Kalnin, Alfred Ianovich

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kalnin’, Alfred Ianovich


(also Alfrēds Kalnins). Born Aug. 11 (23), 1879, in Cēsis; died Dec. 23, 1951, in Riga. Soviet composer and public figure; People’s Artist of the Latvian SSR (1945).

Kalnin’ studied at the St. Petersburg Conservatory (1897–1901). He began his career as a composer in the first decade of the 20th century and also worked as an organist and choral conductor. In 1925–26 he was one of the directors of the Latvian National Opera, and from 1927 to 1933 he lived in the USA. From 1944 to 1948 he was rector of the Lavian Conservatory (in 1947 he became a professor). He composed the first Latvian opera, Banuta (staged in 1920; revised version, 1941). In 1943 he composed a ballet entitled Staburags (Staburadze in its second version, 1957; State Prize of the Latvian SSR, 1958), which contained elements of Latvian musical folklore.

Kalnin’ was a master of the Latvian solo and choral ballad, cantata, song, and arrangements of Latvian songs. Many of Kalnin’s songs were based on texts by the poet J. Rainis. He also enriched various forms of Latvian instrumental-symphonic, piano, and organ music. Kalnin’s music is characterized by national themes, melodic richness, and imagery.


Vitoliņš, J. Alfreds Kalninš. Riga, 1968.
Klotiņš, A. Alfrēda Kalniņa Klaviermuzika. Riga, 1970.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.