Reinis Zarins ’09CERT wins Great Latvian Music Award 2011

Pianist Reinis Zarins ’09CERT was recently awarded the Great Latvian Music Award 2011 in the category of Outstanding Interpretation. The award is the highest state recognition in the field of classical music in Latvia.

Zarins received the award for three interpretations: a solo recital (Bach+Messiaen and Kenins+Schumann), a concerto (Mozart’s Concerto in G major, K. 453), and a duo recital of twentieth-century works with a Latvian violinist (Messiaen+Ravel and Corigliano+Gershwin).

More about Latvia’s Great Music Award

In 1993, on the initiative of the then-Minister of Culture, Raimonds Pauls, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia decided to mark each year’s major achievements in Latvia’s concert life with a special award. This began a tradition that both musicians and audiences look forward to.

The award ceremony takes place at the Latvian National Opera House and is broadcast on radio and television.

The high prestige of the Great Music Award both in wider community and in musical circles is ensured by the work of a respectable jury. All through the year, the members of the jury attend concerts and hold monthly meetings, taking minutes each time. In 2007, it was decided to announce the nominees at a special Ministry of Culture press conference in early January. The prize winners are announced during the award ceremony. Voting on the nominees takes place in January, while voting on the prizewinners takes place the very day of the award ceremony.

An artistically valuable and essential part of the Great Music Award is the trophy itself, a silver statuette made by artist Armands Jēkabsons. The Great Music Award ceremony is organised by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia and Latvijas Koncerti (

Published March 28, 2012
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Season Finale: Yale Philharmonia plays Rachmaninoff, Strauss, Ravel

yale_philIn its final concert of the season, the Yale Philharmonia will perform three colorful and popular works from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries on Friday, May 1 at 8 pm in Woolsey Hall.

Conducting fellow Julian Pellicano will lead the orchestra in Richard Strauss’s rollicking Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, a tone poem from 1907. Then the orchestra’s music director, Shinik Hahm, will take the podium for the rest of the evening. Under his direction, Latvian pianist Reinis Zarins, a winner of the 2008 Woolsey Hall Concerto Competition, will perform the solo in Maurice Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand.

The evening culminates in Rachmaninoff’s monumental Symphony No. 2 in E minor.


Published April 21, 2009
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Yale in NY offers piano music for four and six hands


Featuring pianists Boris Berman, Claude Frank, Elizabeth Parisot, Wei-Yi Yang

The Yale School of Music presents “One and Two Pianos, Four and Six Hands,” a fascinating program of music by Mozart, Schnittke, and Stravinsky, on Wednesday, February 4 at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Memorial Hall. Eminent pianists from the School of Music include Boris Berman, Claude Frank, Elizabeth Parisot, Ilya Poletaev, Wei-Yi-Yang, and Dean Robert Blocker. Alumna Pei-Yao Wang and student Reinis Zarins will also perform. In reviews of recent Yale in New York performances, the New York Times praised Berman’s “fluency” and Yang’s “virtuosity.”

The first half of the program highlights works of Mozart, opening with the overture to The Marriage of Figaro arranged for piano six hands. This unusual transcription was created by the renowned piano pedagogue and composer Carl Czerny, who was born in 1791, the year of Mozart’s death. This is followed by Mozart’s Andante with Five Variations for Piano Duet in G major, K. 501, for piano four hands, and the Sonata for Two Pianos in D major, K. 448.

The evening’s second half opens with another novelty for six hands: the seldom-performed Homage to Stravinsky, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich by Alfred Schnittke. The evening ends with a masterpiece, Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring in the composer’s own transcription for piano four hands. Months before the groundbreaking Rite premiered in Paris in 1913, Stravinsky himself played this four-hand version with none other than Claude Debussy, who later remarked that the piece haunted him like “a beautiful nightmare.”

Published February 4, 2009
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Messiaen Centenary Celebration at Yale

Dec 13: Yale Pianists perform Messiaen’s Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus

Twenty-movement work is a high point of the contemporary piano repertoire

The Yale Schol of Music presents Messiaen’s most important piano work, Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus, performed by eleven of the School’s most promising graduate-level pianists on Saturday, December 13 at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Hall, 470 College St (at Wall St), New Haven.  This concert is part of the Messiaen Centenary Celebration at Yale.  Vingt Regards, composed in 1944 for Messiaen’s second wife, Yvonne Loriod, is considered one of the most significant works of the twentieth-century piano repertoire.  Here it will be performed by Jeannette Fang, Wei-Jen Yuan, Reinis Zarins, Jason Wirth, Amy Yang, Martin Leung, Jeong-ah Ryu, Lulu Yang, Katsura Tanikawa, Juan Carlos Fernandez-Nieto, and Lindsay Garritson.

The Messiaen Centenary Celebration at Yale will honor the hundredth birthday of influential French composer Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) with numerous events exploring the breadth and depth of his work. Sponsored by the School of Music, the festival takes place from Monday, December 8 to Sunday, December 14, 2008, encompassing Messiaen’s birthday on December 10.  William Purvis, a member of the YSM faculty and interim director of the Collection of Musical Instruments, is artistic director. Information on the Messiaen Centenary is available at

Admission to the concert is free.  For additional information, please call the Yale School of Music Concert Office at 203 432-4158 or visit the Sprague Hall Box Office during regular business hours.

Published December 11, 2008
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