Gunars Upatnieks

Born in Jelgava (Latvia)

Member since 2011-09-01


1st Prize and Audience Award in the 58th ARD International Music Competition (2009), 1st Prize and Audition Award in the 5th International Johann-Matthias-Sperger-competition for Double Bass (2008)

“Like most young musicians, I too dreamed of being able one day to play in this orchestra. It’s a dream that comes true for only a few, so now I’m feeling extremely fortunate and honoured to be a member of the Berliner Philharmoniker. To make music with such great colleagues is a unique and indescribable experience.”

 As a boy Gunars Upatnieks, scion of a family of musicians, was more interested in rowing and basketball. Not until the age of 13 did he discover his instrument. His father played double bass, and Gunars was fascinated by the instrument’s myriad possibilities and sonorous timbre. He studied it at the music academies of Riga and Brno, where he was a pupil of Miloslav Jelinek. From 2005 to 2009 Upatnieks was principal bass in the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra; during the 2010/11 season he was assistant principal bass in the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. A prize-winner at numerous competitions, he has also appeared as a soloist and with ensembles including the Bavarian Radio Symphony and Nordic Symphony orchestras and with conductors such as Mariss Jansons, Neeme Järvi and Mstislav Rostropovich. In his free time, Upatnieks is happiest in his circle of friends and family. He likes to travel and is still keen on sport – he regularly plays basketball.