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Akerberga, Ilze (1953)

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The composer, conductor, organist, and ethnomusicologist Ilze Akerberga was born on August 8th, 1963 in Brooklyn, New York, in the United States. She began studying piano at the age of five, first with Alise Dzirkale-Cenne, later with Rita Pētersone. She also studied at the Manhattan School of Music. She received her Bachelor of Music degree in 1975, her Master’s Degree in organ at Brooklyn College in New York in 1977, Master’s Degree in Baltic Languages from the University of Stockholm in 1993, as well as a Ph. Cand. degree in ethnology from the University of Stockholm in 1996. She furthered her studies of Baroque organ playing at the northern Germany organ playing institute in Bunderhee, and worked as an organist in the churches of Lapland. She has given concerts in the United States, Sweden, and elsewhere. She won an award for organ playing at the new artists’ competition at the Canadian Latvian 6th Song Festival. She has also worked as an organist for the New York Latvian Lutheran Church. From 1975 to 1978, she was the pianist and assistant conductor of the New York Latvian Choir. She has also directed the Washington Latvian Choir. She was the principal conductor at the second Latvian Youth Song Festival in Rochester, New York, the United States (1977). In 1994, she received an award from the World Federation of Free Latvians for her three cantatas.

She is also creatively involved in learning folk music traditions. She was a voluntary assistant at the Washington Congressional Library culture archive. She worked in the Latvian folk music vocal ensemble Vilcējas in Stockholm (1986–1990), with them she took part also in the festival Baltica in Riga (1988). She has given a course on Latvian folklore at the Latvian Culture Camp (3x3) in Three Rivers, Michigan (1996). She has worked at Indiana University as a technical assistant in the Traditional Music Archive Library (1995–1997, and as of 2000), where she works with Baltic materials (1996). Using computers, she has created films at the folklore laboratory Savail (1997–1998). At this time, Ilze Akerberga is a doctoral candidate in Ethnomusicology at the Folklore Institute of Indiana University, Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology.

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