Latvian conductor Krista Audere was recently appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Swedish Radio Choir, a role she will take on as of 2025, becoming the first conductor in the ensemble’s history to hold this new title. The Netherlands-based conductor was also the 2021 winner of the Eric Ericson Award, the most prestigious competition for young choral conductors, organized by Swedish Radio. She answered our 3 questions a few days before the concert she performed with the SWR Vocal Ensemble, to be broadcast by SWR and other EBU radio organizations as part of the Euroradio Christmas Music Day.
A: Receiving this honour, of course, is a great opportunity for me. And I'm very grateful that the Swedish Radio Choir was ready to engage in a long-term relationship, so to speak, with me. As well as being an opportunity, this gives me a sense of security, I mean, in the best sense of the word. In practice, it gives me time and the opportunity to dream bigger, to take some risks and hopefully engage composers and other musicians. And over the years, they’ll learn also more about my sound world, and I’ll learn about theirs. So in the end, I hope that this is a journey which will be a great experience not only for me, of course, and for the singers, but also for audiences. That is the goal.
It's a programme that I thought of with help from others, so I can't take all the credit for it. It was a great collaboration with Dorothea Bossert, who is the choir manager of the SWR Vocal Ensemble. We thought of it together. In the first part of the concert, we combined Misa Ordinarium parts from Arvo Pärt's Berliner Messe together with French composers Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy, kind of directly playing on the bell tintinnabuli theme. Of course, in some way, that is also reminiscent of Christmas time. And being at a church directly and as a contrast in the second part of the concert, I'm always happy to present new composers, new compositions… And this time it will be Latvian composer Gundega Smite, Polish composer Adrianna Kubica-Cypek and Estonian composer Evelin Seppar, who all have written beautiful, modern, very rich works for choir a cappella. And of course, it wouldn't be Christmas without a few Volkslieder! We'll round off with Pēteris Vasks and his music for choir, violin and cello. So it's going to be a beautiful, rich concert and I'm very excited to not only conduct it, but to listen to the choir perform it.
[Laughs] I had to think about this, of course, because over the years I've had so many beautiful concerts on the stages with my choirs singing… But the most memorable experiences musically have to be the ones created together with my family. Because on 24 December, when we handed out the gifts received from the mysterious man, it was always accompanied by a home-made 'concerto grosso', where some would read poetry, some would dance, and many of us would sing… some very well and others, interestingly, maybe not so well [sings]. So indeed, those are the evenings that I cherish the most, the comedy sets represented by my family singing together. And now I'm trying to continue this tradition with my own family, of course, making my son stand by the Christmas tree and sing a tune or two. But yes, that is what it's all about. Family, food, music and simply being together.
Krista Audere conducted the SWR Vocal Ensemble at Gaisburg Church in Stuttgart, on 9 December 2023. The concert is offered by SWR as part of Euroradio Christmas Music Day and broadcast on 17 December, available in MUS under EURO/2023-2024/N/005. Moreover, Krista Audere will conduct the Bavarian Radio Choir on 9 March 2024 (EURO/2023-2024/H/005), in a concert that will be part of the Euroradio Holy Week Music Series. Two other concerts are still available for broadcast in MUS: Krista Audere conducting the BBC Singers on 7 May 2023 (SM/2023/06/12/08) and another where she conducts the Swedish Radio Choir on 17 September 2022 (SM/2022/10/18/01).