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Ramans, Ģederts (1927 - 1999)

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Composer and teacher. His compositional output spans a variety of styles and genres, his most telling works being those incorporating elements of dance, game-dance and other social life genres involving movement, as well as components derived from popular music. He worked tirelessly to develop his skills in the field of symphonic music, but was also one of the few Latvian operetta composers of his time.
Born in Jelgava and a pupil of the Daugavpils School of Music from 1936, Ramans began studies in composition, clarinet and accordion in 1947 at the J. Medins Music School in Riga. He left this in 1950 to enrol at the Latvian State Conservatory (LSC), studying composition with Adolfs Skulte and graduating in 1955 with the first movement of a symphony as his graduation piece. From 1951 he worked as a recording engineer for Latvian Radio, from 1955 to 1968 in the same capacity for Latvian Television. He taught composition and theory of music at the Emils Darzins Music School from 1965, and also at the LSC from 1973 until the end of his life. He was Chairman of the Latvian Composers’ Union 1968-1984.
As a composer Ramans made his debut simultaneously in both symphonic and popular music. In the post-war years he was one of the first to write light vocal music, and also the very first Latvian composer to add elements of jazz to symphonic music (Concerto for saxophone, 1962, and other works). Apart from his three operettas, his creative work gradually developed to grow in depth and symphonic complexity and head towards psychological drama. This is clearly manifested in his nine symphonies and is evident in his choral music too. Ramans turned to choral music somewhat late in life, but was alert to the dominant themes of his time, including the poetic treatment of history and the glorification of nature. His choral music often treats scenes and objects in a concrete way, as can be seen, for instance, in his Fifth Symphony, written for orchestra, male choir and boys’ choir. His output includes five cantatas and also five other large-scale choral works consisting of several parts. Ramans has also written a good deal of music for the theatre, films and television.

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