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In November 1996, Gidon Kremer created the KREMERata BALTICA chamber orchestra, which seeks to embody the cultural values of the three Baltic States, with assistance from the Lithuanian conductor Saulius Sondeckis. The orchestra consists of 26 talented young musicians from the Baltic States – Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia – personally chosen by Gidon Kremer by audition. The orchestra’s first concert took place on February 9, 1997 in the Latvian capital, Riga. Since then, KREMERata BALTICA has performed to great success at numerous international music festivals, including Salzburg, Dubrovnik, Gstaad, and Moscow’s North-West Festival. Its creative mission is to develop the artistry of its members as well as represent Baltic culture as a worldwide ambassador. It also plays an important role in maintaining a link between Gidon Kremer and his homeland. A key component of the orchestra’s activity is the performance of music by Baltic composers, such as Arvo Pärt, Erkki-Sven Tüür, Peteris Vasks, and Fliksas Bajoras, among others. The ensemble made its first European tour in autumn, 1997.