Ainārs Rubiķis took up his position as Music Director of the Komische Oper Berlin at the start of the 2018/19 season. Latvian-born, he came to international attention as winner of the 2010 Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition. The following year, he was recipient of the second Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award and subsequently conducted the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester at the Salzburger Festspiele. He served as Music Director and Chief Conductor of Novosibirsk State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre from 2012 to 2014, and was awarded a prestigious Golden Mask Award as “Best Conductor” for the Company’s new production of Bernstein’s Mass.
Highlights with the Komische Oper have included new productions of Die Tote Stadt, La Traviata and the world premiere of Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder , together with Zauberflote, The Love for Three Oranges, Cendrillon, , Der Rosenkavalier and Rigoletto. Recent productions have also included a return to the Bolshoi Theatre for their new production of Rusalka, his acclaimed debut with Welsh National Opera (Eugene Onegin); and, for Komische Oper Berlin prior to taking up his appointment, Barrie Kosky’s Die Nase. The past few seasons have included Finnish National Opera (La traviata), Lyric Opera of Chicago (Carmen); Theater Basel (La forza del destino); Bolshoi Theatre (Boris Godunov); Latvian National Opera (most recently Eugene Onegin); Oberammergau (Der fliegende Holländer, Nabucco); New National Theatre Tokyo (Carmen) and The Gran Teatre del Liceu (Carmen).
The 2020/21 season includes new productions of Rusalka and Oedipe, alongside a revival of Die Zauberflöte and regular symphonic programmes for the Komische Oper Berlin. Guest conducting includes his return to the Bolshoi Theatre (Rusalka) and his symphonic debut with Staatsorchester Stuttgart.
A number of planned engagements sadly fell victim to the COVID-19 pandemic, including visits to the Kassel Staatstheater, Hannover Staatsoper and the Symphonieorchester Innsbruck
Past seasons have included guest conducting with Bamberger Symphoniker, Ulster Orchestra, Orchestre National d’Ile de France, Jyväskylä Sinfonia (St Matthew Passion), Innsbrucker Festwochen der alten Musik, Poznan Philharmonic, Residentie Orkest (Hague Philharmonic), Basque National (Euskadi) Orchestra, Queensland Symphony, Moscow State Symphony, St Petersburg Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, Heidelberg Symphony, Gulbenkian Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Lucerne Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Brussels Philharmonic, Estonian National Symphony and Budapest Philharmonic. UK engagements have included BBC Scottish Symphony and BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Bournemouth Symphony, Royal Northern Sinfonia and Edinburgh International Festival (with Bamberger Symphoniker and Komische Oper Berlin).
Born in Riga, Ainars studied piano and violin at the Emil Darzins School – Latvia’s leading institution for outstanding young musicians and was a member of the Riga Cathedral Choir, where he also pursued his vocal studies. He later gained his degree in choral conducting from the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Music Academy and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir prize. He pursued postgraduate studies in orchestral conducting with Andris Vecumnieks, also participating in masterclasses with Mariss Jansons and Zsolt Nagy and served as Assistant Conductor of Latvian National Opera.
From 2000 to 2005, he served as Artistic Director of the long-established Dziesmuvara, the University of Latvia chamber choir, and from 2006 to 2010, was a member and conductor of the renowned Latvian Radio Choir. He also took part in the 2010 Internationales Kammermusikfest Lockenhaus with Kremerata Baltica and Gidon Kremer and now returns regularly to Latvian National Symphony, Sinfonietta Riga and Latvian National Opera.