An original building in the form of a musical instrument – a piano. One of the most popular concert halls in Latvia, in which world-class musicians regularly perform.
This building is named after its unique façade in which the windows appear to resemble a piano keyboard. It was opened to the public in May of 2001. The choice of the building’s appearance is not accidental; music is an important part of its history. The great composer, organist, teacher, music critic, conductor, and founder of the Latvian national opera, Alfred Kalnins, spent most summers here during his youth. Kalnin’s family moved here in 1894 and lived here at 19 Sveices (Swiss) street for ten years until the composer’s father passed away. It was in Sigulda where he created his first solo pieces.
Though his life later took him to Parnu, Liepāja, Tartu, Riga, New York, and other places, he always came back to Sigulda for inspiration for his artistic work. Kalnins wrote in his memoirs: “Sigulda filled me with a very deep and long-lasting impression in every season and it was there that I began to compose outdoors even without a piano. I was also deeply touched by Latvian poetry with its incredibly beautiful and strong connection with nature. Often songs were inspired by them.
Many of my songs were conceived during my walks around the glens of Sigulda and the creeks of the Gauja River. I would carry a thin book of poetry with me titled “On the side of the road” by the poets Niedra and Blaumanis. I remember the place where I composed the song “Beyond the hills.“ During that night I was between Sigulda’s castle ruins and a highway, approximately halfway down the hill and a beautiful sunset colored the high trees on the side of Krimulda and I felt like someone was singing from very far away.”
The street’s name has changed along with the passing of time and powers. However, the place will always belong to music. The summerhouse where Alfred Kalnins spent the summer of 1920 was remodeled to be a music school in 1970. It also currently houses a school of Arts and a concert hall “Baltais flīģelis/ the White Grand Piano” with 250 seats.
The concert hall opened with a series of concerts “The stars of Sigulda’s music” in 2001. It included Sigulda natives such as lead opera soloist Egils Silins, pianist Liene Circene, Latvian National Opera soloist Miervaldis Jenčs, singer/songwriter Zigfrīds Muktupavels and many others. World-renowned musician, violinist Gidon Kremer has also performed at “Baltais Flīģelis”.