Gunars Upatnieks, prize winner at numerous competitions, including the prestigious ARD Music Competition, the International ISB Solo Competition and the International Johann Matthias Sperger Competiton for Double Bass, has thrilled audiences around the world with his solo bass performances.
Despite being a descendant of two musicians, as a boy Gunars was more interested in basketball and rowing. It was not until the age of 13 that he discovered his passion for music and bass. His father played the double bass, and, eventually, it captured Gunar's interest as an instrument with myriad of possibilities and unique timbre. He studied the bass at music academies in Riga, Latvia and in Brno, Czech Republic, where he was a student of Miloslav Jelinek. From 2005 to 2009, Gunars was the principal bass at the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra. During the season of 2010/2011, he was the assistant principal bass at the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. Since 2011, Gunars is a member of the renowned Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
Since 2015 Gunars Upatnieks teaches at the Hanns Eisler School of Music Berlin
As well as the solo-repertoire of the classic and romantic period such as the double bass concertos of Bottesini, Dittersdorf and Koussevitzky, Gunars interest also lies in works by contemporary composers Peteris Vasks and Rolf Martinsson. Gunars Upatnieks performances could be enjoyed in concerts with great symphony orchestras as well as in recitals with pianists and chamber musicians.
Gunars regularly performs as a soloist and a chamber musician, as well as teaches workshops. This season he participated in the opening of the new Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, together with Latvian National Symphony Orchestra played E. Tubins’ concert for bass and orchestra, and taught master classes at the London Royal College of Music and the Amsterdam Conservatory.
In his free time, Gunars is happiest in his circle of family and friends. He likes to travel and enjoys sports - he regularly plays basketball and football.