University of Latvia
Mixed Choir Juventus
is represented by Aristos Management Agency
Agent: Liene Vitola
+371 29 227 220
University of Latvia Mixed Choir Juventus is the eldest university choir in Latvia. Since its establishment in 1920, the choir consistently has been one of the strongest amateur choirs in Latvia. The team earned significant success both in Latvia and abroad. During the years the choir was led by such legendary conductors as Haralds Mednis, Daumants Gailis, and Juris Klavins. Since 2014 Valdis Tomsons took a place of an art director of the choir. There is also an assistant conductor Vilhelms Vācietis and vocal coach Inga Lisovska.
Pre-war and war years
University of Latvia Mixed Choir Juventus was found in 1920 and its original name was Latvian University Student Choir. There was an idea to call it University Academic Student Choir, but University’s Faculty of Philology objected. The main initiator for the choir establishment was Arturs Bobkovics, who also was the first art director of the choir. The first audition was held on the October 18th, 1920 at City of Riga High school No.2. The first song evening was held on April 30th, 1921, but more active concert life began in 1924, when the choir received funding from the Culture Foundation for their concert trip abroad.
University of Latvia Student Choir was the first Latvian choir which promoted choir music of an independent Latvia abroad, performing in Lithuania and Estonia. In 1925 division happened between choristers and in the result another University of Latvia choir - Dziesmuvara - was established. In 1930s new international concert trips were organized to Lithuania and Finland.
Despite the difficulties, the choir continued its work during the World War II, although concerts were held far less often. In 1944 male voice group diminished so far that Arturs Bobkovics was forced to stage women’s choir repertoire.
After the end of the war the choir resumed its concert activities, however, A. Bobkovics didn’t want to adapt to the new conditions and remained loyal to Latvian cultural values. In 1950 the conductor retired and was replaced by the choir master of the Latvian SSR State Opera and Ballet Theater - Haralds Mednis. In the following years, the choir had multiple concert tours in Lithuania, Estonia, and the Russian SSR. In the beginning of 1957 Haralds Mednis received harsh criticism from the Communist Party regarding some concert program, moreover, traveling to the concert in Lubana, the choir visited some church and performed Tannhauser "Pilgrims Chorus" by Richard Wagner. As a result, the conductor was dismissed from the position. He was replaced by the Latvian SSR State Academic Choir conductor Daumants Gailis.
Under Daumants’ Gailis command the choir achieved its greatest accomplishments as well as received its current name “Juventus” in 1969. That year, for the very first time, the choir went for the concert tour outside USSR to Rostock – German Democratic Republic. For four years the choir was first at the Song Festival “Choir Wars”– 1970, 1973, 1977 and 1985. In 1988 the choir was actively involved in the Singing Revolution events - Student Song Festival “Gaudeamus” in Vilnius - raising Latvian flag. In that same year, the art director Daumants Gailis was replaced by Juris Klavins - the conductor who stayed with the choir for a very long time.
After the re-establishment of independence
In the 90s and the beginning of the 21st century, the choir began actively touring overseas, including Japan, Canary Islands, and the United States, as well as participating in various choir competitions and festivals. The unofficial choir anthem "I used to sing in the choir Juventus" with lyrics by Imants Ziedonis and music by Juris Klavins, was written at that time. Juris Klavins was replaced by Janis Petrovskis in 2009 and after three years Marcis Imants became new art director of the choir. Under the command of these conductors, Juventus won various awards in numerous choir competitions in a short period of time. Since 2014 Valdis Tomsons is the art director of Juventus and he led the choir to the victory in International University Choir Competition in Kaunas and winning Grand Prix at the 53rd International Choir Competition in Montreux, Switzerland. The most recent event - 15th International Choir Contest Mundus Cantat - took place at Sopot, Poland, where Juventus won the Grand Prix and 1.prize in category of mixed choirs performing sacred music as well as category of mixed choirs performing folk music.
1920-1950th Arturs Bobkovics
1950-1957th Haralds Mednis
1957-1988th Daumants Gailis
1988-2009th Juris Klavins
2009-2012th Janis Petrovskis
2012-2014th Marcis Imants
2014 Rudolfs Kreslins (substitute)
Since 2014 Valdis Tomsons
1978-present Ilze Dzerve
1970, 1973, 1977, 1985 – The 1st place winner of the Song Festival "Choir Wars"
1965, 1980, 1990 – The 2nd prize winner of the Song Festival "Choir Wars"
1993, 2003 – The 3rd place winner of the Song Festival "Choir Wars"
1967 – The 2nd place at the Nation’s Choir Show in Ventspils
1983, 1997 - The1st place at Kaunas International University Choir Competition "Juventus"
1979 - 2nd place at Kaunas International University Choir Competition "Juventus"
1992 - "Grand Prix" at the International Youth Choir Competition in Belgium
1997 - "Grand Prix" at the Skien International Choir Competition in Norway
2005 – The 2nd place and Gold Diploma at the Lindenholzhausen Choir Competition "Harmonie" in Germany
2007 – The 4th place in the Sacred Music and Popular Music categories at the E. Grieg International Choir Competition in Bergen, Norway
2011 – The 1st place in the Mixed Choir category and the "Grand Prix" at the IX International Sacred Music Festival "Silver Bells" in Daugavpils
2011 – The 1st place in the Mixed Choir category at the Ohrid International Choir Competition in Macedonia
2011 – The 2nd place in the Mixed Choir category and "Grand Prix" (Grand Amber Prize) at the S. Simkus International Choir Competition in Klaipeda, Lithuania
2013 – The 1st place and special honors for the best performance of the compulsory composition and for the most interesting concert program at the University Choir Competition "Juventus"
2013 – The 2nd place at the Maasmechelen International Choir Competition in Belgium
2015 – The 1st place and special honors for the most interesting concert program, the best performance of compulsory composition and the best 20th - 21st-century musical performance at the University Choir Competition "Juventus"
2017 - "Grand Prix" and the 1st place in Mixed Choir category at the 53rd International Choir Festival in Montreux, Switzerland
2018 - "Grand Prix" and the 1st place in Mixed Choir category at the 15th International Choir Festival Mundus Cantat in Sopot, Poland.