Double Anniversary: Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica have Two Reasons to Celebrate in 2017

Over five decades of successful musical career, which includes regular performing on the venues of the top concert halls around the world and 20 years of leading Grammy award winning chamber orchestra Kremerata Baltica  – these are just a couple of facts to mention from the life story of the world-famous violinist Gidon Kremer, who is celebrating his 70th birthday in February 2017.

Unconventionality, versatility and passion for experimentation – such and similar associations are always triggered by the name of Gidon Kremer. Born in Riga, the violinist is considered to be one of the greatest musicians of his generation, and the world of chamber music is now inconceivable without him.

Since both Gidon Kremer’s father and grandfather were professional violinists, music was an inevitable part of his life from his early childhood. Gidon Kremer has always impressed the audience with his extraordinary talent, virtuosity and unique interpretations. He is not only a legendary musician, but also an intellectual who is not afraid of enlightening classical music audiences and promoting oppressed, unknown contemporary artists. Numerous international prizes and awards granted to Maestro Kremer during the past years testify the great importance of his work. The violinist was awarded the Triumph Prize 2000, the UNESCO Music Prize 2001, and the Una Vita Nella Musica – Artur Rubinstein Prize in 2011 amongst many others. The Praemium Imperiale Award granted to Gidon Kremer in Tokyo on October 18, 2016 is one more prestigious award for his achievements.

In 1997, Gidon Kremer gathered twenty-three outstanding young musicians from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia aiming not only to promote and strengthen cultural awareness of the Baltic States, but also to pass his rich knowledge to the younger generation. Twenty years after the establishment of Kremerata Baltica, one can say with confidence that this idea has been more than successful: today Kremerata Baltica is celebrated worldwide as a high-profile chamber orchestra. Its touring geography is not limited to Europe, Asia, or North America.

Over 20 CD recordings of the chamber orchestra include the 2002 ECHO Klassik and Grammy Award-winning After Mozart on Nonesuch Records and other critically acclaimed titles on the Deutsche Grammophon and ECM labels. The ensemble’s albums of works by Georges Enescu and Mieczysław Weinberg were both nominated for Grammy Award, while its recent recording of Shostakovich’s piano concertos with A. Vinnitskaya for Alpha Classics won the ECHO Klassik 2016.

To mark the beginning of the 70th birthday celebrations of Gidon Kremer, in October 2016, Deutsche Grammophon issued a limited CD Box – a total of 22 CDs with all Gidon Kremer’s violin concertos recordings made for the label reflecting his wide and unconventional yet carefully selected repertoire. In February 2017, Deutsche Grammophon plans one more release of chamber music – “Preghiera” with Sergey Rachmaninov’s Piano Trios by Gidon Kremer, Giedrė Dirvanauskaitė and Daniil Trifonov. Another recording dedicated to both anniversaries is on its way – in January ECM is releasing a new album with Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s chamber symphonies performed by Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica together with Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, Yulianna Avdeeva, and Mate Bekavac.

Gidon Kremer is set to celebrate his 70th birthday and Kremerata Baltica’s 20th anniversary throughout 2016-2017. The milestone season’s highlights include a nine-concert tour in the United States and Canada in February 2017, and the Anniversary Tour with almost 40 concerts across Europe, opening in Vilnius on the 18th of February 2017, and progressing to the Baltic States, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, the United Kingdom, France, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and concluding with the Asia tour in May 2017. All tours will be led by Gidon Kremer, who will be joined by celebrity soloists such as Martha Argerich, Khatia Buniatishvili, Tatiana Grindenko, and several young “rising stars” such as Clara Jumi Kang, Lucas Debargue, Pablo Ferrandez, and Martynas Stakionis.