Juozas Mato Gruodis

Gruodis, Juozas Mato


Born Dec. 8 (20), 1884, in Rakenai, in present-day Zarasai Raion, Lithuanian SSR; died Apr. 16, 1948, in Kaunas. Soviet composer, teacher, and conductor. Honored Art Worker of the Lithuanian SSR (1944).

Gruodis studied at the Moscow Conservatory in 1915–16 and graduated from the Leipzig Conservatory, where he studied composition, in 1924. He was a conductor in Kaunas (1924–27), director of the Kaunas School of Music (1927–37), and director of the conservatory (from 1933, professor from 1946). He is the composer of the ballet Jurate and Kastitis (produced in 1933 in Kaunas), based on a Lithuanian folk fairy tale; symphonic variations on Lithuanian national themes (1945); symphonic poems; instrumental chamber works; songs and choruses; and music for the theater. Gruodis was the first to attempt the creative use of elements of Lithuanian folk many-voiced music—sutartine —in professional music. Gruodis’ students include A. Raciunas, Ju. Juzeliunas, V. Klova, and A. Budriunas. He was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor.