Youth choir BALSIS

The youth choir, BALSIS, stages its 33 th season in 2019/2020. Under the guidance of its conductor Ints Teterovskis, BALSIS has become one of the most prominent choirs in Latvia. Each year Latvian choirs take part in a national competitive appraisal and in 2018 BALSIS was ranked in first place.

The choir consists of approximately 40 young adults from Riga and other cities of Latvia who are permanent choristers with the choir. The singers are students from numerous fields of study (physics, IT, biology, architecture, law, journalism) and several of them are prospective music educators.

Every year BALSIS prepares 6 to 8 different concert programs, mastering the works of both local and foreign composers. The repertoire covers music from the renaissance to the modern era, from a cappella songs to large-scale works with a symphony orchestra. Folk songs, both Latvian and from elsewhere, are an essential ingredient in the choir’s repertoire as are classic songs from the Latvian Song and Dance Festival.

So far BALSIS has released 18 CDs. Rolling Stone magazine has declared the album Ziemassvētki sabraukuši (2008), created in collaboration with the New York Latvian Choir and the New Chamber Orchestra of Riga, as one of the twenty five greatest Christmas albums of all time.

BALSIS is an innovative youth choir which regularly collaborates with local composers. As well, seeking new venues and audiences, it participates in a range of musical projects and challenges, such as concerts in the meat pavilion of the Riga Central Market, in train stations, on the river Daugava, within an historical gas tank etc. Each year the choir surprises listeners with its auditory and visual experimentation in its annual Christmas and Valentine’s Day concerts and other projects.

BALSIS regularly undertakes overseas tours and participates in prestigious, international choir festivals and competitions. BALSIS has successfully given concerts in many parts of Europe (from Spain to Norway), USA (2002, 2014), Canada and Australia. In 2015 the choir also made its mark in Asia by participating in the IFCM Asia Pacific World Choral EXPO 2015 in Macau, China, where the choir gave concerts and masterclasses as a guest choir from Europe representing the traditions of European choral music.

The choir performs around 70 concerts every year in Latvian concert halls, churches, open-air venues.

Singing is part of their lifestyle for the choristers in the choir BALSIS and the phrase that unites them in all that they do together is Many voices, one thought!

Awards

BALSIS has won awards in over 30 international choral competitions:

  • Third Prize in the folklore category at 43rd International Choral Competition in Tolosa, Spain (2011)
  • Riga Youth Choir BALSIS Vocal Group won Gold in the folk music category and Silver in the chamber choir category at the 2010 World Choir Games in Shaoxing / Shanghai, China
  • Third Prize in the semi-professional choir category of the 24th Latvian National Song and Dance Festival Choral Competition in Riga, Latvia (2008)
  • Second Prize – First International Choral Competition and Festival in Latvia (2007)
  • Second Prize – 29th International Choral Competition in Varna, Bulgaria (2007)
  • Prize awarded for best performance of a selected composition – 29th International Choral Competition in Varna, Bulgaria (2007)
  • Prize awarded for best performance of a Bulgarian composition – 29th International Choral Competition in Varna, Bulgaria (2007)
  • Third Prize – 50th International Choral Competition of Habaneras and Polyphony in Torrevieja, Spain (2004)
  • Second Prize – European Grand Prix for Choral Singing in Gorizia, Italy (2004)
  • Prize awarded by Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia for outstanding achievements in choral music (2003)
  • Grand Prix at the 35th International Choral Competition in Tolosa, Spain (2003)
  • First Prize in the semi-professional choir category of the 23rd Latvian National Song and Dance Festival Choral Competition in Riga, Latvia (2003)
  • First Prize – International Choral Competition in Spittal an der Drau, Austria (2002)
  • First Prize – International Choral Competition in Tallinn, Estonia (2001)
  • First Prize – International Choral Competition in Nordic-Baltic Choral Festival in Skien, Norway (2000)
  • Grand Prix – Em. Melngailis Music Festival, Latvia (1999)
  • First Prize in the chamber choir category of the 21st Latvian National Song and Dance Festival Choral Competition in Riga, Latvia (1998)
  • First Prize in the semi-professional choir category of the 20th and 21st Latvian National Song and Dance Festival Choral Competition in Riga, Latvia (1990, 1998)
  • Grand Prix - International Competition in Ventspils, Latvia  (1997)
  • Grand Prix - International Competition in Cantonigros, Spain (1995)
  • First Prize - Fourth International Competition in Neuchâtel, Switzerland (1992)
  • Grand Prix - BBC Choral Recordings Competition "Let the People Sing" (1991)

In addition, BALSIS has developed a tradition of competing in the Emils Darzins Choral Competition in Latvia in the women’s and men’s choir categories, winning First Prize for both choirs in 2005 and Second Prize for both choirs in 2009. BALSIS was awarded a prize by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia in 2003 for active and original choral programming in 2002 and outstanding choral achievements in choral music in 2003.

 

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