The Chamber Ensemble, Piano Duet and Piano Accompaniment courses are as important for the overall preparation of new musicians as solo performances, as they help to develop all the skills needed for chamber music performances and prepare students for an independent career.
Chamber ensembles are led by pianists, in collaboration with other specialist teachers, who help all members of the ensemble to prepare their pieces at a high professional level. Piano accompaniment students develop concert master's skills in working with vocalists, instrumentalists, choirs and orchestra conductors, and learn the necessary basic repertoire.
Since 2008, the Department of Chamber Music has been involved in the European Chamber Music Teachers’ Association (ECMTA) which helps promote the international growth of chamber music. The high prestige of our academy among European music universities is evident in the feedback from former ERASMUS exchange students, as well as the willingness of foreign students to continue their studies at our academy.
In order to spark the desire of future musicians to create new chamber ensembles and to preserve the creative potential of existing ensembles, since 1993 the department, in cooperation with the JVLMA and the Latvian Radio Classics programme, has organised the JVLMA Best Student Chamber Ensemble Competition.
Among the graduates are many distinguished musicians – Professors Normunds Vīksne, Ilona Meija, Dace Kļava, Herta Hansena, Docents Mārtiņš Zilberts, Sandis Šteinbergs, Antra Vīksne, Veronika Rinkule work at the JVLMA and others at the Latvian National Opera and Ballet (LNOB) concert master (violinist) Svetlana Okuņa, cellist Inga Sunepa and pianists - concert masters Ilze Ozoliņa (Račevska), Zane Volberga, Ērika Millere (Apeine) and Veronika Zubairova and others. Docent Mārtiņs Zilberts is the LNOB’s chief concertmaster.
The department’s name has changed several times: Department of Chamber Ensembles (1959-1973), the Department of Chamber Ensembles and Concertmasters (1973-1979), individually the Department of Chamber Ensembles and the Department of Concertmasters (1979-1991), then the Department of Chamber Ensembles and Concertmasters again (1991-2002) and the Department of Chamber Ensembles and Piano Accompaniment (since 2002).
Since 1991, the department has been led by Docent, Professor Gunta Sproģe (now Rasa). Docents Maija Saiva, Daina Graubiņa, Dagnija Gailīte, Inta Villeruša, Professor Hermanis Brauns and many other teaching staff have made significant contributions to the development of new musicians.
In 1992, Jāzeps Vītols established a two-tier teaching system (bachelor’s and master’s) at the Latvian Academy of Music, which was also introduced in the department, opening up a master’s programme in the Department of Chamber Ensembles and Concertmasters. In 2002, this was reorganised and since 2008 has been the Department of Chamber Ensembles and Piano Accompaniment. During this time, over 100 master’s students have graduated with chamber ensemble, piano duet and piano accompaniment profiles.
The Department of Chamber Music combines the best artistic and teaching traditions accumulated in the conservatorys of Latvia, Moscow and St. Petersburg. Not only are they being preserved, but also developed and enhanced by forming new contacts with foreign music universities.
The contribution of Professor Jānis Ķepītis and the Academy's Honorary Professor Maija Saiva to the development of the traditions of chamber ensembles is invaluable, having provided significant experience to students at international festivals and master classes of music universities of the Baltic States, which started in 1966, and whose role is undeniably growing. The geographical spread of international chamber ensemble festivals is still expanding, having extended from the three Baltic States to 12 Member States nowadays.
Upon completion of a Professional Master's degree programme a graduate is granted a Professional Master's degree in Music or Choreography. Upon successful graduation from the Academic Master's degree programme, a Master of Arts degree in Humanities is conferred.
At the end of academic doctorate studies, students receive a statement regarding the acquisition of a doctorate study programme and, after successfully defending the promotional work, obtains a doctoral diploma and a degree of Doctor of Arts (Dr. Art.).