Review of 2002 Activities

Our thanks to all our participants and suppporters for a successful 2002! Following is a recap from our annual member communication, published January, 2003.

School Improvement Project

Under the leadership of Pēteris Zariņš and Edīte Irbe and with your contributions and help, we are continuing to provide computers and educational materials to s chools of Latvia. In 2002 TILTS received contributions for the support of schools in Jelgava, Alūksne, Ogre, Gulbene, Ludza and Cēsis, a total of $9,395.

In cooperation with Lauma Vlasova, the Pasaules Brīvo Latviešu Apvienības (PBLA) epresentative from Russia, TILTS from its own funds has agreed to provide three used computers and a printer to two old Latvian (pre-1914) farming communities in Siberia, called Lejas Bulāni and Bašķirija. The previous year TILTS sent similar equipment to a third such settlement, called Augšbebri. Some of these settlements have existed in Siberia for over a hundred years, still teaching and emphasizing Latvian culture, history and language.

Some were first-time donors this year and were excited to receive news of the impact of their gifts directly from students or teachers. One continuing donor gives $1200 each year to her old high school in the city of Bauska. Because of previous generosity, the school’s computer lab is well equipped and currently up-to-date. She therefore stipulates that $800 of her annual gift be spent to enhance the students' knowledge and appreciation of Latvian culture and arts (e.g., trips to Rīga's opera and ballet). The remaining $400 each year is to be spent by Bauska high school’s highly acclaimed student organization (Mazais Ministru Kabinets), which is modeled on Latvia's national government in Riga. If you wish to encourage and support a similar student organization at a Latvian school of your choice, our TILTS organization is ready to help.

We again invite you to make contributions to support Latvia’s schools. You may wish to choose a school in Latvia that has special significance to you. TILTS can help you to establish the needs of your chosen school. Some schools have the necessary computer hardware, but lack supplies and computer programs. We will direct your contributions to meet the school’s particular needs, and we will handle all the communications and transactions

Please contact Pēteris Zariņš if you would like to contribute. Donations in the USA are tax-deductible.

Rīga Dome Boys’ Choir

The Rīga Dome Boys Choir (RDBC) returned to the United States in July, 2002, to participate in the AmericaFest - International Singing Festival for Men and Boys in Collegeville, Minnesota and to perform in August at the Sixth World Choral Music Symposium in Minneapolis, held for the first time in the United States.

The AmericaFest Festival days were filled with continuous activities for the 700 participants, and concerts took place daily. RDBC presented two solo concerts, and the young soloists Kārlis Kundrāts and Daumants Kalniņš received special audience acclaim. The Choir received a standing ovation and enthusiastic applause following each selection. The program consisted of compositions by Uģis Prauliņš and Latvian folk music.

Over 3000 choir directors from around the world heard the Choir at the World Choral Music Symposium. RDBC was the only international choir selected to present a solo concert for the attendees and continued to receive enthusiastic audience acclaim.

In 2000, TILTS committed $10,000 to this worthy project. Following the appearances at these two festivals, the Choir went on a mini-tour of Midwest states. Under the leadership of Astra Zemzars, together with Gunta Pakalns in Minneapolis and Vivita Leonard in Rochester, four concerts were arranged - in Minneapolis, Rochester, Milwaukee and Rockford (IL). The concerts were very well received, and the Choir excelled under the direction of Martiņš Klišāns, accompanied by composer Uģis Prauliņš and soloist Dita Kalniņa.

With each performance by a choir from Latvia, an ever wider audience is introduced to Latvia’s choirs and Latvia’s choral music. With the performances this summer the RDBC brought Latvia to the attention of music lovers the world over.

