Composers and Authors /

Mezaraups, Imants (1958 - 2013)

Biography   Works  

Imants Mežaraups
Imants Mežaraups
Foto 1

Imants Mežaraups was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA) on October 10, 1958. He was a student at the Settlement Music School in Philadelphia (1967–1976), and upon finishing his studies there he was awarded the Leon Bunkin Prize for excellence in piano. He studied at the University of Pennsylvania (1976–1983), earning two concurrent bachelor’s degrees: Bachelor of Arts in Music, and Bachelor of Science and Engineering in Civil and Urban Engineering, magna cum laude, and continued his studies there with George Crumb, George Rochberg, and Richard Wernick, earning a Master of Arts in Composition degree. He also studied conducting there and in his future doctoral studies. He was the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards, including the prestigious Benjamin Franklin Scholarship, the Theodore Presser Scholarship, and the Michael Hurley Cross Award. He continued his musical studies at the Esther Boyer College of Music, Temple University, in Philadelphia (1989–1995), where he earned his degree of Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition. He was inducted into the Pi Kappa Lambda music honor society, and received the Dr. B. Stimson Carrow Award for excellence in pedagogy and general musicianship, as well as the Dean Emeritus Helen Laird Tribute award.

I. Mežaraups began his musical career as the organist and musical director at the Latvian Ev. Lutheran Church of St. John in Philadelphia (1975–1995). He taught music theory and was the choir conductor’s assistant at the University of Pennsylvania, and conducted the choirs and symphony orchestra at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. From 1985 to 1993 he taught at Germantown Academy in Pennsylvania, serving as the Head of the Performing Arts Department, teaching a variety of subjects, creating a new music curriculum and electronic music laboratory, conducting choirs, orchestral, chamber and jazz ensembles. He was given the school’s Distinguished Teaching Award, and was the first recipient of the Barness Endowed Chair for the Fine and Performing Arts. He continued his pedagogical activity at the Esther Boyer College of Music, Temple University (1994–1995), where he taught music theory, counterpoint, harmony, solfege, and composition. 

In 1996 Imants Mežaraups moved to Latvia, where he worked as an instructor at the Jāzeps Mediņš College of Music and at the Vītols Latvian Academy of Music. During this time, he collaborated with many Latvian musicians, writing numerous new works for them. Four years later, he returned to the USA, and taught for three years at the Wilmington Friends School in Delaware, but since 2003, he has been back in Latvia, teaching at the Riga Dome Choir School and conducting the choir and serving as organist at the Lutheran Church in Talsi. 

As a composer, conductor, pianist, organist, and member of the ensemble Kolibri, Imants Mežaraups has performed in many concerts, radio broadcasts, and festivals in the USA, Canada, Europe, and Australia. Concerts of his works have been given in Riga, New York, and Philadelphia. He has been the winner of several international composition competitions, in the USA (New York, Philadelphia, and Wyoming), Germany (Wesel), Italy (Rome), and the Netherlands (Amsterdam).

Since the late 1980’s, Imants Mežaraups’ music has been widely performed in Latvia, as he has established active and creative contacts with Latvian musicians who have often commissioned new works. He has been a member of the Latvian Composers’ Union since 1999, and he has been active in the field of music publications.

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