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Janis Ivanovs (1906 - 1983)

Janis Ivanovs was born on 9 October1906 in a small Latvian town called Preili. He graduated in 1931 from the Latvian State Conservatory in Riga, where his studied compositions with Jazeps Vitols and conducting with Georg Schnéevoight. He continued post-graduate studies with Vitols until 1933. In 1931 he began a long association with Latvian Radio, eventually becoming the artistic director of the Latvian Radio Committee. In 1944 he joined the faculty of the Latvian State Conservatory, becoming full professor in 1955. He was president of the Latvian Composers’ Union and was awarded the titles People’s Artist of the Latvian SSR (1956) and People’s Artist of the USSR (1965). Janis Ivanovs died in 1983 after completing three movements of his Symphony No. 21.

Ivanovs is considered Latvia’s most distinguished symphonist. His grasp of orchestral colour and musical texture was so extraordinary that his colleagues often praised him for his precise, expressive, and nationalistic musical idiom. Had be only written his Fourth (Atlantida), Fifth or Sixth (Latgales) Symphonies, he would have left an indelible mark on music history. However, he composed 21 symphonies, three concertos for various instruments, cello, violin, and piano, five symphonic poems, three string quartets, and numerous vocal, piano and chamber works.

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