Irvine Arditti to play at Skaņu Mežs 2019

Virtuoso violinist and founder of the legendary Arditti Quartet, Irvine Arditti will give his first Latvian solo performance at the Skaņu Mežs festival for adventurous music. Pieces by Salvatore Sciarrino and James Clarke will be performed, and a shorter piece by Robert H.P. Platz will have its world premiere. Skaņu Mežs will happen on October 11-12 at concert hall Hanzas Perons (16a Hanzas street) with a free-entry opening event on October 5 at the Art Museum Riga Bourse (Doma Square 6). First 100 two-day passes to the festival can be purchased for 22 EUR at

In addition to his legendary career as first violinist of the Arditti Quartet, Irvine Arditti has also given life to many solo works. Born in London in 1953, Irvine Arditti began his studies at the Royal Academy of Music at the age of 16. He joined the London Symphony Orchestra in 1976 and after two years, at the age of 25, became its Co-Concert Master. He left the orchestra in 1980 in order to devote more time to the Arditti Quartet which he had formed while still a student.

Irvine Arditti has given the world premières of a plethora of large scale works especially written for him. These include Xenakis’ Dox Orkh and Hosokawa’s Landscape III, both for violin and orchestra, as well as Ferneyhough’s Terrain, Francesconi’s Riti Neurali and Body Electric, Dillon’s Vernal Showers and Harvey’s Scena, Paredes Señales, Pauset’s Vita Nova, Reynolds’ Aspiration and Sciarrino’s Le Stagioni Artificiali all for violin and ensemble. As well as having recorded over 200 CDs with the Arditti Quartet, Irvine Arditti has built an impressive catalogue of solo recordings. The complete Mode recordings of Berio’s Sequenza’s, on which Irvine recorded the violin sequenza won the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis in 2007, and was awarded best contemporary music release by the Italian music magazine Amadeus in 2008.

In November 2017 Irvine was presented in Paris with Charles Cros Grand Prix in honorem, a lifetime achievement award recognizing the sum total of his career and his exceptional role in the service of music. The prize was also for his latest solo recital CD release called Caprices with music by Boulez, Carter, Nunes and Sciarrino on the Aeon label. A double CD of the music of Roger Reynolds has just been released on the Kairos label.


– Salvatore Sciarrino, Sei Capricci

Italian composer Salvatore Sciarrino is considered one of the leaders of advanced or avant-garde music in Europe. His music uses isolated sonorities such as harmonics, other unusual methods of tone production, and additional sounds that can be made with instruments such as tapping and key clicking. In addition, it is characterized by artful and frequent use of silence as part of the compositional structure, as well as frequent introduction, in a questioning or confrontational way, of pre-existing music.
An homage to the 24 Caprices (1819) of Niccolo Paganini, the Sei Capricci (1976) of Salvatore Sciarrino build upon the iconic technical achievements of the original work with an entirely new vocabulary of extended techniques developed by Sciarrino.

– Robert H.P. Platz, Airhui

Robert H.P. Platz (born 16 August 1951) is a German classical composer. Born in Baden-Baden, Platz studied music theory, composition (with Wolfgang Fortner), musicology (with Elmar Budde) and piano in Freiburg, Germany between 1970 and 1973. He studied later with Karlheinz Stockhausen at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Cologne. In 1977 he took examinations in conducting (with Francis Travis) in Freiburg, and did a series of computer courses at IRCAM in 1980. Since 1990 he has been teaching composition at the Conservatorium Maastricht, Netherlands. Platz gives workshops and masterclasses in Poland, the Netherlands, Italy, Japan, and the United States, and he has taught at the Darmstädter Ferienkurse für Neue Musik. In July 2013, The Techniques of Violin Playing, a book co-authored by Irvine Arditti and Robert Platz was released by Barenreiter Edition.

Platz describes the short piece Arhui in the following words: „A few years ago a virtuoso from Shanghai showed me her instrument erhu – a delicate resonating body, strung with snake skin, the two strings to be played with the bow, between the two strings. I was inspired… but for a realization in Shanghai the short study was probably too far away from the common idiom of popular Chinese string music. Which is why in friendship with Irvine Arditti, I reworked it for the violin and dedicated it to Irvine: starting from familiar terrain, sensing a foreign world, an ink drawing, conjured up with the finest brush.”

– James Clarke, 2017-V

James Clarke was born in London in October 1957. He has written over one hundred compositions, for symphony orchestra, solo musicians and for ensembles. They include seven works written for the Arditti String Quartet; four for the ensemble Klangforum Wien; several for the pianist Nicolas Hodges, including two for piano and orchestra; some for unusual forces, such as 2012-L for 200 musicians, 2014-Q for European and Asian instruments, and 2015-M for 308 musicians; a radio opera in collaboration with Harold Pinter. Important premieres have taken place at the Venice Biennale, Lincoln Center (New York), Southbank and Barbican centres (London), and many other major venues.He is sometimes associated with the New Complexity school.

2017-V is a large-scale work lasting just over twenty minutes for solo violin, written for and dedicated to Irvine Arditti. Starting from several principle chords and musical scales (in quarter-tones, semitones and three-quarter-tones) the work uses different types of variation to produce a complex series of events highlighting either melodic or harmonic features. Sometimes passages of music are ‘erased’, leading to relatively sparse sections; sometimes the music is ‘suspended’ in time, the ear focusing on, as it were, microscopic characteristics of the sound. Increasingly the melodic and virtuosic dominate, in one of the most difficult violin pieces of recent years.
2017-V was given its premiere in the Mozart Saal of the Konzerthaus, Vienna on 23rd November 2018 by its dedicatee.

Stay tuned for further announcements of Skaņu Mežs 2019. Tickets to the festival can be purchased here: Advance sales ticket for a single concert night currently costs 15 EUR and will increase in price. Meanwhile, the first 100 two-day passes are available for 22 EUR.

Skaņu Mežs festival is supported by the Ministry of Culture of Latvia, State Culture Capital Foundation, the Municipality of Riga, Trust for Mutual Understanding, Danish Cultural Institute as well as iRobot, Valmiermuiža and Red Bull Music Academy. Skaņu Mežs is also a member of the SHAPE platform for innovative music and audiovisual art, supported by the „Creative Europe” program of the European Union, and I.C.A.S., an international network of festivals, devoted to adventurous sound.

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