Aija Draguns is a Sydney-based emerging conductor, composer, and arranger. She has a special passion for composing and directing choral music. She aims to captivate audiences with her emotive music, which is largely influenced by her Latvian heritage.
Born in 1999, Aija studied piano and saxophone, and sung in various choirs and ensembles in the Latvian community. Aija attended the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, completing a Bachelor of Music (Composition) in 2020, and a Bachelor of Music Studies (Composition Honours) in 2021, studying under composers Paul Stanhope and Daniel Rojas. It was at university where Aija found her love for choral music, singing in the Conservatorium’s chamber choir. She workshopped, premiered,
and conducted various compositions and arrangements with the university choir, later co-founding her own student composer choir, Ad Lib. From choral directing, Aija began studying orchestral conducting under Elizabeth Scott, John Lynch and George Ellis, working as Ellis’ conducting assistant between 2020-21. Aija now works under director Sam Weller as part of Ensemble Apex’s orchestral conducting fellowship for 2021-22. Aija also freelance conducts school bands and community choirs, including the Sydney Latvian choir, recently directing the combined choir for the Australian Latvian Arts Festival concert: The Music of Ēriks Ešenvalds. She also directs the choir and band program at the yearly Latvian Summer camp (Annas Ziedares Vasaras Vidusskolu) in Adelaide.
Aija’s compositions have been programmed by Sydney Philharmonia choir (Vox) and orchestra, Sydney Conservatorium chamber and big choirs, Konzertprojekt, Trinitiy Grammar School choir, Sydney Children’s choirs (Gondwana), Coro Innominata, the Australian Latvian Cultural Festival, The House that Dan Built, and Melbourne Latvian choir (Daina). She also works as an orchestral arranger, writing for “Queen Orchestrated” and “David Bowie Orchestrated” shows, performed around Australia. Aija has most recently been commissioned for a new children’s opera (“Max and Moritz”) to be performed by Musgrove Opera at the Sydney Opera House in August 2022.