The role of choir conductors and music teachers in the Latvian cultural space and cultural environment is invaluable in ensuring international recognition of Latvian culture and music.
The main task of students and teaching staff is both to promote the Latvian choral singing culture and Song Celebration traditions globally, as well as to strengthen the continuity of the traditions and the prestige of the profession. The prestige and development of the choral conducting profession can only be achieved by high professional criteria in the music education process.
As part of their studies, the future choir conductors have the opportunity to work with the JVLMA female and mixed choirs, thereby deepening and applying their theoretical knowledge in practice and gaining new experience in working with the choirs. There is also the opportunity to participate in various national and international competitions, such as the Jāzeps Vītols 6th International Choral Conductors Competition.
A large number of the graduates from the JVLMA Department of Choral Conducting continue their work in the conductor's profession, boosting its popularity in Latvia and the world.
In 2019, the Department of Choral Conducting celebrated its 75th anniversary. Since the foundation of the department and the establishment of a professional choral conducting school in Latvia, growth has increased and around 700 choir conductors have graduated from the Jāzeps Vītols Conservatory and JVLMA.
Latvian choral art and the conducting school have gained widespread international recognition in competitions and festivals of choirs and conductors. The Latvian Radio Choir (artistic director Sigurds Kļava), the State Choir “Latvija” (artistic producer, associate professor Māris Sirmais) and Riga chamber choir “Ave Sol” (artistic director, associate professor Andris Veismanis) and many of Latvia’s best academic choirs take part in concerts organised by professional music producers and agencies throughout the world.
Generations of distinguished, professional choral conductors have shaped the succession and development of the Latvian Song Celebration tradition, as well as recognition globally with artistically vibrant programmes – Teodors Reiters, Teodors Kalniņš, Imants and Gido Kokars, Ausma Derkēvica, Edgars Račevskis, Sigvards Kļava, Kaspars Putniņš, Andris Veismanis, Māris Sirmais, Aira Birziņa, Mārtiņš Ozoliņš, Ainārs Rubiķis, Kaspars Ādamsons, Jānis Liepiņš, Jānis Ozols, among others.
Upon successful graduation of a Bachelor’s study programme a Professional Bachelor's degree in Music, Choreography or Musical Pedagogy (in programmes General Education Music Teacher, Professional Music Subject Teacher) is conferred upon a student, together with the fifth level professional qualification according to the specialisation (pianist, violinist, choral conductor, composer, musicologist, choreographer etc.).
The integral curriculum of the Bachelor's studies, which in addition to academic and professional training courses also include the courses required for teaching, provides all graduates the corresponding pedagogical qualification (teacher of piano playing, violin playing, choral conducting, music theory, dance, etc.). Considering the requirements of
today's labour market, a number of study programmes allow students the option to obtain the right to work in a music school as a teacher of a different subject (to teach piano playing, music theory, a related wind instrument, etc.) as an elective course.
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.).