Jānis Retenais is the first actively performing tuba teacher in the history of JVLMA. He is the founder of the Euphonium Class of the Academy and promotes euphonium performance at JVLMA. In 2001 he began teaching at E. Melngailis Liepāja Secondary Music School and in a year commenced work at the Tuba/Euphonium Class and Chamber Ensemble Class of J. Mediņš Riga Secondary Music School. Since 2002 he teaches at JVLMA; in 2012 he was appointed associated professor of the Wind Instrument Department, in 2008 he became the Head of the Brass Instrument Class, and in 2010 – the Head of JVLMA Department of Wind Instruments.
He studied at Luxembourg Conservatory with professor Patrick Krysatis and at ArtEZ Institute of the Arts (Holland) with professor Joost Smeets. He graduated the Tuba Class of JVLMA and acquired a master’s degree in chamber ensemble performance after studies with prof. Boļeslavs Voļaks (trombone). He has participated in masterclasses of the world leading tuba and euphonium performers: Roger Bobo - tuba (USA), Steven Mead - euphonium (Great Britain), James Gourlay – tuba (Scotland), Rex Martin – tuba (USA) Jukka Myllys – euphonium (Finland) Michael Lind – tuba (Sweden). He has given countless masterclasses at Latvian music schools, at further education courses for teachers, as well as at ArtEZ Institute of the Arts and Luxembourg Conservatory.
In 1999 together with his likeminded colleagues Jānis Retenais founded the trombone-tuba quartet “Shady Brass Q”. In 9 years the group gave over 700 performances in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Sweden, Luxembourg, and Norway. The ensemble captivated its audiences with its innovative ideas, professionalism and panache. Currently Jānis is a member of the tuba quartet BRASA NOVA. He was the artistic creator and director of the first Latvian tuba quartet “Tubalogia”, as well as a member of the tuba quartet “MAGIC 4”.
As a performer Jānis Retenais has given over 1000 concerts, premiering the Concerto for Tuba and Brass Band by A. Vecumnieks, participating in concerts of “Shady Brass Q”, BRASA NOVA, “Tubalogia” and “MAGIC 4” ensembles, as well as appearing in various masterclass-related concerts. He has also on many occasions performed various opuses as a member of symphonic orchestras and symphonic wind bands.
Jānis Retenais was the initiator and artistic director of the Riga Brass Symposium and the International Dixieland Festival “Umurga” 2012 and 2013.
In 2007 he established the Brass Ensemble of JVLMA, providing students with the valuable opportunity to hone their performance skills and enrich their brass ensemble repertoire.
Jānis Retenais has achieved considerable success as a conductor since 2009, when he commenced his duties as the conductor of J.Mediņš Riga Secondary Music School Wind Band:
2010 – 1st prize in the I Baltic States Wind Band Competition BALTIC OPEN (Jelgava),
2011 – 1st prize in the IV Latvian Wind Band Competition (Valmiera),
2011 – 1st prize in Gunārs Ordelovskis International Wind Band Festival (Auce),
2012 – 2nd prize (no 1st prize awarded) in the II Baltic States Wind Band Competition BALTIC OPEN (Valmiera),
2013 – Grand Prix in the International Brass Band Competition organized by the Lithuanian Brass Band Association (Panevezys),
2013 – Grand Award winner in Brass Band Final Parade of the XXV Latvian Nationwide Song Festival and XV Dance Festival,
2014 – 1st prize in the International Brass Band Orchestra Competition (Professional Brass Bands Category), organized by the Lithuanian Brass Band Association (Panevezys).