Friday, July 9, 2010

Final Blog Post

This post marks the conclusion of "Our Latvia Adventure-Book," which is appropriate since the family Ričardsoni are all back in the United States.  Our intention is to focus on the talented trumpet students with whom Bill worked over the last 5.5 months.  Bill taught four trumpet students at the Jazeps Vitols Latvian Academy of Music, two trumpet students at the Jazeps Medins Riga Music School, and a brass quintet from the Medins school.  There were many other "one-time" students he met at the music academy, at various master classes throughout the country, and during the Riga International Brass Symposium.  Being an applied music teacher with primarily one-to-one instruction really allows for great interaction, and it was really wonderful getting to know each student musically and personally.

Congratulations to Latvian trumpeter Janis Ivuskans, who just graduated with his bachelor's degree in trumpet from the J.V.L.M.A.!  Janis became a full-time professional trumpeter in the Liepaja Symphony Orchestra this January, so we were able to meet for trumpet lessons only when he was back in Riga.  He also plays in the professional wind orchestra RIGA and will begin working on his master's degree at the J.V.L.M.A. this academic year.
Guntis Supe is a fine trumpet player who just finished his third year at the music academy.  In addition to playing professionally in Riga's City Jazz Big Band and working on his music degree, he is concurrently working on his law degree.
Viesturs Galenieks is a wind orchestra conducting student at the J.V.L.M.A. and an excellent trumpet player.  Bill enjoyed playing in the University of Latvia Wind Orchestra trumpet section with Viesturs and under his direction with the Jurmala Youth Wind Orchestra, which he co-conducts.
Oskars Ozoliņš is a jazz trumpet student at the music academy. Although the jazz program is in its infant stages at the J.V.L.M.A., the students involved are quite talented and dedicated. In addition to his jazz trumpet playing, Oskars is very involved in the pop music scene in Latvia.
Bill taught two trumpet students at the Jazeps Medins Riga Music School this spring as well.  Congratulations to recent graduate Jānis Auziņš, a very fine trumpeter who will begin studying music at the J.V.L.M.A. this academic year.  He has also been "promoted" to the position of solo flugelhorn with the Latvian Brass Band.
Janis Grudinskis just finished his second year at the Medins school.  He is an excellent trumpeter with amazing triple-tongue technique.  This was a good hair-day for the young Grudinskis!
Kārlis Jēkabsons is a local trumpeter in Riga who plays professionally in many groups and teaches at the Darzins Riga Music School.  Although he is not a student at the music academy anymore, Karlis met Bill regularly for trumpet lessons.
Bill was able to work with the talented Medins School Brass Quintet for the first three months of the semester.  Here is a not-so-recent picture of Jānis Auziņš, trumpet; Kārlis Rērihs, horn; Kaspars Smits, tuba; Rūdolfs Kulbergs, trombone; and Janis Grudinskis, trumpet. 
Many thanks to the teachers who so graciously shared their students during our stay in the Republic of Latvia - Edgars Bārzdiņš, Pēteris Kaldre, Janis Porietis, and Janis Retenais.

So we were able to edit some more videos of May and June performances.  The first is the final performance of Bob Chilcott's Mass for Peace (part 1part 2), and the final video is a flugelhorn solo Bill performed with the University of Latvia Wind Orchestra, Janis Purins conducting (Rodrigo, movement 2).

Our time in Latvia was filled with outstanding friendships and experiences that we will never forget.  Honestly, there are too many people for us to thank individually...we would inadvertently leave somebody important out!  Although this blog has come to a close, please feel free to visit the Northwest Missouri State University Trumpet Studio Blog ( which should be up and running in a few weeks.

The Fulbright program was named after Arkansas Senator William J. Fulbright, the longest serving chairman in the history of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  The Fulbright program was established in 1946 "to increase mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and other countries through the exchange of persons, knowledge, and skills.  It is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs." (Liels Paldies, Wikipedia!).  For more information, feel free to visit

Last call for alcohol, folks.  We have enjoyed sharing our experiences with you and sincerely hope that readers have enjoyed following our overseas exploits.  Čau!