International “CirqueMusique” Project to Promote Contemporary Music and Art Among Young People Is Concluded

International “CirqueMusique” Project to Promote Contemporary Music and Art Among Young People Is Concluded

The “Arts Laboratory “CirqueMusique”” project, aiming to promote contemporary music and circus among young people across Latvia, culminated in a success with the premiere of its musical circus performance “I hate they eat so loud” and a documentary about the project in the Rīga Circus at the beginning of February. Supported by a 249,972 euros grant from the European Economic Area (EEA), the 17-month project brought together composers, musicians, and contemporary circus artists from Latvia and Scandinavia with young people and cultural professionals in four Latvian regions.

The culmination of the project, “I hate they eat so loud”, is a unique musical circus performance created through an exciting and interactive process. Involving artists and young talents from various disciplines, the performance delves into the journey of self-discovery, exploring themes of relationships with family, classmates, the 21st century’s trait of technology and information overload, and one’s social anxiety and inner search.

The involvement of young participants during workshops played a vital role in shaping the performance. Their ideas fuelled relevant themes and led to inspiring and memorable title.

From 5 to 9 February, during an intensive co-creation process in residency at the Rīga Circus, the artists, together with playwright Ance Muižniece and set designer Pamela Butāne further enhanced the narrative with impactful imagery and movement, brought to life by a talented team. Not only there is a “dialogue” on stage between the contemporary music and the circus artists, but also the expressive visual language created by Pamela Butāne in the two-colour matching of the artists' costumes and the stage props. Mark your calendars for April 26th when it opens to the public at the Liepāja Great Amber Concert Hall. Visit the concert hall's website for information about future performances.

The performance boasts a remarkable creative team featuring striking young composers Krists Auznieks, Platons Buravickis, Linda Leimane, and Santa Ratniece. Skilled Latvian musicians – violinist Agnese Kanniņa, clarinettist Kārlis Catlaks, bass guitarist Jānis Rubiks, percussionist Elīna Endzele, and flutist Liene Dobičina – join forces with circus artists like Norwegian juggler Julian Saether, acrobat Gabriel Skog, and Rīga Circus School talents, jugglers Egils Zvejnieks, Elīna Konrade, and clown-juggler Mariano Gedwillo. Lighting and sound design are masterfully handled by Jurģis Ozols and Jānis Straume.

The core of the project unfolded through four workshops held in Rēzekne, Cēsis, Liepāja, and Ventspils during spring and autumn 2023. Led by project partner and artistic director Julian Saether, these workshops provided interdisciplinary masterclasses for around 180 young people aged 12-18 interested in music and movement arts. The sessions introduced them to contemporary music and circus, honed their stage skills, and fostered collaboration across artistic disciplines.

In addition, on 9 February, the project presented guidelines, which beyond fostering young talent, addressed regional accessibility and audience development. Greta Clough, project partner from Iceland and the author of these guidelines, shared valuable expertise on audience attraction and development with regional cultural professionals through dedicated workshops. The guidelines were developed during four workshops, which ran in parallel with the workshops, as well as through observing the interaction between young people and the project's creative team and the process of creating the performance. They will soon be available on the Great Amber Concert Hall’s website.

A documentary film by Gregors Jānis Mažis, which was produced during the project offers a glimpse into the workshops and the participants’ experiences. It is now available on the Concert Hall’s YouTube channel.

You can find more information about the project on the Great Amber Concert Hall’s webpage. The project “Arts Laboratory “CirqueMusique”” is supported by an EEA grant of 249 972 euros from Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.