"The search for my inner world of sound seems an eternal one and it is difficult to explain the process… like a slow deep dive… Deeper even into the unknown, not yet felt... Sound, words, silence – all of it truly phenomenal – open to unending possibilities…"
Gundega Šmite was born on June 5th, 1977, in Riga. She studied at the Jāzeps Mediņš College of Music (1992–1998), and also at the Latvian Academy of Culture in the screen and stage theatre art department (1996–1997). In 1998, she began studies at the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music in the composition department with Pēteris Plakidis, under whose direction she received her Bachelor’s degree in 2005 and Master’s degree in 2007. She took part in the 5th International Latvian Music Camp at Ogre and also at the Baltic Young Composers’ Mastercourses at Dundaga, and the Academic d’Villecroze in France. In the 2005/2006 academic year, as part of the Socratus Erasmus exchange program, she supplemented her education with studies at the J. Sibelius Academy of Music with Veli-Matti Puumala. She continues her post-doctorate studies at the Aristotle University, Saloniki, Greece (2013– 2014).
Gundega Šmite is a member of the Latvian Composers’ Union (as of 2006), was a chairman of the board (2009-2012). She worked as a music theory and piano teacher at the Ķekavas Music School (1999–2000), and as organist at the St. John’s Congregation in Philadelphia, USA (2001–2002). She was also a teacher at the St. John’s Congregation Latvian School in Philadelphia and later was teacher of music literature at the Riga Music School No. 3 (2002), a teacher of composition at the Daugavpils College of Music (2005-2008), editor of the magazine Mūzikas Saule (2011-2013). For her work Pārvērtības (Transformations) she won first prize at the Latvian Academy of Music competition (1999) and gained a World Federation of Free Latvians Cultural Foundation recognition certificate for her works Atgriešanās (Homecoming) and Atnākot (Arriving, 2001).
She gained 6th place at the 2005 International Rostrum for Composers competition for composers younger than 30, 2nd place (no first place was awarded) at the festival Culturescapes international young composers’ competition (for the work Isochasma, 2006), and received the Tālivaldis Ķeniņš Award (2006). She was awarded third prize for her work Mir geht ein Licht auf at the international composition competition WINDSTREAM 2014.
Her works have been performed in Latvia, Lithuania, Switzerland, Austria, France, Germany, Japan, the U.S.A., New Zealand and Greece.
Guntars Pupa, supplemented by Mārīte Dombrovska © LMIC