Ēriks Ešenvalds

Ēriks Ešenvalds is one of the most sought-after composers working today, with a busy commission schedule and performances of his music heard on every continent. After study at the Latvian Baptist Theological Seminary and the Latvian Academy of Music, he was a member of the State Choir Latvija. In 2011 he was awarded the two-year position of Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts at Trinity College, University of Cambridge. Ēriks has won multiple awards for his work and undertakes many international residencies working on his music and lecturing.

His compositions appear on recordings from Trinity College Choir, Cambridge on Hyperion, Portland State Chamber Choir on Naxos, Latvian Radio Choir and Sinfonietta Riga on Ondine, ORA on Harmonia Mundi, and VOCES8 on Decca Classics, amongst others.

Very early in my professional career a Latvian musicologist called me a “composer-chameleon”, and I think she was right. During my studies and through the many international master-classes I attended, I learned many compositional techniques and styles and since then I have been using them, whether writing an electro-acoustic piece for an underground music event or a chamber instrumental work for an avant-garde music festival, or a tune for a school-children ensemble, or a vocal-symphonic work for a sacred music festival, etc. Recently I was invited to write music for the feature “Mellow Mud” which was awarded the Crystal Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival. That was my first film music project, and I am very glad it had worked extremely well. I have also written two operas and many choral works, and now am looking more towards composing the symphonic scores and film music.
— Ēriks Ešenvalds
Tower of London 4- Credit Nick Rutter.jpg

Infelix Ego

A reflection on William Byrd Infelix ego

After Savonarola’s death in 1498, the words of the martyr’s meditation and reflections echoed widely through printed editions and also through music, starting with the Italian lauda. Almost one hundred years later the words settled on the music manuscript of William Byrd: the six-voice texture powerfully projecting the text and emotionally dramatizing one’s struggle to have hope in the face of adversity – Byrd’s fear of being persecuted for his own beliefs. And it seems to me, there is an arch, a timeless bridge or even a trans-ages dialogue connecting both of them, where the torch of the highest ideals and freedom is burning achingly bright. I’m so moved hearing ORA’s emotional performance on this recording; there is nothing of selfish tasks or thoughts, but the humble heart and the flow of that timeless river telling this sad story.

WORLD PREMIERE: 10th February 2016, Tower of London

ALBUM: Refuge from the flames