13. April, Saturday - 16:00


Organised by: Koncertzāle Cēsis

Modern classical music that goes straight into the heart - this is what Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks stands for. Orchestras and choirs, soloists, conductors, and an ever-growing audience all over the world are discovering the emotionally powerful impact of his musical creations. In 2022, Vasks was honored with the European Church Music Prize and the Opus Klassik award.

"Love is the most important thing." In shorts and almost always barefoot, his hands and his gaze often reach towards the sky. His eyes light up when he speaks about music or nature. Pēteris Vasks' "reverence for life" is palpable in his music. In his cosy house, on his own in the calming woods, he composes his music for the world. The music is his message and invitation to feel, appreciate, and enjoy the world and nature - with respect and love.

Pēteris Vasks was born in 1946 in the small village of Aizpute near the Baltic Sea as the son of a Baptist pastor. He grows up with house and church music - and under Soviet dictatorship. At the age of thirteen, he composes his first song of freedom. Later, he studies double bass and composition. With his musical images, he accompanies the calls for freedom and the protests of the Latvians. In 1991, as shots from Russian rifles are fired in Riga and the Balts struggle for their independence, Vasks writes his 1st Symphony "Voices."

The history of the suffering of the Balts is shaped by the Tsarist Empire, Stalin, Hitler, and the Soviet Union. For Vasks, like all people in the Baltics, the current war in Ukraine is associated with the fear that the nightmare may begin again. In response to the war, Vasks' choral work "Dona Nobis Pacem - Give us Peace" is performed in Riga and other places around the world.

Author and director Holger Vogt meets Pēteris Vasks in 2021 in Riga and accompanies him for a year - during composition, rehearsals, concerts, privately, and in nature. The result is a sensitive portrait of a special artist.

Director and Script: Holger Vogt

Camera: Jean-Baptiste Höppner, Holger Vogt

Editors: Sebastian Bluhm, Janne Jürgensen

Music: Pēteris Vasks


© Doclights GmbH

Co-produced by Latvian Television.