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. Born in Priekule, Latvia in 1977, he studied at the Latvian Baptist Theological Seminary (1995–1997) before obtaining his Masters degree in composition (2004) from the Latvian Academy of Music under the tutelage of Selga Mence. He took master-classes with Michael Finnissy, Klaus Huber, Philippe Manoury and Jonathan Harvey, amongst others. From 2002–2011 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. He is married with four children and gives students his expertise as composition teacher at the Latvian Academy of Music.
Ēriks Ešenvalds has won multiple awards for his work, including the Latvian Grand Music Award three times (2005, 2007 and 2015). The International Rostrum of Composers awarded him first prize in 2006 for his work The Legend of the Walled-in Woman. He was The Year's New-Composer Discovery of the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2010.
Ēriks Ešenvalds' compositions have been premiered by ensembles including Boston Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Utah Symphony, the Britten Sinfonia, The King's Singers, Latvian Voices, the Choir of Trinity College Cambridge, the Holst Singers, Imogen Heap, Polyphony, the Choir of Merton College Oxford, the Latvian Radio Choir, the State Choir Latvija, the Kamēr... Youth Choir, Sinfonietta Riga, the Bavarian Radio Choir, the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, the Liepaja Symphony Orchestra, Ora Singers, the Netherlands National Children's Choir, the Swedish Art Vocal Ensemble, the Choir of Trinity College Melbourne, Salt Lake Vocal Artists, Temple University Concert Choir, The Crossing, Chor Leoni, Golden Gate Men's Chorus, Portland State University Chamber Choir, the Choir of the West at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, ChorWerk Ruhr, The University of Louisville Cardinal Singers, the Miami University Men's Glee Club, The University of Mississippi Concert Singers, Lincoln's Inn Choir, Wartburg College Choir, and Oklahoma State University Concert Chorale.
Ēriks Ešenvalds' music has been performed at numerous international festivals including Klangspuren in Austria, the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in Germany, Tenso Days in France, the Haarlem Choir Biennale in the Netherlands, the Latvian Song and Dance Festival, International Sacred Music Festival in Latvia, the World Choir Games, IFCM World Symposium on Choral Music, the Cheltenham Music Festival and Voices Now in the UK, the ACDA National and Regional Conferences and Spoleto Festival in the USA, and The Singing Network in Canada.
Ēriks Ešenvalds is a popular public speaker, which he often combines with leading workshops on his music. At the 2014 World Choir Games held in Riga, he composed the Games anthem, gave a major presentation on his work, acted on competition juries, and had a large-scale production premiered by the Latvian Voices and The King's Singers. The 2015 ACDA National Conference in Salt Lake City premiered his Whispers on the Prairie Wind, where he also gave a presentation on his music, and took part in a composer roundtable forum. He was president of the jury at the 2016 Rimini International Choral Competition and jury member at the 2017 Musica Sacra Nova International Composers Competition at the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music in Rome.
Ēriks Ešenvalds' compositions appear on many recordings released by labels such as Hyperion, Decca Classics, Deutsche Grammophon, Delphian Records, Pentatone, Ondine and Naxos. To date, six recordings are devoted exclusively to his work: Northern Lights from Trinity College Choir Cambridge (Gramophone Award Shortlist, Gramophone Critics' Choice, ICI Radio-Canada Best Albums Selection in 2015), Passion and Resurrection with the Britten Sinfonia and Polyphony, St Luke Passion by the Latvian Radio Choir and Sinfonietta Riga (Gramophone Editor's Choice, Opera News Critic's Choice), At the Foot of the Sky by State Choir Latvija, O Salutaris by the Kamēr... Youth Choir (both awarded Best Latvian Classical Album of the Year) and most recent The Doors of Heaven from Portland State Chamber Choir.
Ēriks Ešenvalds' premieres this season include works commissioned and performed by the Yale Glee Club (USA), the Saint Louis Chamber Chorus (USA), the Louisville University Cardinal Singers (USA), the Cabrillo Chorus and Monterey Chamber Orchestra (USA), the Rundfunk Chor Berlin for Interkultur (Germany), Shenzhen Lily Choir (China), the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain (UK), the New Zealand Youth Choir (New Zealand), Cor Vivaldi for the International Federation of Choral Music (Spain). His multimedia symphony Nordic Light will have its USA premiere with Choir of the West, Choral Union and the Pacific Lutheran University Symphony Orchestra, following the German premiere with the Rundfunkchor Berlin last year. His second major opera The Immured, which was premiered at the Latvian National Opera and Ballet in May 2016, will be performed this season. The Crystal Bear-awarded film Mellow Mud, for which he wrote the film score, is screened at festivals worldwide.
Current commission projects include writing for the Gewandhaus Leipzig (Germany), the Grant Park Festival, Chicago (USA), the South Dakota Chorale (USA), and for Classical Movements (USA). He will also be travelling to the USA and Canada, Asia, New Zealand and within Europe. His second multimedia symphony focusing on the natural phenomenon of volcanoes will premiere in 2018.
Edition Peters Artist Management is managing Ēriks Ešenvalds' commissions and workshop schedule (www.epamartists.com). Ēriks Ešenvalds is published by Musica Baltica in global partnership with Edition Peters (www.musicabaltica.com and www.editionpeters.com).