European Festival of Latvian Culture is organised by:
European Latvian Association, reg. no. 40008157244, address: Lāčplēša iela 29-5, LV 1011, Riga
Bank details: Swedbank Latvia, BIC code HABALV22, account IBAN number LV83HABA0551038658164
- Artistic Council
- Organising Committee
Chairperson Ingūna Grietiņa
Artistic Director of "eLVē", the choir of the Latvian Association of Ireland. Chair of the Latvian Association of Ireland (LBI). Latvian education and culture coordinator in Ireland, in collaboration with the Latvian Ministry of Education and Science and the Latvian Ministry of Culture. Director of LBI Navan Latvian schools and youth associations. Director of LBI music study-school "Little Latvian". Inguna Grietiņa is also a member of the advisory board for the 3X3 camp in Ireland. She has undertaken several significant cultural projects, including concerts by amalgamated choirs in Ireland, the Latvian Independence Day celebration concerts in Dublin, in collaboration with Dublin City Council, the Department of Integration and the Latvian Embassy in Ireland (2008 to 2014), the Latvian Culture Days in Ireland among others.
Artistic Council Associate, Mark Opeskins
One of the main conductors of the XXth Latvian Song Festival. Head of the Music Department of the World Free Latvian Song and Culture Festival in 1984 and 1987, as well as conductor of Song Festivals in Europe, Canada and Australia. Assistant professor of music at Dr. Hoch’s Conservatory, and Hochschule für Musik und Kunst Darstellende, as well as Board Member of the Hessen Land choral music department (Bundesmusikausschuss im HSB). He was a founder and musical director of the German Latvian choir “Dūdas” (Bagpipes) (1983-1990)
Choir Section Head, Lilija Zobens
Conductor of the London Latvian choir since 1976. Has organised a variety of cultural events under the auspices of the Latvian National Council for many years, including the annual Latvian Independence day celebrations in London. As a soloist she has performed to Latvian audiences in England, Australia, the USA, Canada, Germany, Sweden and Latvia. Musical director and conductor of the European Latvian Song Festival in Leeds, England, in 1982, and in Helsingborg, Sweden, in 1989. Choir conductor of the first World Latvian Song Festival in Gotland in 1979. Conductor of the 7th Latvian Song Festival in Canada, in 1981, the 4th Youth Song Festival in Cleveland, in 1982, the Australian Latvian Arts Festival in Perth and Sydney, and the 5th Daugavas Vanagu (Latvian Welfare Fund) Days in Freiburg, Germany, in 1986. Conductor in three Latvian Song Festivals in Riga - 1990, 1993 and 1998. Since April 2001, she is working on the ‘Enfield Arts Support Service’ as a voice teacher in local secondary schools.
Choir Section Associate, Ilmārs Millers
phone: +371 22122224
Artistic director of the Finnish Latvian Mixed voice choir ‘Ziemeļmeita.’ Previously worked with the Tallinn Technical University Chamber Choir, Estonian Latvian choir ‘Ziemeļu Balsis’, Ave Sol Chamber Choir ‘Motus’ and the Latvian Academy of Culture choir ‘Sola’. Since 2003, Ilmārs Millers has not only actively participated in the Song Festivals with his choirs, but has also helped in their organisation as choir coordinator for the Mežaparks open-air stage.
Head of Dance section, Inese El Tawil
Munster Latvian dance group ‘MiLaDeKo’ leader. The group participated in the Song and Dance Festival in Latvia in 2013. Inese El Tawil is an active board member of the Latvian Centre, as well as on the board of the Latvian Community in Germany. Inese has extensive experience in organizing various cultural events in Germany, as well as experience in both local and international projects.
Head of the Theatre section and Associate to the Head of the dance section, Andra Baltmane
Manager and Director of the Brussels Latvian Theatre from 2011 and organizer of cultural events for the Belgium Latvian diaspora since 2008. She founded and managed the Brussels Latvian dance group from 2008-2011.
