“The Magic of the Stage: A Conductor’s Journey to the Latvian Song Festival”

“The stage is a magical place, because all the long hours you have invested are rewarded during one concert,” concludes Gerda Griķe, conductor of the chamber choir “Konvents”. This year, she will participate in the song festival together with her family.

A childhood dream come true

“For me, as any stage person, the stage is an addiction, and what you get while on it, you won’t get anywhere else. Although I have sometimes run away from the path of music, music has been written in me from the very beginning. My dad learned music through self-taught, even now he plays music as a hobby in parallel with his professional activity, plays and sings at weddings, balls and events throughout his life. Mom has a great voice. In addition, what she herself does not even know – absolute hearing.

My first steps in music were taken at the Gulbene Music School, then I went to the excellent Rīga Dome Choir School, then to the Latvian Music Academy of Jāzeps Vītolas. However, the real school begins only after that – with concert experience and daily organization. In my opinion, learning never stops. I have not gone far from my childhood dream because I wanted to become a singer. I am closely connected with music every day. I have been the artistic director of the chamber choir “Konvents” for nine years. I have also been a soprano in the professional chamber choir “Ave Sol” for the same amount of time. During the day, I work musically and creatively so that young and old fall in love with music.

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I recently heard the opinion that people who know early on what they want to become are limited because they do not look beyond the choice of this profession. But if you’ve already done what you really love, it’s hard to catch the same feeling in another field.”

A magical place

“The biggest challenge was to study at a music high school. Many sleepless nights and limited free time. But such a schedule definitely taught me to plan my time effectively. After graduation, I thought that maybe I should try my hand at political science, but my family’s insistence convinced me to study choral conducting. I don’t regret it.

I must definitely mention my violin teacher, Lucia Brice, who first noticed my musicality and showed me what my path in music would be. Special thanks must be given to several excellent Domskola pedagogues – Līga Ādamsone for the first steps in choir conducting, for creating strong foundations. Thanks also to Valda Dzene and Ieva Parša for the vocal school. When I entered the Music Academy, I already knew that I would like to continue my studies with maestro Andras Veismanis.

According to my experience, I can say that being a conductor does not mean being only an artist and a musician, because this profession also combines others. You have to be a psychologist, a marketing specialist, a digital product specialist, also a project manager and sometimes an accountant. However, the stage is a magical place whose appeal is impossible to resist.

I still hope that the twenty-fifth hour of the day will come, but seriously, I try to be guided by a principle that helps me: only those who don’t make it. You can manage everything if you want. Must do! The main thing is to start, choose good teachers, a suitable specialty that makes your heart sing, and practice. Practice a lot! I have realized that in order to be noticed and appreciated as a conductor, you need to have charisma both on stage and in life.”

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Motivators – singers

“The fact that I come from conductor Kokar’s hometown of Gulbene makes me feel a certain continuity. My professor, maestro Andris Veismanis, with whom I studied conducting, was a student of Imantas Kokar. Also by singing in Kokar’s cherished choir «Ave Sol», we continue the traditions that both maestros introduced. Some time ago, I took my choristers to Gulbeni, where we visited the Kokaru Museum.

The choirs of both mine and other conductors were greatly affected by the restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, so everyone had to work a lot together so that the result pleased both me and the choristers. I’d like to think I’m tough, but the choristers would probably smile a little at that. I am demanding, but I try to achieve my artistic goals with ease and humor, because I am aware that this is a hobby for people – elitist and definitely time-consuming, but worth every minute when you are on stage. I often remind my choristers that we don’t do all this for the sake of points, but because we love the song, the song festival – this integral part of the Latvian way of life. My main motivators are the singers, with whom there is always a desire to exceed my own and their strengths, because that’s the only way we get closer to ideals. It’s a magical synergy – they give to me, I give to them. In my eyes, a conductor is basically a leader, ready to fall and rise for his singers. My parents also motivate me, who always remind me that there is another peak that I have not been to.”

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The magic of life is in the little things

“Professionally, I am demanding not only of myself, but also of others. However, in everyday life, I like to take things lightly, with a small dose of humor. It is important for me to focus on the positive even when “the waters are not calm”. Every thing, every person who comes to us comes to teach something – whether it is good or bad. That’s why it’s important to know how to take the best from any situation and life lesson. I especially appreciate the people around me. Family – for showing the way and allowing me to follow it, friends who support me on the chosen path. Positive people charge me. And I can’t imagine my life without coffee.

I often say that music is my job and my hobby at the same time, but a lesser passion that people around me have definitely noticed is collecting perfumes. The magic of life is in the little things that make everyday life more colorful.”

2023-05-30 14:16:12
#EVENING #NEWS #Conductor #Gerda #Griķe #stage #addiction

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