Emilis Melngailis

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Melngailis, Emilis


(Emílis Melngailis). Born Feb. 3 (15), 1874, in Igatē, present-day Riga Raion; died Dec. 20, 1954, in Rīga. Soviet composer and folklorist. People’s Artist of the Latvian SSR (1945).

Melngailis graduated in 1901 from the St. Petersburg Conservatory, where he studied composition with N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov. From 1911 to 1913 he was conductor of the Song Days in Rīga. He helped organize and was principal conductor of the Latvian Song Festivals (1926-38). In 1923 he helped found the Association of Latvian Composers. He was chairman of the organizational bureau of the Composers’ Union of the Latvian SSR from 1944 to 1948, and from 1944 to 1954, a professor at the Latvian Conservatory.

Melngailis was a classic Latvian composer and an outstanding master of the Latvian choral song. The greatest collector of Latvian folk melodies, he published approximately 4,500 songs. He was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor.


Vitolin’, la. “Emil’ Melngailis.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1954, no. 5.
Emilis Melngailis. Rīga, 1949.
Stumbre, S. Emīlis Melngailis. Rīga, 1959.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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