Trio Art-i-Shock is one of the most expert, original and remarkable Latvian chamber ensembles. In addition, its combination of instruments is quite unique in the context of European classical music. Since its inception in 2011, Art-i-Shock has united three superb, young female musicians, each with her own distinct personality and temperament: pianist Agnese Egliņa, percussionist Elīna Endzele and cellist Guna Šnē. The name of the ensemble contains references to striving towards musical perfection and a desire to surprise and please listeners as well as sometimes also provoke them in a friendly way. The musicians believe that a refined sense of humour, an element of play and creative shock are the starting points for all creative work and self-discovery.
Likewise, the trio’s concert programmes are rich in contrasts and musical experiments. By collaborating with composers and actively promoting the creation of new compositions, Art-i-Shock is adding to and broadening the musical repertoire for cello, piano and percussion. The three musicians have garnered enthusiasm from critics regarding their careful study of each new work, their technical mastery and their refined and nuanced performance of contemporary music.
In addition to compositions written specially for Art-i-Shock, the ensemble also plays its own arrangements of music as well as arrangements by others. Its repertoire covers a timeline stretching from the Middle Ages to today.
Art-i-Shock was founded quite by accident, when the three musicians – having all been nominated for the Latvian Great Music Award in 2010 for best work in an ensemble – performed together at the awards ceremony. There they played percussionist Andrei Pushkarev’s arrangement of Astor Piazzolla’s Milonga de la Anunciación. And then they decided to turn this first, chance meeting on stage into a regularly performing and artistically exciting musical partnership. Art-i-Shock performs most often in Riga, although the trio also frequently plays at regional centres throughout Latvia. It has also performed in Norway, Estonia, Lithuania, Albania and Gibraltar.
Art-i-Shock has performed at the "Arena" and "Latvian New Music Days" contemporary music festivals in Latvia as well as at Percussion Ukmergė in Lithuania and the European Forum of Music. It has performed at the festivals Sansusī, Dominante, European Christmas and Riga Festival. The trio has collaborated with the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, the Liepāja Symphony Orchestra and the Sinfonia Concertante chamber orchestra and, under the direction of conductors Andris Poga, Ainārs Rubiķis and Atvars Lakstīgala, performed the triple concertos written by composers Andris Vecumnieks and Juris Karlsons that was dedicated to the trio.
In 2016 the trio Art-i-Shock celebrated its fifth anniversary. The celebration took the form of many concerts and the learning of new compositions. It culminated with the trio’s participation in Euroradio’s Christmas marathon of live performances, where it represented the Latvijas Radio 3 Klasika channel. The concert was broadcast in 22 countries (including the national broadcasters of Great Britain, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Bavaria, Saarbrücken, Hessen, Austria, Greece, Iceland, Canada and Australia), and as soon as the music came to an end, colleagues from abroad were already getting in touch with Latvijas Radio 3 Klasika to praise the trio’s performance.