Medinš, Jekabs

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Mediņš, Jēkabs

 

Born Mar. 10 (22), 1885, in Riga; died there Nov. 27, 1971. Latvian composer, teacher, and conductor; People’s Artist of the Latvian SSR (1960). Brother of Jazeps and Janis Mediņš.

In 1905, Mediņš graduated from the Riga Music Institute, where he studied violin, organ, piano, and conducting; he took advanced training in the summer program of the Higher Music School in Berlin. He was director of the music school in Syzran’ from 1917 to 1920 and of the conservatory in Jelgava from 1921 to 1944. In 1944 he began teaching choral conducting at the Latvian Conservatory; he became a professor in 1945 and was rector from 1948 to 1951.

Mediņš was a prominent figure in Latvian choral culture and one of the main conductors at many song festivals of the Latvian SSR (1948-70). As a composer he was an adherent of the classical tradition; he wrote choral works, cantatas, and choral adaptations of Latvian folk songs, as well as 11 concerti for various instruments with orchestra (including the clarinet, 1948; kokle, 1952; and organ, 1954), and three string quartets. He was author of Foundations of Choral Studies (1956) and an autobiography, Silhouettes (1968). Mediņš was a deputy to the third convocation of the Supreme Soviet of the Latvian SSR. He was awarded two orders.

J. VĪTOLIŅŠ