Riga Cathedral Girls’ Choir TIARA resounds in the award-winning documentary “Women Warriors: The Voices of Change”
The documentary film Women Warriors: The Voices of Change continues to gain international acclaim. Most recently, it has won two notable international awards – the Chicago Indie Film Awards in the category Best Composer, as well as the Best Independent Documentary at the LA Independent Women Film Award. The soundtrack of the film also features the voices of Riga Cathedral Girls’ Choir TIARA conducted by Aira Birziņa. Together with the soloist Gillian Hassert TIARA performs the song “We Rise”, composed by the world-famous Latvian composer Lolita Ritmanis living in Los Angeles, and the author of the words is the project’s artistic director and producer – charismatic American conductor Amy Andersson.
The idea of the Women Warriors: The Voices of Change is to honour and support women around the world who have fought for social justice, human and civil rights, environmental causes, minority rights, gender equality and the right of every girl to have access to education. The creator of this significant idea is Amy Andersson, a unique and tireless musician and producer in one person. Music was created by eight brilliant Hollywood composers and songwriters Nathalie Bonin, Miriam Cutler, Anne-Kathrin Dern, Isolde Fair, Starr Parodi, Penka D Kouneva, Sharon Farber and Lolita Ritmanis. Initially, this large-scale musical project Women Warriors: The Voices of Change was a multimedia symphonic concert in synchronization with the documentary, which was made in parallel with the concert program. Riga Cathedral Girls’ Choir TIARA was invited to be a part of this inspiring concert with a virtual performance. The world premiere was on September 20th, 2019 at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center (New York). The premiere sparked a wide international resonance and received critical and audience acclaim for its unique experience, social impact, and its inspiration to maintain hope and courage.
In February 2020, the artistic director of the project Amy Andersson visited Riga to record the soundtrack of the concert program in the Latvian Radio 1st studio together with specially assembled Latvian orchestra musicians. While visiting Riga, conductor Amy Andersson met in person with the singers of the Riga Cathedral Girls’ Choir TIARA for the first time, and this meeting turned out to be especially touching and inspiring.
The multimedia project and film “Women Warriors: The Voices of Change” have been repeatedly noticed internationally – it has been officially selected and nominated for awards at the Montreal Independent Film Festival, The Impact DOCS Awards and The IndieFEST Film Awards. In 2020, the project received the prestigious US Shorty Social Goods Awards’ gold diploma in the category Live Events.
At the beginning of 2021, the soundtrack of Women Warriors: The Voices of Change was released, which is available both in digital format (Apple Music, iTunes, Amazon, Pandora) and the CD version, and excerpts of it can be heard here.
Aira Birziņa (1968) graduated from the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music, Bachelor’s degree in the class of Edgars Račevskis and Ivars Bērziņš (1992), Master’s degree in the class of Imants Kokars (1995). Since 1997 she has been the conductor of the Ogre Women’s Choir “Rasa”, and since 2000 she has been conducting both the Women’s Choir “Dzintars” and the Riga Dome Choir School Girls’ Choir. Since 2003 she has been the chief conductor of the Ogre district choirs and the artistic director of the Ogre Music Festival. She has been the chief conductor of the XXIII and XXIV Latvian Song Festivals, the initiator and active organiser of several important choral music festivals and educational events. She has worked at the Department of Conducting and Vocal Pedagogy at the Riga Academy of Pedagogy and Educational Management, since 2006 she has been an assistant professor at the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music, and since 2011 – an associate professor of choral conducting. Together with the choirs “Ausma”, “Dzintars” and the Riga Dome Choir School Girls’ Choir she has won several important international choir competitions. As a lecturer she has conducted seminars, courses, master classes, as an expert she has served on various juries of Latvian choirs, vocal ensembles and young choir competitions, as well as on juries of international choir competitions. She has been a member of the Council of the choir sector at the Centre for Culture and Intangible Heritage for several years.