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Pelecis, Georgs (1947)

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Georgs Pelēcis
Georgs Pelēcis
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Georgs Pelēcis is one of the most knowledgeable of musical scholars in Latvia, especially in the fields of history and theory of counterpoint.

The composer was born on June 18th, 1947 in Riga. He graduated the Piotr Tchaikovsky State Conservatory in Moscow in Aram Khachaturjan`s composition class in 1970, and in 1977 he finished the music theory post-graduate course with Vladimir Protopopov. As of 1970, he has been a lecturer in the Music Theory Department at the then Latvian State Conservatory, now the Latvian Academy of Music. In 1990 he was elected to the stature of a professor. His main disciplines are 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 scientific works – both in Western European (Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque) and Latvian music history – papers, 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 in the world 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. Pelēcis has also received compositional commissions from the United Kingdom. His symphonic music for the Roald Dahl story Jack and the Beanstalk was performed in the Royal Albert Hall in London. His works have been performed at the Al`ternativa festival in Moscow, and at the Lockenhaus festival in Austria. One of his works, the concerto Tomēr (Nevertheless), has received choreographic attention in recent years. The ballet troupe Dance Alloy performed to the music of the concerto in its entirety in a performance in Pittsburgh, USA in 2000 under the direction of choreographer Mark Taylor.

The musical tonality of Georgs Pelēcis seems to reverberate some 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. From 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 has nothing in common with 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 70s, when similar creative tools (both the goal of creating new works and the musical lexicon) amongst Latvian composers, at the time including the new generation, were not standard and needed honest defenses of the criteria of creative output.

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