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Norvilis, Jānis (1906 - 1994)

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Janis Norvilis (1906-1994) is Latvian composer, pianist, organist, conductor and music pedagogue, who was born on rural district nearby Madona-on the Vecsetas estate, in the township of Prauliena. In 1922 he gained admission to piano and organ classes at the Latvian Conservatoire in Riga. After Janis Norvilis progressed to Jazeps Vitols composition class, and Emil Kuper and Georg Schneevogt conducting class. Leaving the Latvian Conservatoire in 1930, Janis Norvilis seems to have decided to devote himself to composition and musical education.
From 1933 he became a member of Latvian Composers Union and embarked on a number of choral works, the music for theatre and the first Latvian sound movie during pre-Soviet Latvian independence. In 1926, 1931, 1933 and 1938 he founded and conducted choirs participated in four Latvian Song Festivals.
Janis Norvilis was one of the thousands of Latvian intellectuals who fled from native country before the Soviet Army, first in Western German, but from 1950 onward in Canada. In exile he worked as a church organist and choir conductor for English speaking and German speaking services. Janis Norvils musical activities as composer expanded mainly in original works of vocal and instrumental music genres. His music is academic in the best sense of the term-in style and form it is restrained and clear.
In Canada Janis Norvilis continued to arrange Latvian folk songs for choirs and also made a manuscript of the collection of 33 folk tune adaptation for piano named Field of Songs (Dziesmu Druva). For a better understanding of the essence of the pieces, Janis Norvilis has included the corresponding Latvian folksong quatrains with the music. The major publisher in Latvia Musica Baltica was printed the first edition of Janis Norvilis Field of Songs: Latvian Folk Songs for Young Pianists (Riga, 2003, 60 p., ISMNM-706656-59-5).

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