Biography

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Ēriks Ešenvalds was born on January 26th, 1977 in Priekule, Latvia.


He studied at the Priekule School of Music (1983–1991) and the Liepāja 1st Secondary School (1992–1995), studied at the Latvian Baptist Congregation Theological Seminary (1995–1997). He received his Bachelor’s degree (2002) and Master’s degree (2004) in composition with Selga Mence at the Latvian Academy of Music. He furthered his study at international master classes, including the Latvian Young Musician Camp in Ogre (2000, 2002) with Martin Herman and Dana Paul Perna, as well as the De Villecroze Summer Academy in France (with Richard Danielpour, 2001), Česki Krumlov in the Czech Republic with Michael Finnissy, Guy Reibel, and Marek Kopelent (2001), in Germany with Klaus Huber, the international GAUDEAMUS music week in Amsterdam, the Netherlands with Trevor Wishart, David Land, Richard Ayres (2003), in France with Jonathan Harvey and Philippe Manoury (2004), in Norway with Ole Lützow-Holm and Nils Henrik Asheim (2005/2006), and others.


He has been rewarded with the Jāzeps Vītols (1999, 2002) as well as the VERNISĀŽA Musical Centre and Latvian Creative Fund (2002), and the Latvian Culture Ministry Scholarships (2003, 2004).


For his work IESPAIDI SĀREMĀ (IMPRESSIONS OF SAAREMAA), he received an HONOURABLE MENTION diploma at the International Clarinet Association organized competition in Miami (USA, 2000). He has received the LATVIAN GREAT MUSIC PRIZE in 2005 and 2007. For his work LEGENDE DE LA FEMME EMMUREE (LEGEND OF A WALLED-IN WOMAN) he was awarded first place at the 2006 International ROSTRUM for Composers in the Young Composers category. He is a laureate of the AKKA/LAA COPYRIGHT AWARD (2006) and Diena`s Annual Culture Award (2007). British Composer Awards Nomination (2010). The Year`s New-Composer Discovery, Philadelphia Inquirer, USA (2010). Composition Teaching Achievement Award by Riga Dome Choir School (2010). In 2012 the new CD „O SALUTARIS” of youth choir `Kamēr...` with choral music exclusively by Ēriks Ešenvalds wins the Latvian Music Records Award as the best classical music album of the year 2011. Again, in 2014 the new CD "At the Foot of the Sky" with Ešenvalds' choral music, recorded by State Choir "Latvija' and conductor Māris Sirmais, wins the Latvian Music Records Award (Golden Microphone) as the best classical music album of the year 2013.


His music has been performed at the festival YOUNG.EURO.CLASSIC in Germany (2002), IV BERGEN INTERNASJONALE KAMMERMUSIKKFESTIVAL in Norway (2003), FESTIWAL MUZYKI NOWEJ in Poland (2003), EUROPAMUSICALE in Germany (2004), KLANGSPUREN in Austria (2005), the New Music festival ARENA in Latvia (2005), the XII Latvian Organ Music Festival in New York, USA (2005), INTERNATIONALES GITARREN FESTIVAL in Munster, Germany (2006), WORLD CHOIR GAMES in China (2006), CHRISTOPHER SUMMER FESTIVAL in Lithuania (2006), NATO Summit in Riga, Latvia (2006), AKSAMITNA KURTYNA II in Ukraine (2006), МЕЖДУНАРОДНЫЕ МУЗЫКАЛЬНЫЕ ВСТРЕЧИ in Belarus (2007), BODENSEEFESTIVAL in Germany (2007), ECKELSHAUSENER MUSIKTAGE in Germany (2007), SCHWETZINGER FESTSPIELE in Germany (2007), TENSO DAYS/3ème BIENNALE d’ART VOCAL in France (2007), Kurzeme Song festival in Talsi, Latvia (2007), GLASPERLENSPIEL in Estonia (2007), RIGA OPERA festival, Latvia (2007), the VIII and X International Sacred Music Festival in Latvia (2005, 2007), the XII Latvian Song festival in Indianapolis, USA (2007), EUROPALIA.EUROPA in Belgium (2007), the Haarlem Choir Biennale, the Netherlands (2009), Baltic Sea Festival, Sweden (2010), USEDOMER Music Festival, Germany (2010), University of Louisville New Music Festival, USA (2010), St Machar Cathedral`s Festival of Sacred Music, UK (2011), Vale of Glamorgan Festival, UK (2011), 14th International Sacred Music Festival, Latvia (2011), Haarlem Choir Biennale, the Netherlands (2011), VOICES NOW, UK (2011), ACDA conference, USA (2011), XXX Siauliai International Music Festival RESURREXIT, Lithuania (2012), Nordic-Baltic Male Choir Festival, Estonia (2012), American Guild of Organists National Convention, USA (2012), Internationalen Audi Jugendchorfestival, Germany (2012), Elora Festival, Canada (2012), MDR MUSIKSOMMER, Germany (2012), Spoleto Festival, USA (2012), Festival of the Sound, Canada (2012), Festival `Les Claviers en Poitou à Bonneuil-Matours`, France (2012), Riga Dom Cathedral International Organ Music Festival, Latvia (2012), Festival `Europa Cantat XVIII`, Italy (2012), Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen`s, Northern Ireland (2012), Israel Festival, Israel (2013), Cheltenham Music Festival, UK (2013), ReMusica, Kosovo (2013), Gargzdai Music Festival, Lithuania (2013), Celje Festival, Slovenia (2013), Imago Dei Festival, Austria (2013), ACDA National Conference, USA (2013).


He has worked as a teacher at the Riga 31st Secondary School. 2002-2011, he performed in the State Choir LATVIJA. As of 2002, he is a member of the Latvian Composers’ Union. For 2011-2013 he holds the position of Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts at Trinity College, University of Cambridge, UK.


Ešenvalds is married and the father of three children.