Minister brings the cream of Latvian culture to America

Culture minister Dace Melbārde continued her week-long working visit to the United States Thursday, traveling from Washington to New York to give an opening speech before the Lincoln Center performance of the State Choir Latvija.

The Latvian Embassy in Washington has organized the concert at the Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall as part of Latvia’s Presidency of the Council of the EU, together with the American Latvian Association, and with support from SIA Pata AB.

The choir’s artistic director Māris Sirmais said ahead of the performance at one of New York City’s most venerable venues:  “I won’t be exaggerating when I say that we’ve brought a real parade of choir music masterpieces to New York. We’ve put together this program from the best works of the Baltic region’s most outstanding composers.”

On Wednesday Melbārde met with officials from the Library of Congress in Washington, the world’s largest, where she presented one of Latvia’s official gifts of its Presidency of the Council of the EU to James Billington, the Librarian of Congress – the historic facsimile volume titled Terra Mariana. 1186-1888. The album-format book covers the spread of Christianity in Livonia, the historical territory ruled as a German colony from which the nation of Latvia eventually emerged.

While at the Library of Congress, Melbārde related the story of Latvia’s brand-new National Library building, designed by Latvian-American architect Gunārs Birkerts and praised the US congressional institution for helping preserve so many of Latvia’s books and periodicals in its vast collections.

This weekend she is scheduled to attend the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s concert conducted by Latvian sensation Andris Nelsons, where she will also present a certificate of distinction to Birkerts and meet with members of Boston’s Latvian community.

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