Composers and Authors /

Pelecis, Georgs (1947)

Biography   Works  

Georgs Pelēcis
Georgs Pelēcis
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 Georgs Pelēcis is one of Latvia’s foremost music scholars, particularly in the fields of history and theory of counterpoint.

The composer was born on June 18th, 1947, in Riga. He graduated from the Piotr Tchaikovsky State Conservatory in Moscow in Aram Khachaturjan’s composition class in 1970, and in 1977 he completed a post-graduate course in music theory with Vladimir Protopopov at the same school. Between 1970 and 2020 he was a lecturer in music theory at the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music, and in 1990 he was elected to the rank of professor. His main disciplines were counterpoint and fugue.

Georgs Pelēcis’s work in the field of musicology is noteworthy. In 1981, he defended his science of art candidate (now doctorate of art) dissertation The Musical Forms of Jean de Ockeghem and the Traditions of the Netherlands Polyphonic School. In the specific sphere of polyphony he has been involved in more than 30 academic works — both in Western European (Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque) and Latvian music history — including papers and presentations at international conferences in Riga, Moscow and Rome. His other major scientific research paper, Palestrina’s Principles of Polyphony and Traditions of the Vocal Polyphonic Era (Dr. habil. art, 1990), is held in high regard worldwide and was recognized with a medal at the International Palestrina Centre in Rome, Italy in 1993. Georgs Pelēcis was the first president of the Ancient Music Centre of Riga. The composer has worked in a creative capacity at Oxford (1995, Corpus Christi College) and Cambridge (1997, Gonville and Caius College) Universities.

The composer’s music is performed worldwide. It features not just in concerts, but also in choreographed performances and on recordings. His musical tonality seems to reverberate with an amazingly clear positive spirit. This very quality, whose genetic ancestry can be found partly in Renaissance and Baroque music and partly in the minimalist aesthetic, brings a spiritual strength to the composer’s creative output and brings to Latvian music a previously unknown, freshly breathing and pulsating activity. Of all the style classifications which the composer himself and musical critics have given to his works, the most precise would be new consonant music, where euphony is the harmonic ideal. The composer as a personality and a creator distances himself from the drama and the duality of the soul. His music cannot be called stylization, although it reveals a deeply understood knowledge of the music of past cultures. Georgs Pelēcis’s musical path became clear at the very beginning, in the 1970s, when similar creative tools among Latvian composers (both the goal of creating new works and the musical lexicon), including the new generation at the time, were non-standard and required an honest defense of the oeuvre’s criteria.

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