Head of the Folklore section, Laura Šmideberga
Leader of the Latvian National cultural society of Estonia folklore group ‘Revel’, founded in 2011 in Tallinn. The group is regularly invited to participate in Estonian folk events, as well as the folk festival ‘Baltica 2012’ in Latvia, and ‘Baltica 2013’ in Estonia among others. Continuing the ‘Skandinieku’ tradition, the folklore group members pay particular attention to the promotion of the Liv traditional heritage.
Associate to the Folk and Chamber Music section executives, Andra Zobens-East
Leader of the London Latvian folk dance group ‘Londona Dejo’ (London Dances), and member of the folklore group ‘Austrumkalns’. She studied music at the University of London’s Royal Holloway College, with a scholarship from the College Chapel Choir. Plays the cello, was a member of several orchestras, now the cellist for the string quartet ‘Nadina’. Sings in and helps to manage the London Latvian Choir. Participated in several European Latvian Summer Schools, the last time as a music teacher and tutor. Graduated from a course in Culture Management at the City University in London and now works in the London Symphony Orchestra as a choir project manager.
Head of Chamber music section, Kristaps Grasis
European Latvian Association culture section rapporteur. Chairman of the Latvian community in Germany. Member of the German Composers Association. Director of Schools of Music in Bonn and Wesseling. Head of the Culture section of the World Federation of Free Latvians.
Head of Literature section, Juris Kronbergs
Swedish Latvian poet and translator. Has translated the poetry, prose and plays of many Latvian writers into Swedish. His most notable literary work, a poetry collection ‘Vilks Vienacis’, or ‘Wolf One Eye’ has been translated into several languages.
Executive Director Aldis Austers
Aldis is the Chairman of the European Latvian Association since 2011 and a member of the Presidium since 2007. He has been in charge of the Latvian Association in Belgium (2006-2011) and organized various cultural and educational events. He has extensive experience in public project management. Aside from the public activities he is also the Chairman of the Investment Company "Hipofondi", a researcher at the Latvian Institute of International Affairs and a lecturer at the Riga Stradins University. He has graduated from the Riga Technical University and the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna.
Producer/Production Manager Kristīne Pleša
phone: +371 2595 9360
Kristine is the manager of culture, while organizing and assisting in various events. She has actively participated in the organization of several major events and festivals, such as the 8th World Choir Games, the European Film Academy Awards, Positivus Festival, as well as the Latvian Song and Dance Festival. Currently she is a manager of the bands Sus Dungo and Triana Park and participates in the development of various cultural projects.
Technical Director/Production Manager Ģirts Lerhs
He is the Deputy Director of the Latvian Association "Bērzes Strazdi” in the United Kingdom. He deals with the organization of different types and sizes of recreation and entertainment events, and their technical services. While living in the United Kingdom from 2009 till 2013 worked in the Daugava Vanagu Foundation and in the Latvian National Council in the United Kingdom. Currently he lives in Latvia and works in Ltd KM as a stage technician, and actively participates in development of various social projects.
Communication Officer in Brussels Katleen Vandriessche
As a freelance communication specialist in Brussels holding a master degree in communications, she is one of the rare not Latvians in the team. Nevertheless Katleen understands perfectly the power of this wonderful piece of cultural heritage. Therefore she is extremely enthusiastic to bring it to a Brussels and European audience and getting support from Belgian and Brussels governments and sponsors! For more than 20 years Katleen has worked for all kinds of organisations – from multi-national corporations, to national NGO’s and local governments. Helping them to improve their communications internally, at corporate level and with media. For NGO’s she also specialized in fundraising. What drives her in her job is ‘building bridges between people and cultures’. Always having lived and worked in a multi-cultural environment she speaks 4 languages fluently – but unfortunately no Latvian…
Technical Director in Brussels Antoine Franҫois
As a real Brussels ‘ketje’, he helps the Latvian production team finding the most beautiful locations for the festival and deals with the many Belgian suppliers and governments for all kinds of approvals – which in Brussels is a hell of a job! Antoine is married to a half Latvian in Brussels and is therefore familiar with the great Latvian culture and tradition. After successfully getting a Sound & Broadcast Engineering degree from The University of Wales, he came back to Brussels to do a bachelor in Electronics at the VUB. He has since then been working for 5 years as a technical and production manager at VK Concerts / De Vaartkapoen, a legendary 600p alternative music venue, organizing around 60 concerts a year and a big three day outdoor festival for their 25th birthday.
