the initiative of Gidon Kremer, the orchestra participated in a concert in support of human rights in Russia, “To Russia With Love”, which took place on 7 October 2013 in Berlin.
Kremerata Baltica hosted its own Festival in Sigulda, Latvia, for the 10th time in 2013.