Artistic Director, State Choir Latvija, Latvia
Māris Sirmais (1969) graduated from Emīls Dārziņš Music College in Riga, then earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in choral conducting from the Latvian Music Academy. In 2000, he studied orchestral conducting at the Graz Music Institute (Austria) with Professor Martin Sieghart.
In 1990, Māris Sirmais founded the youth choir Kamēr…, and was its artistic director and principal conductor from 1990 to 2012. From 1992 to 1997, he worked with the Latvia Philharmonic women’s choir Dzintars. Both groups have won numerous international competitions. Since 1997, Mr Sirmais has been the artistic director and chief conductor of the State Choir Latvija. He has worked with world-famous conductors such as Mariss Jansons, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Tönu Kaljuste and Arturo Tamayo, and has performed together with the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Riga Chamber Players, Liepaja Symphony Orchestra, Ulm Chamber Orchestra, and KREMERata Baltica among others.
Māris Sirmais has been the chief conductor of several Great Latvian Song and Dance Festivals and Latvian Youth Song and Dance Festivals. He also serves as artistic director of the highly-acclaimed International Sacred Music Festival organised by the State Choir Latvija. Mr Sirmais has been recognised in many international conducting and choral competitions, and is also a frequent member of international choir and conductors competitions' juries. He has worked as a teacher of conducting in Riga Dome choir school, and a lector at other institutions. Now he is the Head of the Department of Choir Conducting of Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music.
Māris Sirmais has been awarded eleven times with the most honourable award in the Latvian music society, Latvian Great Music Award, and has repeatedly received the newspaper’s Diena cultural awards. He has received “Golden Microphone” – Latvian national recording award for best classical recordings. There have been issued more than 25 albums with participation of conductor. Mr Sirmais holds the highest Latvian State award, the Order of the Three Stars, and is an honorary member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences.