In the "XXIX Concorso di Esecuzione Musicale" competition, organized by the "Società Umanitaria" society, Aigars Raumanis, a professional doctoral student at Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music and an accomplished saxophonist, in collaboration with the talented accompanist and chamber musician, associate professor Herta Hansena, secured the third place. They were awarded a generous cash prize of 3000 euros, the opportunity to record in the prestigious Verdi Hall, and the privilege of performing in concerts during the upcoming concert season in Milan, Italy.
The competition consisted of three rounds, commencing with a video selection for the first round. In the finals, all participants were required to perform an extensive 50-minute concert program. Aigars Raumanis and Herta Hansen showcased their exceptional musical prowess by interpreting a repertoire that included François Borne's "Fantaisie Brillante sur des airs de Carmen," three movements from Ida Gotkovsky's virtuosic cycle "Variations Pathétiques," Barry Cockroft's contemporary solo piece for soprano saxophone, "Ku Ku," and the captivating "Fuzzy Bird Sonata" by Takashi Yoshimatsu. Special recognition and appreciation go to Professor Ilona Meija for her dedication in preparing the doctoral student for this remarkable achievement.
This highly competitive event was judged by an esteemed international panel, featuring leading Italian musicians, including Nazzareno Carusi, a member of the board of the renowned opera house "Teatro alla Scala" and the jury's chairman. The jury also included cellist Luca Franzetti, the solo clarinetist of the "Sinfonica di Milano" orchestra Raffaella Ciapponi, and violinists Laura Gorna from Italy and Boris Kucharsky from Slovakia. Additionally, two Italian piano virtuosos, Oleg Marshev and Massimiliano Motterle, contributed their expertise to the judging process.
The "XXIX Concorso di Esecuzione Musicale" occurs biennially, and each music university has the privilege to nominate its most talented candidates. It is a source of immense pleasure and pride that after a hiatus of nearly 15 years (since Rihards Plešanovs' laureate status in 2009), the Latvian Academy of Music has once again demonstrated its excellence by securing a place in the top three. This achievement came amidst stiff competition from representatives nominated by prestigious institutions in Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Copenhagen, and other leading European music universities.