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Bregis, Valdis (1928 - 2011)

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Valdis Breģis was born on the 2nd July 1928 in Madona, and grew up with four siblings on his father Pēteris Breģis’ farm “Lejas Svincos”, Sarkaņu parish. He attended Sarkaņu Primary School, then Madona’s 1st Secondary School. From 1946 to 1949 he studied choral conducting at Cēsis Music Secondary School and natural sciences at the Cēsis Teacher’s Institute. While he was studying in Cēsis, at the age of 20, he was already conducting the Cēsis Teacher’s Institute women’s choir and writing his own songs. This was followed by a year of working at the Cēsis Teacher’s Institute, and studies at the conservatoire in Mendelis Bašs’ choral conducting class.
He started his working life in Riga in 1955 at the Ministry of Culture in the arts department. In 1959 he became the director of the Emilis Melngailis Centre for the Arts. Afterwards he worked for many years at the department of arts and education at the Ministry of Culture. However, the largest portion of his life – between 1966 and 1991 – was spent at the Riga Technical School of Culture and Education Employees (now the Latvian College of Culture), educating the next generation of culture employees and conductors. His whole creative life was given over to choral music and choral conducting. He was the head conductor of the Madona region choir between 1958 and 1985, and for many years was the conductor of the Riga town Proletarian region choir. He composed music, worked
in the New Composers’ Union at the Latvian Composers’ Union, and compiled several collections of songs. The amateur choir repertoire of the 1950s to 70s included several of Valdis Breģis’ songs such as “Crab-apple Blossom” and “Summer”, which are characterised as romantic landscapes with texts by Latvian poets. At the same time as working and teaching Valdis Breģis always lead ensembles, right up until 1988: Riga’s 1st  Medicine School’s girls’ choir; the Communications Workers’ mixed choir; “Riga’s Fabric” mixed choir; the women’s choir “Friendship”; Riga Technical School of Culture and Education Employees’ women’s choir; the women’s choir “Madara”; the State Library’s female vocal ensemble; the Suntaži mixed choir. After retiring in 1991 he lived a relatively isolated life, rarely going into society and struggling with health problems until the end of his life. He passed away on the 4th October 2011.

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