Riga Latvia – European Capital of Culture 2014


Riga, Latvia, will be a European Capital of Culture in 2014. The title for the city’s cultural programme is Force Majeure which signifies a mighty force, both unexpected and foreseeable, accumulated through global and individual obstructions and problems. The aim is to strengthen the blief that culture can change the lives of people and cities for the better.



The programme has six main chapters:

Freedom Street focuses on issues of power and freedom and is rooted in the fact that 2014 will mark 100 years since the beginning of World War I.

  • Survival Kit offers synergy of ancient skills with modern knowledge across a variety of cultural forms.
  • The Road Map invites everyone to discover the unknown Riga and think about city development issues.
  • Amber Vein seeks to showcase the historial Amber Route through the Baltic Sea down to the Black Sea.
  • Thirst for the Ocean focuses on the human striving for intellectual and spiritual values and wisdom.
  • Riga Carnival will give everyone the opportunity to forget the ordianry and mundane, instead providing a time and place to rejoice and mingle.

Throughout the year there will be several book exhibitions, solo concerts by global music stars born in Latvia and an open-air concert in high summer, operatic performances including two original pieces, historic exhibitions of art, theatrical plays focusing on relationships and power, the traditional June solstice celebration – Jāņi, the World Choir Games, documentary films, the launch of creative quarters and a science festival.

For more information on Riga’s Capital of Culture programme go here.

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Dubrovnik International Wine & Jazz Festival 2013


Dubrovnik is renowned for its summertime music festival in July and August but there’s a good excuse to visit the city in May when it will host its own International Wine & Jazz Festival.


Running from 24th to 27th May, the festival will feature jazz singer and pianist, Diane Schuur, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts Jazz Ensemble, conductor and clarientist, Miachael Kissinger and the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra.

The festival will blend jazz, blues, pop and crossover classical musicians. Visitors will also enjoy award-winning Croatian wines, fine artists and craftsmen from throughout the region, and an outstanding array of Dalmatian cuisine.

For more information visit www.dubrovnikwinejazz.com

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Dimensions Festival, Fort Punta Christo, Croatia September 2012

A brand spanking new electronic music festival will launch this September, 6 to 9, in the abandoned Fort Punta Christo, Pula, Croatia. New additions to the line-up are being announced all the time, and it looks pretty exciting already. Tickets costs just £120. Plan your trip now while airfares remain cheap (some less than £100).


Beach parties will happen daily and for those who don’t like the idea of camping,t here’s plenty of apartments available in nearby Stinjan, Fazana and Valbadon, with shuttle buses running between the two. Plus, there’s a number of boat parties setting off from the harbour where you can catch intimate sets from your favourite DJs while you sip on your favourite cold Croatian beer or tipple of choice (tickets – 20 Euros). What are you waiting for? Find out more at www.dimensionsfestival.com

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Final Fantasy at Krakow’s 4th Annual Film Music Festival

This May music from Final Fantasy will come to Poland at the 4th Annual Film Music Festival in Krakow. Arnie Roth will conduct the Choir and Orchestra of the Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic Hall with a special guest appearance from Masashi Hamauzu, composer of the Final Fantasy XIII soundtrack.

4th Film Music Festival, Electrolytic Tinning Plant of ArcelorMittal, Choir and Orchestra of the Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic Hall, Kraków, Poland
At 8:00 PM  on 20th May 2011
Tickets, priced 30 and 60 PLN, available at www.eventim.pl

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2011 Fringe Festival in Prague

Edinburgh isn’t the only city to host a Fringe Festival dedicated to comedy, theatre, music and dance.  Praha (Prague) also holds a nine-day Fringe Festival which this year will start on 27th May and finish on 4th June 2011.  Events will take place in nine venues in the beautiful Mala Strana area of the city.

Over the past 10 years Fringe Festival Praha has hosted works by local, national and many international companies who fly in annually for the event.  Most shows are very visual, some are in English, some in Czech, most last for an hour, and all are designed to entertain, delight and, at times, even challenge.

For more information visit Fringe Festival Praha.

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20th Viennese Spring Festival in Austria

From 26th March to 17th May the 20th Viennese Spring Festival will take place including 70 concerts in Musikverein.  The highlight will be the opening concert with the unveiling of a new organ built by Rieger, the fourth organ for the Golden Hall.


