"It is most difficult to create music without invoking your personal griefs, national sufferings, political agendas, illustrative scenes... it is a discussion about the ecology of the soul. Sounds should reflect external processes, of beauty and the laws of physics, the untouchable and that which cannot be explained in words."
ANDRIS DZENĪTIS feels most at home with large-format compositions, both in terms of time and composition, in which he can take his time and fully enjoy the limitless possibilities of colour available with an orchestra and the many varied choral voicings, thereby surrendering to an unhurried flow of time and sequentially presented message. His musical language is at once contemporary and romantic, very expressive and yet reserved and contemplative.
Dzenītis' works are an essential part of Latvian concert life, but they have also gained wide international resonance and are regularly performed at significant festivals abroad, such as Warsaw Autumn (1997, 2013), Gaida (1998, 2002) in Vilnius, Berlin's MaerzMusik (2003), Nyyd 2003 in Tallinn, several Arēna new music festivals in Riga, Bergen Music Festival 2005, Klangspuren Schwaz 2005, Time of Music in Viitasaari (2006), ISCM World Music Days 2007 in Hong Kong, Estonian Music Days 2011, Tallinn Music Week (2011), Musica Viva (2012), and many others. Dzenītis' works have been included in the repertoires of Latvia's most renowned ensembles – the Latvian Radio Choir, the State Choir Latvija, the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Rīgas Kamermuziķi, Sinfonietta Rīga, the Liepāja Symphony Orchestra, Rīga Professional Symphonic Band, Altera Veritas and others – as well as those of leading ensembles and musicians abroad, including Kroumata Percussion Ensemble (Sweden), the Silesian String Quartet (Poland), Paragon Ensemble (Scotland), Pierrot Lunaire Ensemble Wien, Caput (Iceland), GAM (Russia), the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbruecken Kaiserlautern, the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra of Belgium and the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra under Karel Mark Chichon, and Ensemble Modern with conductors Péter Eötvös, Anu Tali and Clemens Heil.
Dzenītis has studied composition with Pēteris Vasks and Pēteris Plakidis in Riga, with Kurt Schwertsik in Vienna and also with Osvaldas Balakauskas in Vilnius, where he earned his master's degree in 2003. He has continued his education in master classes led by, among others, Magnus Lindberg, Pär Lindgren and Bent Sørensen. Since 2002, he has organised the biennial International Workshop for Young Composers in Latvia, which draws students as well as experienced teachers from around the world. Education is an important aspect of Dzenītis' work, but he is also an active music writer and critic. Since 2013, Dzenītis' deep, rich voice is regularly heard on the Klasika programme on Latvian Radio 3. Dzenītis received the AKKA/LAA Copyright Infinity Award in 2003 and 2014, and in 2006 he placed first in the international P. Jurgenson Competition of Young Composers in Moscow.
He received Latvia's highest award in music – the Latvian Great Music Award – in 2006 for his vocal symphonic work "Fides. Spes. Caritas" and again in 2014 for his concerto for saxophone and orchestra "E(GO)". Other compositions by Dzenītis have regularly been nominated for the Latvian Great Music Award as well as the Diena Annual Culture Award.
Guntars Pupa, Mārīte Dombrovska © LMIC, 2013