From the 2018/19 season, Ainārs Rubiķis is the General Music Director of the Komische Oper Berlin. Rubiķis first gained international attention when he won the Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition in 2010. In 2011, he was awarded the Nestlé and Salzburger Festspiele’s Young Conductors Award and went on to conduct the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra at the Salzburger Festspiele. From 2012 to 2014 he led the Novosibirsk State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre as Musical Director and Head Conductor, and was awarded the prestigious Golden Mask Award for best conductor, for the new production of Bernstein’s Mass.
In the 2016/17 season Rubiķis debuted at the Lyric Opera of Chicago (Carmen), Theater Basel (La forza del destino), and the Finnish National Opera, among others. In summer 2017, he conducted The Flying Dutchman at the Passionstheater Oberammergau. He made his debut at the Welsh National Opera with a new production of Eugene Onegin, which opened the 2017/18 season, and then returned to the Finnish National Opera with La traviata. His first production at the Komische Oper Berlin will be The Nose in Summer 2018, in a production by Barrie Kosky.
Highlights from past seasons include opera conducting duties at the Bolshoi Theatre (Boris Godunov), the New National Theatre Tokyo (Macbeth) and the Gran Teatre del Liceu (Carmen). Orchestrally, Rubiķis has worked with the likes of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Orquestra Gulbenkian, the Royal Northern Sinfonia, the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, the Bamberger Symphoniker, and the symphony orchestras of Bournemouth, Toronto, Heidelberg and Melbourne.
Rubiķis was initially trained at the Emīls Dārziņš School – Latvia’s leading institution for young musicians – and at the Riga Cathedral Choir School. He subsequently studied choir conducting at the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music and supplemented his degree in orchestral conducting with post-graduate studies under Andris Vecumnieks, and master classes with Mariss Jansons and Zsolt Nagy. From 2000 to 2005 he was the artistic director of the University of Latvia’s traditional chamber choir Dziesmuvara, and from 2006 to 2010 was assistant conductor and a member of the Latvian Radio Choir. He continues to regularly work with ensembles in his home country, conducting works such as and The Magic Flute at the Latvian National Opera.