Diana is a humanitarian, speaking five and a half languages, since 2012 has engaged in various cultural projects and events (including the Festival "Riga Rhythms", World Choir Games, the European Film Academy Awards ceremony), and has been a trainee at the Riga City Council in the Foreign Affairs Division and at the Vigo Conservatory (Spain). Currently she is studying theory and management of culture in Latvian Academy of Culture.
Anneli is a person of creative horizons with an organizational drive for clarity and clear order. She is a Graduate of the Latvian Academy of Culture in sociology and management of culture and has also worked as a sales consultant in the company "InPrint". A member of the band "Sus Dungo".
Liga is a sociallyactiveperson who has participatedin variousexchange projectsabroadas well as projects in Latvia, for example the RigaConference and theWorld Choir Games. She has graduated from theLatvian Academy of Culture and currentlystudies Business Administration at the BA School of Business and Finance. Works as a project assistant and provides assistance on voluntary basis to the exchange students in Latvia.
TV producer by education was born to create something lasting. I cannot imagine my life without challenges. I relax while working and creating something unique. I like to get involved fully with soul. For some time I have worked at the British broadcaster BBC as the producer's assistant. So far my biggest success was working at the Winter Olympic Games 2014 in Sochi. I have also participated in the realization of such projects as the World Choir Games, the Song Festival, the European Championship in Basketball and the Tall Ships Races. I've assisted in the shooting of several TV series and music videos.
While studying civil engineering Mara realized that systematic thinking goes hand in hand with organization and management of cultural and art events, which are why she has already participated for several years in the organization of large scale public events. At present, it has developed into a kind of hobby and pleasure. The most remarkable events have been the XXV Latvian Song and XV Dance Festival, the Tall Ship Races Regatta and the World Choir Games. Currently she lives in Ljubljana, where she continues her studies and plans to expand her knowledge in the Krško power plant in Slovenia. In February 2015 Mara was one of the organizers of the International Centre for Cultural Studies of the international conference in Mysore, India.
Monta is a graduate of the University of Latvia, Faculty of Law, she has worked for several years as a legal adviser in the office of the Ombudsman of the Republic of Latvia. Later, she continued her studies at the Latvian Academy of Culture for a Master's degree, specializing in the management of culture and creative industries. The topic of her Master's thesis was "Volunteer management in the industry of culture. The example was the Organization” Riga 2014"volunteer program." She has participated in the organization of various cultural projects (such as Prose Readings in 2014, the audiovisual performance "Clarity, The series" of youth choir "Tenso", and others), as well as organized volunteer work for the Organization "Riga 2014", the World Choir Games, the European Film Academy Awards ceremony and other events.
Rudite is a woman who loves life and lives every moment of it with joy in the widest possible range. She graduated from Riga Technical University, Faculty of Architecture and worked in different architectural design offices. Rudīte has made projects for many buildings in various Latvian cities to include a museum in Madona, a church in Aizkraukle, a sports complex in Valmiera, a multi-storey residential building in Riga, a fire station in Cesis and others. She likes to meet interesting, positively charged people, work together with them and be happy about work well done and just enjoy Life!
Marta’s priority is preservation, care and creative promotion of Latvian culture. She is a student at the Latvian Academy of Culture in the program Audiovisual and performing art and producing. She has worked as a video projection operator in the Daile Theatre and done voluntary work for Organization of "Riga 2014". She is currently involved in creation of the Baltic and Nordic Song Festival.