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Guntars Prānis

(07.07.1971 )

Guntars Prānis is the rector of the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music, a professor, an experienced performer and conductor, and an internationally recognised musicologist and researcher of early music. He actively participates in the Latvian song festival movement as a conductor and jury member and was the artistic director of the “ES esmu…” (I am…) sacred music concert at the 2018 General Latvian Song Festival.

Prānis is the founder and director of the Schola Cantorum Riga early music ensemble. He regularly performs with the ensemble in Latvia and abroad (Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Norway, Finland, Poland, Estonia, Lithuania) and records with it. The group received the Annual Latvian Music Recording Industry Award for its album Riga Mass. Schola Cantorum Riga was also nominated for the Latvian Grand Music Award in 2016 for outstanding performance throughout the year.

Prānis initiated Gregorian Week, an event in Latvia that was first held in 1992. “The music we perform lets us pause, escape the stress and worry and anxiety of our everyday lives, and experience something of the transcendent peace, order and harmony we all long for,” he says regarding the Schola Cantorum Riga repertoire.

“He himself is like the universal medieval musician, because he combines both the researcher and the performer,” writes musicologist Inese Lūsiņa in the Diena newspaper. “Enthusiasm and perfectionism, creative spark and pedanticism, the practitioner and researcher – such paradoxically opposite traits were needed for Guntars Prānis to prepare, over the course of eight years, his doctoral dissertation about Gregorian chant in medieval Riga and the unique Missale Rigense 15th-century manuscript so important to Latvia.”

Prānis earned a doctoral degree with highest praise (summa cum laude) following the defence of his dissertation about sacred music in medieval Riga, titled Chants of the Riga Missal in the Context of Medieval European Gregorian Tradition. His very vivid book Missale Rigense in the Spiritual Culture of Livonia: Gregorian Chant in Medieval Riga about was published in 2018 by Neputns.

Prānis has studied in Latvia, Germany and Austria, concentrating primarily on early music. He is a guest lecturer at colleges and music schools throughout Latvia as well as the author of many international publications. Prānis is a member of the International Society for Studies of Gregorian Chant (AISCGre).


LMIC 2020