Chichon receives Latvian award

Latvia has awarded Karel Mark Chichon the Latvian Great Music Award for services rendered to the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra (LNSO) and for services rendered to music and culture in Latvia.

This award is the equivalent to the OBE of the British honours system, says a statement from the Gibraltar Philharmonic Orchestra.

The statement adds: Karel first performed in Latvia in 2000 and was immediately a favorite with the Latvian public and critics alike. The love affair between the LNSO and Karel has developed into one of the most successful artistic partnerships in the Baltic States, which has seen Karel perform in a range of responsibilities with the orchestra, beginning as a regular guest conductor to Honorary Guest Conductor and finally to his present position of Chief Conductor and Artistic Director. During this time Karel is credited as being a major influence in the reshaping of the LNSO, both in its artistic policies as well as its membership. The orchestra has steadily become a “younger” orchestra, where currently the membership’s average age is below forty. In addition, since Karel took over his present position in September 2009 public subscription and attendance has increased from 65% to 95%.

The LNSO today is now considered the finest orchestras in the Baltic States and on par with some of the leading orchestras in Europe. Its touring activities are robust, with major tours confirmed for 2010 and 2011 to venues such as the Munich Philharmonie, Hamburg Leizesalle, Frankfurt Alte Oper, Baden-Baden Festpielhaus, Paris Salle Pleyel, Vienna Konzerthaus, Auditorio Nacional Madrid and a major tour of Japan.

Karel has also taken an active interest in other aspects of Latvia’s musical life and introduced a yearly competition for promising young conductors to serve as Assistant Conductors of the LNSO and has also given masterclasses at the Latvian Academy of Music for orchestras and conducting students alike. Similarly, he has taken an active interest in Latvian contemporary music and has used his international career to perform and promote this music in notable European cultural centers.

Karel said: “I am honoured and humbled that the Latvian State has seen it fit to acknowledge my work in Latvia. I reiterate that the LNSO is my musical family now, where I feel my greatest artistic ambitions can be achieved and I can only look forward to many memorable years to come with my wonderful orchestra, to which I have only the highest respect and affection for. I dedicate this award to the LNSO because I believe this award belongs more to them than it does to me. It was the LNSO that wished for change and believed in the change. It is the musicians of the LNSO that are the real achievement of this new era and I salute and admire them for that”.