The Latvian Academy of Music

The Latvian Academy of Music
14 July 2016

As a classical music student, I was really excited when I found out Riga was one of the only city’s in the Baltics area that had a music academy. While I totally recognize and appreciate pop music in all it’s glory (EDM jams all the way), there’s something about a city having a music conservatory that makes me respect the community a little more. I feel like the fact that a city would support and uphold the arts in such a way that they have a working school of music just shows how the people of a city value natural beauty, even if it’s not all that profitable. Classical music in many ways for me encapsulates the human experience, both for musicians and the audiences, that I think subtly elevates society in a very important way.

And in terms of facilities, imagesthe Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music is one of the most elegant music buildings I’ve ever seen. Honestly you might pass it on the street just because it fits in so well with the rest of the downtown
architecture. Comprised of five floors, with multiple large performance halls on the first two floors and rehearsal spaces occupying the remaining floors, you can easily get lost in it. ProbablyUnknown the best part? Almost the entire building is the same as when it was originally built, with small modern additions to give it a classy but still modern feel. On the third floor in the practice rooms, you can see the original roof supports above the new practice room additions put in in the early 2000’s, and the sweeping grand foyer has a powerful feel of 19th century sophistication.

While currently on break for the summer, regular orchestra and chamber concerts are presented during the fall-winter school year. For any classical music fans such as myself, or for classical music players, this is the place to meet Latvian student musicians, the place with fantastic venues to hear live classical music, and even the place if you need to play the piano for yourself sometime. Definitely check it out.

Some short details: Student concerts are free, rental practice rooms start at 2 Euros for two hours, and the building is open from 10AM-8PM, M-F.

Mark Kennedy, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz Riga

Posted by Mark Kennedy

Всем Привет! My name is Mark Kennedy, and I’m currently studying Russian at the Liden and Denz Language Center in Riga, Latvia! To say I’m excited to be here is a severe understatement. Currently I'm going into my fourth year at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, where I'm enrolled as a dual-degree candidate, earning two degrees in Russian Language and Literature, and French Horn Performance. I started my study of Russian during a two-year mission for my church in St. Petersburg, Russia. Probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever done! My language learning started off as kind of a trial by fire: with only 12 weeks of training beforehand, I was thrown into Russia and expected (to attempt, at least) to hold full on conversations with people. In the beginning it wasn’t pretty, but the sink or swim mentality of it all forced me to work hard from the start, and motivated me to really overcome any issues I had quickly. Combined with a personally guided plan of language study and some study materials, I came to love the language and the Russian people a TON! Two years later and I’m still studying it… Outside of Russian language, my French Horn degree keeps me busy. Favorite composer is probably Richard Strauss, and my favorite symphonic work is The Rite of Spring Suite by Stravinsky. (Debussy Piano pieces are my favorite non-symphonic works). I’m also into basically anything arts related: singing, dancing, listening to Maroon 5, drawing Sharpie art, going to art exhibits, going to orchestra concerts, etc. In terms of sports, I was a collegiate rower for the University of Michigan in 2011-2012, when we won the National Champions Team Trophy, and I play Ultimate Frisbee. I’m excited for this opportunity to write for Liden & Denz, and to share my enthusiasm and excitement about Riga and the Russian language!

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