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Festival: Riga Jurmala Music Festival

About the Riga Jurmala Music Festival

16 July - 5 September, 2021

Why should you visit the festival?

The Riga Jurmala Music Festival held its first season in summer 2019. After a successful first edition, the festival was included in The Telegraph’s top 10 summer festivals. Every summer during the festival, the world’s leading symphony orchestras and conductors visit Riga and Jurmala to allow people to enjoy symphonic, chamber and solo concerts, and to listen to outstanding classical musicians and emerging talents, with 20 concerts offered over a four-week period. Firmly established as one of the leading summer destinations for music lovers, the Riga Jurmala Music Festival returns in 2021 with four weekends centered around four major international ensembles: the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra with John Eliot Gardiner; the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Riccardo Muti; the Concertgebouworkest with Daniel Harding; and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra with Yuri Temirkanov. The twenty performances will also feature world-renowned soloists such as pianists Yuja Wang, Víkingur Ólafsson, András Schiff, Leif Ove Andsnes, Yefim Bronfman and Arcadi Volodos, as well as cellist Truls Mørk and violinist Renaud Capuçon. The Riga Jurmala Music Festival will also present outstanding singers such as soprano Renée Fleming, bass-baritone Bryn Terfel, baritone Matthias Goerne, and mezzo-soprano Alice Coote. Afternoon concerts will include an outstanding selection of young pianists, including George Li, Daumants Liepiņš, Yoav Levanon, Behzod Abduraimov, and Alexandre Kantorow, as well as violinist Daniel Lozakovich. The acclaimed British vocal ensemble, the King’s Singers, will also present a recital. 

Where is it?

Festival concerts take place in Riga and Jurmala’s architectural gems: the Latvian National Opera, Great Guild Hall, and the most in-demand location of the summer season, the Dzintari Concert Hall. Riga perfectly combines history and tradition with cutting-edge cool. Like all northerners, it is quiet and reserved on the outside, but there is some powerful chemistry going on inside. Two of the classical music holiday weekends will take place in the country’s flagship seaside resort, Jurmala - just thirty minutes from Riga.

Local accommodation

There are plenty of accommodation options in both Riga and Jurmala. Jurmala is known for its spas and resorts, and many hotels also offer spa and wellness facilities.

What are the venues like?

The Riga Jurmala Music Festival will take place at the Latvian National Opera, the Great Guild, and the Great and Small Halls of the Dzintari Concert Hall. The Latvian National Opera is home to the Latvian National Ballet, Chorus and Orchestra, who perform world-class music each season. The Great Guild is home to the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, and is one of the oldest and most beautiful concert halls in Riga. The Dzintari Concert Hall is an architectural gem located on the shores of the Baltic Sea. The complex incorporates the neo-eclecticism of the 1930s with an acoustically impressive covered concert garden, built just 30 years later. The semi-open Great Hall offers audiences the chance to experience world-class classical music whilst in the surroundings of Latvia’s natural beauty.

Dress code

The weather in Latvia during the summer has an average temperature of 20°C, so we suggest wearing clothes that will make audiences comfortable. There is no strict dress code, but these are world-class performances, and we encourage our attendees to wear outfits that might reflect this sense of occasion.

Food & Drink

There are plenty of dining options in both Riga and Jurmala, offering both local and international cuisine. In its inaugural season, the festival established a collaboration with the Riga Wine & Champagne festival to provide a unique chance to enjoy wine and music paired up by the leading restaurants and sommeliers of Riga. More surprises will await festival visitors this year!

How to get there?

Riga International Airport is easily accessible from most European countries, with several airlines including it among their destinations. Taxis from the airport to the centre are always available and the drivers usually speak English. There is also a bus, which offers a 30-minute ride to the centre, a train that runs regularly between Riga and Jurmala and takes roughly 30 minutes, and taxi or car-sharing options such as Bolt, CarGuru, Fiqsy and others. There are direct flights to Riga from almost 100 destinations in Europe, Asia, Africa and America. The Latvian national airline and official carrier of the Riga Jurmala Music Festival, airBaltic, provides easy and convenient connections to all major airports in Europe and CIS countries.

What type of programmes does it have?

The programme is built around four weekends, each anchored by a leading international orchestra and conductor with a range of symphonic concerts and recitals featuring the foremost stars of classical music, as well as up-and-coming talent. Each orchestra gives two evening concerts, with the third evening of the weekend dedicated to a concert featuring a prominent soloist.  Two noon concerts of chamber music and recitals are the opportunity to discover young talent as well as established artists. The Festival’s dual location in Latvia’s historic capital city of Riga and the seaside resort of Jurmala, add to the experience of visiting the Festival. Evening performances take place at the Latvian National Opera in Riga or the Dzintari Concert Hall in Jurmala, while all noon concerts take place at the Great Guild in Riga.

What can tourists visit nearby?

Riga offers incredible architecture and history to explore. Not only is the city a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but it also contains beautiful rivers, skylines and one of the world’s richest collections of Art Nouveau architecture. Riga’s central market is also famous for offering the best in local Latvian cuisine, including artisanal breads, sausages, cheeses and fish.

Jurmala is a beachside town, so it’s the perfect place to relax by the sea. As mentioned before, it is famed for its wellness facilities, but there are also cultural objects, museums and other points of interest. 

Learn about other attractions and experiences from the official festival partner Live Rīga.

About the organisation
Led by Artistic Director Martin T:son Engstroem and Associate Artistic Director Miguel Esteban, the team behind the Festival has been working tirelessly to bring the best quality music and musicians to Latvia. The team consists of industry professionals who share a dedication and passion for classical music, as well as the strongly held belief that Riga and Jurmala are the hidden gems of Northern Europe, and fast becoming two of the most exciting destinations for classical music connoisseurs.