It’s been some time since I updated this blog, so I’ll try to sum it up what I’ve been up to during these last couple of months. The ending of the last year was quite intense! November started with the celebration of Adolphe’s Sax 200 years anniversary concert in JVLMA. It featured the majority of Latvia’s best saxophone players from different music fields. I performed with my students a piece of mine called “Invasion” that composed couple of years ago. Then we had a very nice after-party at the office of the rector of JVLMA. Next morning I was up and behind the wheel on my to Klaipeda, Lithuania, along with my Urban Trio colleagues Edgars Raginskis and Kristaps Krievs. Klaipeda’s Concert Hall, a very nice and warmly welcoming place – a great pleasure to come back! We were joined by wonderful artist Ieva Nagliņa who made live visualisations to our music. Next morning I was driving again (alone this time), to Vilnius – I had a free day between concerts, and it happened to be my dear brother’s birthday! I couldn’t skip the oppurtunity to give my best wishes! But only after I had a full day of giving classes in Lithuanian Academy of Music, where I started to teach once a week since last september. My next stop was in Kaunas, a closing performance of Dirt Nonet’s tour. A bit sad to finish this project that started last summer, but we are working on the ideas of how to make our collaborations possible in the future. Ten days later in Riga I had a great oppurtunity to play one of the two saxophone solo parts(tenor) in Ilona Breģe’s nice little piece called “Sunny Nook” for soprano and tenor saxophones with wind band (soprano played by Oskars Petrauskis; wind band “Riga”, cond. Andis Klučnieks). You can listen to this piece on composer’s Soundcloud site here. In late november I went to Amsterdam, to attend a big saxophone festival celebrating Adolphe Sax’s 200 years anniversary. I like this cozy city a lot, and hearing some of the world’s greatest saxophone players – what can be better?! Claude Delangle in F.Martin’s “Ballade”, Arno Bornkamp presenting new pieces, lectures/masterclasses and concerts by Wynton Marsalis, Jean-Marie Londeix, James Carter, Otis Murphy, Paquito d’Rivera – the days were well spent! Off-topic but fun – after wandering around in Amsterdam’s streets I came across a big vynil records shop. I was impressed by the selection and prices it had, so I bought a bunch of vynil records. Fun fact is, I’ve never even had a vynil record player! Anyway, that’s when I decided this has to change. When I got back home I bought a nice Pioneer to appreciate the recorded music a little bit more in these digitalised times. December started with the trip to Helsinki. Me and six JVLMA students went to Sibelius Academy (SIBA) to participate in a collaborative international project. I gave individual and quartet classes to SIBA saxophone students, while Joonatan Rautiola and Pekka Savijoki were teaching those of our academy. I also led a joint 12-piece saxophone ensemble – we worked on new saxophone music by different latvian composers (Rihards Dubra, Jēkabs Nīmanis, Platon Buravicki, Madara Pētersone) and american composer Jachin Pousson. It was a great pleasure to meet my old friend Joonatan; and for the students – a nice possibility to have some classes by different teachers, find new saxophone friends, and simply have a good time. A trip was short and very busy, so unfortunately I didn’t see very much of Helsinki this time… It was still a great fun, though! Right after Helsinki I flew straight to Vilnius, where I was invited to be a member of jury in Algirdas Budrys Wind Instrument Competition. It was taking place in my former music school, so it was a really special feeling for me to be back there – it brought back a lot of nice memories from the past (for instance, how me and my friends teenagers were caught smoking around the corner by the head of wind department himself :). Year 2015 started off with some great news – Andris Dzenītis’ saxophone concerto “E(GO)” was selected by Latvian Radio “Klasika” as one of the TOP 10 highlights of the 2014 (a link to full TOP 10 and radio programme here). Furthermore, couple of weeks later it was nominated for the Latvian Great Music Award (“Lielā Mūzikas Balva”) in the category New Piece Of The Year. You can see the full list of categories and nominees here. Last couple of weeks I’ve been working on a new noise music collaboration with Jachin Pousson. We made a performance based on Jachin’s earlier audiovisual piece called “Unearthed” and performed it in a gig along with Waterflower (LV) and Void Of Sound (NO). (photos by Baiba Buceniece) On the next day we played it in the contemporary music festival DeciBels, organised for the first time by Jazeps Vitols Latvian Academy of Music. We are planning to continue working together, so I’m very much looking forward to it.