Theater

In 2002 we invited the National Theater from Rīga with the play “Kvēli Ilgotā” by Pauls Putniņš. It deals with the tragicomical situation in the farmlands in early nineties after Latvia regained its freedom. The conditions for the depicted sad and comical events were created by the elected but inexperienced government. As always, there were a few critical comments, but generally the 15 performances were well received, and some of them ended with enthusiastic stand-up applause. The tour was successful also financially – it ended with a small surplus. For the first time we arranged performances in the Latvian communities of Des Moines and Philadelphia.

Concerts

Under the leadership of Dace Aperāns , TILTS has arranged the following concerts:

In September 2002 two concerts in New York and New Jersey were arranged for the young Latvian pianist Rudolfs Ozoliņš

In September-October 2002 a USA tour by the Three Tenors from Latvia took place, with five concerts on the West Coast, five in the Midwest and five on the East Coast. The performers were tenors Miervaldis Jencis, Nauris Puntulis and Guntars Runģis and pianist Juris Kulakovs. The reception by the audiences was very good, and a number of locations expressed special gratitude to TILTS for the opportunity to hear the artists. In Armonk, NY, the concert was advertised for the local American public, and the reception was equally favorable. The receipts for the tour were $18,920, which was just enough to cover the expenses.

In October 2002 the world famous duo pianists Antra and Normunds Vīksnes presented four concerts in Cleveland, OH, Detroit, MI, Yonkers, NY and Armonk, NY. The Armonk concert was announced in the local American press as well as in the New York Times, and all were very well received. Reviews appeared in the newspapers DIENA and LAIKS.

KERMERata Benefit Concert

TILTS Exceptional Young Artists committee, headed by Laila Robiņa with the help of Ilga Blankmeyer and Helga Petrašēvica, and with the help of many volunteers (thank you volunteers!) organized a benefit concert on April 29, 2002 at the Performing Arts Center at Purchase, NY to raise money for the fund. The concert was a musical and financial success. Gidon Kremer, KREMERata Baltica and Ilze Urbane (the first recipient of support from the fund) performed a fantastic program to a full house of enthusiastic music lovers.

We were most happy to welcome Mikhail Baryshnikov (member of our Honorary Committee) and his friends to the event. We were equally happy to have so many representatives of the United Nations diplomatic community in attendance. Gov. George Pataki (member of our Honorary Committee) sent his representative Cheryl Murray. We were especially honored to have Silvija Dreimane, Secretary of the Seventh Saeima (the Parliament of Latvia) make the trip from Rī ga to join us and support our event. She was also a member of our Honorary Committee.

Ingrida Mieme donated her time and tons of work to provide us with wonderful reception. Thank you, Ingrida!

We received $51,800 from ticket sales and donations. Expenses for the concert were $19,085, leaving $32,715 for the fund.

The organizing committee wishes to thank everyone who was involved in making this event a success - the contributors, the donors, and the people who came from Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Riga to attend the concert.

We are planning our next event some time in September 2003 and hope you will join us then.

Anyone wishing to make a contribution to the Exceptional Young Artists Fund can mail a check to:

"TILTS"
c/o Laila Robins
241 Central Park West Apt. 14H
New York, N.Y. 10024

Awards

To date the Exceptional Artists Fund has disbursed a total of $14,450 to the following artists:

  • Diana Baibus, Piano
  • Anna Ķepe,
  • Mārcis Kuplais, Cello
  • Egils Sefers, Clarinet
  • Rudolfs Ozoliņš, Piano

At the end of December we awarded $6,000 to support the 9 Latvian musicians who perform with Mr. Kremer and the KREMERata Baltica.

Support

In 2002 TILTS provided financial support for the following projects:

  • The Latvian International Young Artists Camp $1,000. The event took place in Ogre, Latvia in July 2002.
  • Māra Pelēce $1,252.51 for the creation of the video "What does it mean to be a Latvian."
  • Artisit Kristaps Gulbis $200 (the award was made at the suggestion of the Permanent Latvian Mission to the UN).
  • The preparation of the Estonian-Latvian dictionary (the award was made in response to the request by the Permanent Latvian Mission to the UN).
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