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Gedulis, Guntars (1952)

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"Music is a window to a different, spiritual world; a bridge that brings us out of the everyday and joins us with the experience."

Guntars Gedulis


The composer, conductor, singer, teacher and active Latvian community member Guntars Gedulis was born on August 27th, 1952 in New York, the United States. His first musical impressions were received from his father, singer Visvaldis Gedulis. From an early age he learned to play the piano, later clarinet, performing in school orchestras. Apart from the customary education, he studied at the New York Bronx (later Yonkers) Latvian Evangelical Lutheran primary school (completed in 1965) and secondary school (graduated in 1969), and, at the same school, education courses (1969–1971). Concurrently, he studied composition theory at the High School of Music and Art (Manhattan), where he graduated in 1969, continuing studies at the City College of New York (conducting and composition with Miriam Gideon and Mario Davidovsky). In 1974, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the School of Liberal Arts as well as the School of Architecture, receiving the LADO Award for versatility in music, being accepted in the Phi Beta Kappa society for his distinguished academic record and included in Who´s Who in American Colleges and Universities, 1974 ed. He also received the Henry Adams AIA School Medal and Certificate in architecture and a $2500 CCNY School of Architecture Assistantship for the school year 1973–1974.

From 1971 to 1975, he taught music, Latvian, Latvian geography, and other subjects at the New York Latvian School, and during the summers of 1974 and 1976, Latvian at Western Michigan University. He began to lead choirs and ensembles while in the New York Latvian Ev.-Luth. Church primary school (1971), and in 1974 he founded and lead the New York Latvian youth assoc. choir Stops. He participated as music director and lecturer at 2x2 Latvian cultural camps (1972–1976, 1979), as well as in the New York Scout Association and Christian youth gatherings in the United States and Canada, composing as needed chorales, folk song arrangements, folk dance arrangements and other music. He also wrote stage music for the play Princese Gundega un karalis Brusubārda (Princess Gundega and King Brusubārda) by Anna Brigadere for the American Latvian Theatre New York Ensemble performance in Carnegie Recital Hall (1975). He was on the board of the American Latvian Youth Association.

In 1975, he moved to Caracas, Venezuela, where he reorganized the Caracas Latvian School, creating a primary and secondary school, working there as teacher and director (1975–1978). He became one of the founders of the Venezuelan Latvian Association and Venezuelan Latvian Youth Association in 1975, co-founder and first chairman of the South American Latvian Youth Association co-founder and first chairman (1977–1981). He was an organizer of Latvian youth cultural camps in Venezuela and Brazil (1976, 1979, 1982, 1985). From 1979 to 1985, he studied singing at the Caracas School of Opera, where he took part in opera and operetta performances, from 1984 to 1987 continuing studies privately with Filippo de Stefano. Performing as a solo singer from 1993, he has given concerts in Caracas, and performed in concert halls and churches in Latvia.

While living in Venezuela, he has taken part in Latvian cultural life elsewhere in the world: he was the combined choir conductor at the 1st (1975), 3rd (1979), and 5th (1985) Latvian Youth Song Festivals in Montreal and the 2nd World Free Latvian Song Days (Münster, 1984), as well as in the Latvian Courlander Gatherings in Tobago (from 1976), initially organizing the cultural programs, in 1989 becoming the Gathering leader. (The Tobago House of Assembly participates with the Courlander Landing Day event.) G. Gedulis has also taught music, singing and conducting at the Australian Latvian Summer High School (1979, 1988, 2005), and was the program director for the first Latvian Summer Music Camps in the Catskill Mountains in the United States (1983, 1984).

G. Gedulis is involved in a variety of ways in the cultural life of Venezuela: from 1979 to 1982, he was the regular conductor of the student choir Coral Capella de Caracas, participating in cultural tours sponsored by the Venezuela government: in the summer of 1980, the United States, Japan, China, India, Israel, Egypt, and in the summer of 1981 – Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama. He founded and led (1982–1987) the youth choir Coral Canta Mundo, performing at the Los Angeles Olympics (1984), and Jamaica, Colombia, Trinidad, Surinam and Venezuela. He also founded and led the Venezuela Planning Ministry Choir MINDUR (1980–1991), performing in concerts and on television. In 1987, he founded the singing society Gaudeamus, performing with Gaudeamus choirs in Venezuela, the United States, Trinidad, and Colombia, in 1990 in Latvia and other nations on the Baltic Sea. From 1991, Gaudeamus, under his direction, has organized cultural tours in Venezuela for artists and choirs of other nations. From 1995, he has organized the yearly international choir festival Canticum Novum, and from 1998, the Christmas festival Canticum Noel. These festivals feature the participation of 20–30 choirs. He also founded and led the Venezuelan Central University Language School Choir Lingua Nova (1993–1995) and the Caracas United Christian Church Choir (1985–1987). The choirs led by G. Gedulis have also included Latvian repertoire.

