Gunars Upatnieks was born in 1983 in Jelgava, Latvia into a very musical family. He studied bass at the Music Academy of Latvia in Riga and at the Music Academy L. Janacek in Brno, Czech Republic with Miloslav Jelinek. 2005 - 2009 he was a solo bassist of the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra. From 2010 he holds the assistant principal bass position with Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra.
Among his most recent competition successes:
- Musician of the Year 2010/ Radio Classic Latvia
- 1 Prize and Audience Prize at the 58th ARD International Music Competition
- 1 Prize and Audience Prize at the 5th International J.M. Sperger competition for Solo Double Bass players in Ludwigslust (Germany), 2008
- Grand Prix, Special Prize for the best performance and the "Garry Karr Award" at the International Competition for Double Bass in Wrocław (Poland), 2008
- Grand Prix, 1st Prize at the International Competition for Solo Double Bass by the International Society of Bassists in Oklahoma (USA), 2007
- 1 Prize at the 3rd F. Simandl International Competition for solo double bass in Czech Republic, 2008.
Gunars has performed concerts in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Austria, Germany, Spain, the Czech Republic, Hungary and the USA. He has worked with such orchestras as the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, the Nordic Symphony Orchestra, the Schwerin State Orchestra, the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Munich Chamber Orchestra.
He has played under the direction of Mariss Jansons, Andris Nelsons, Lawrence Renes, Olari Elts, Anu Tali, Mstislav Rastropovich, Mathias Foremmny and many others.