During the festival there will be eight organ concerts with top casts such as, Vienna Philharmonic and Dame Gillian Weir, ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna, Vienna Boys’ Choir, Michael Schade and Robert Holl.  Star tenor, Thomas Hampson will perform with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra.  Violinist Gidon Kremer and the Saxony Staatskapelle will be conducted by Christoph Eschenbach.  Finally, Rudolf Buchbinder will play and conduct five Beethoven piano concertos.  Finally, the Vienna Symphonic will perform Mahler’s 2nd Symphony and other works.

20th Viennese Spring Festival
26 March – 17 May 2011
Bösendorferstraße 12
1010 Vienna
Tel. (+43 1) 505 81 90

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Tallinn Music Week

If you happen to find yourself in Estonia this March then make sure you stop off at the third edition of Tallinn Music Week with a line-up of 150 bands and artists from 10 different countries.  The festival will take place over three nights (24th to 26th of March) and will include all styles of music from indie-rock and electronic to metal, folk, jazz, contemporary classical and, for the first time this year, a special night of classical music at the Estonia Concert Hall.

Tallinn Music Week
24th to 26th March 2011
For more information visit www.tallinnmusicweek.ee

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The International Festival Sarajevo – Sarajevo Winter 2011

This year the 27th Annual International Festival Sarajevo, “Sarajevo Winter”, a traditional cultural and artistic event will take place in the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina between the 7 and 28 February.  The programme will consist of theatre plays, concerts, films, fine arts exhibitions, panel discussions, literary events, videos, programmes presenting cultural heritage and children programmes.

The first “Sarajevo Winter” Festival was held from 21 December, 1984 to 6th April, 1985.  In the course of twenty six years of its existence, the Festival has become an inseparable part of the city life.  More than 3,250 performances and exhibitions with over 30,000 participating artists from all parts of the world took place in the 1161 festival days.  Thee festival was attended by more than 3 million people.  The “Sarajevo Winter” Festival was not even prevented from taking place even in the times of war and has become a symbol of freedom of creativity and a place for familiarising with diverse cultures and civilisations.

For more information visit Sarajevo Winter 2011

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Baroque Music Festival in Tallinn, Estonia

This festival, which takes place this year between 28 January and 6 February, was originally initiated by an Estonian early music ensemble Hortus Musicus and its leader Andres Mustonen in 1989 as a series of winter baroque music concerts in the historical Tallinn Old Town and the Tartu University Hall.  It soon acquired international recognition, attracting many internationally famed performers including Gustav Leonhardt, Jordi Savall, Barthold Kuijken, Emma Kirkby, Patrick Gallois, Edward Parmentier as well as Liana Isakadze, Michel Lethiec, Natalia Gutman, ensembles Timedance, Consort of Musicke, The Tallis Scholars, Red Priest, Providence, Concerto’91, Kremerata Baltica with Gidon Kremer, Taganka Theatre with Yuri Lubimov.

Since 2002 the Festival has significantly widened its repertoire but visitors are always guaranteed the brilliance of the Hortus Musicus and its Academic Orchestra.  Most recently the festival has focused on the interaction between Eastern and Western music cultures.

Following the opening night’s Golden Bach, this year’s programme includes the works of Dufay, Monteverdi, Byrd, Händel and a new opus from Giya Kancheli.  The Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Hortus Musicus, Ramin Bahrami, I Virtuosi Italiani, Stile Antico will all perform at the festival.

For more information visit Baroque Music Festival

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Celebrate Christmas with Stravinsky in Budapest

This Christmas, on 27 December, head to the spectacular Palace of Arts and listen to the phenomenal National Festival Orchestra play Stravinsky’s Scherzo a la Russe, Tango, Firebird Suite and Rite of Spring.  Tango was the first work that Stravinsky wrote in its entirety in the USA, in 1940. Originally for piano, the first orchestral version was by Felix Guenther. Although Stravinsky endorsed it, in 1953 he decided to arrange it himself. Its première in 1953 was conducted by Robert Craft.

In his autobiography, My Life, Stravinsky wrote that he had the idea for The Rite of Spring while composing Firebird: in his imagination he saw a huge pagan folk ritual with two elders who sit kneeling as a young girl does a dance of death. She is then sacrificed to the God of Spring. It was premièred with choreography by Nijinsky in Paris in 1913, and it resulted in one of the most celebrated scandals in music and theatre history. The work calls for a vast array of instruments (five wood wind, eight horns, five trumpets etc.) and is in two sections: Adoration of the Earth and The Sacrifice.

Ticket Prices: 3950, 5100, 7300, 12000 Ft
27 December 2010, 7.45 pm – 10.00 pm
Bartók Béla National Concert Hall
Conductor: Ivan Fischer

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