In the genre of operatic art, G. Gedulis worked as a choir master for the opera company Belcanto (1985–1987), and the Teatro Teresa Carreño (1993–1994). In 2004 as regular conductor of the theatre opera choir. He has also conducted performances of Verdi’s Rigoletto and La Traviata, and Puccini’s La Boheme, and is currently involved in the preparation of the opera 19th of April, 1810 by Luis Ochoa.

From 1987, G. Gedulis has popularised Venezuelan and Latvian choir music at international choir festivals, as well as in international musical seminars. He has taught choral conducting, vocal education, arranging, Venezuelan and Latvian repertoire and other subjects at the Latin American Choral Association seminar in Brazil, festivals of the Caribbean and Central American Choral Federation, the international choral festivals America Cantat and Canticum Novum, gatherings of the Puerto Rican choral conductors, the Ethnic Music Conference of the International Federation for Choral Music in Jokkmokk, Sweden, the Latvian Academy of Music in Riga, the 1st World Latvian Scientific Congress in Riga and seminars of music teachers in Ērgļi and Engure, Latvia, music schools in Kristianstad, Sweden, the Anglo-Chinese Junior High School in Singapore, gatherings of the Puerto Rican choral directors, and has taught choirs and other musical groups in Paraguay, Bolivia, Panama, Tobago, Canada, USA, Romania, Poland, Germany and Belgium. He has taught similar subjects at Gaudeamus seminars, at the Caracas Friedman Music School, where he led the choir program (2000–2002), the Villa de Cura Children’s Music School (1996–2004), the Fedora Aleman singing seminar (1993–2007), the Beatriz Miranda Foundation (from 1996) as well as at the Venezuelan Central University. He has directed choir performances on radio and television in several countries. In 1997, he founded and later directed, the Latin American Choral Association affiliate in Venezuela.

G. Gedulis is the representative of the World Association of Free Latvians as member of the education board (1976) and the vice chairman of the Culture Fund in South America (from 1978). He is a member of the Latvian Academic Faculty and Scientists as well as the Latvian and Venezuelan Composers’ Unions. In 1992, on assignment from the Latvian government, he distributed Latvian citizenship registration materials in Brazil, Argentina, and Venezuela. He received a letter of appreciation from the World Association of Free Latvians Culture Fund for the dissemination of Latvian music on an international level, and, in 2005, the Three Star Order from the Latvian government for his work in society and culture.

As of 1975, his compositions are often performed at Latvian song festival concerts and other gatherings, and seven choral works have received awards at competitions. He has arranged 150 Latvian folk songs for choir or ensembles (partially published in collections compiled by himself). He has composed works for choir or solo voice with accompaniment, a cappella songs, as well as chamber music and electronic music.


Laimiņai pavaicāju (I Asked the Godess of Fortune), Latvian folk song arrangement for mixed choir a cappella / The ensemble Kolibri, leader Pēteris Aldiņš [recorded at the new works concert at the Latvian Youth Song festival in Canada in 1977] // Svied savu dziesmu tālē, svied! – 1978, Latvian Youth Song Festival board release, JDS 1001 [Canada]

Laimiņai pavaicāju (I Asked the Godess of Fortune), Latvian folk song arrangement for mixed choir a cappella / Coral Capella de Caracas, conductor Guntars Gedulis // Coral Capella de Caracas – 1980, Coral Capella de Caracas release [Venezuela]

Poema sinfónico-coral en homenaje a Simón Bolívar (Symphonic Choral Poem in Memory of Simon Bolivar) for soloist, mixed choir and piano [fragments] / Two Venezuelan song arrangements for mixed choir with accompaniment / Coral Canta Mundo, conductor Guntars Gedulis // Coral Canta Mundo – 1985, Coral Canta Mundo release [Venezuela]


Guntara Geduļa darbu vakars Venecuelā (An Evening of Works by Guntars Gedulis in Venezuela) // Laiks, July 8th, 1985 • D. Meistare, Venecuelā skan arī latviešu melodijas (Latvian Melodies are Heard also in Venezuela) // Kurzemes Vārds, August 10th, 1991 • D. Kokareviča, Skats uz Karakasu no 22. stāva loga (A View of Caracas from the 22nd Story Window) // Lauku Avīze, October 7th, 1994 • Regresó la “Coral Capella de Caracas” // El Universal, September 19th, 1980 • Exitosa Presentación de la Coral Capella de Caracas en la India // El Nacional, September 21st, 1980 • G. Miles, Gaudeamus: An active singing society // The Daily Journal (Tobago), February 11th, 1989 • Sense of history at Courland Bay // Sunday Guardian (Trinidad), June, 1989 • La Sociedad Venezolana de Canto Gaudeamus // El Universal, December 27th, 1996 • Gaudeamus: 15 años al rescate del canto coral // El Globo, January 16th, 2002

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