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Mārtiņš Brauns

(17.09.1951 - 24.11.2021 )

"I think that a professional differs from a craftsman in that they enjoy and they are interested in all that is new in music, not just with what they have lost their virginity. Often my contemporaries and friends listen only to rock and roll or rock, because, using their words, the development of music does not happen. But development happens all the time."

Mārtiņš Brauns

The composer and performer of his own works (synthesizers, piano, voice) Mārtiņš Brauns was born on September 17th, 1951 in Riga to a family of doctors. From 1958 to 1970, he studied at the Emīls Dārziņš College of Music in the piano class, then in the choir class, then, after his voice changed, in the choir conducting class, and after that – he studied in the theory department, where he learned composition with Ģederts Ramans. In 1970, he began studies at the Latvian State Conservatory, in the composition class of Ādolfs Skulte, which he graduated in 1976, gaining the qualification of teacher of composition and music theory principles.

From 1968 to 1985, he worked as a member and the leader of many different rock music ensembles and groups. From 1975 to 1982 he was the director of the music division of the Latvian National Theatre. From 1977 to 1986, he led the group Sīpoli – one of the best Latvian rock groups of its time. From 1985 to 1992, he was the artistic director of the chamber choir Sindi putnu dārzs. As of 1995, he the owner and director of the sound recording studio Mārtiņš.

He mainly works as a commissioned film and theatre music author, also in the field of TV and advertising. He has performed as part of many different groups on all continents except North America. Rock music, theatre and film music, choir works, multimedia are the main spheres of the varied musical interest of Mārtiņš Brauns. His rock music is characterised by arrangement into developed forms – cycles, suites, which often are formed from his music for theatre performances. He has been recognised as the year’s best theatre composer many times.

He has received the Lielais Kristaps award for best composer of Latvian film music seven times. He has received approximately 20 awards in many international film festivals for his music. He has been commissioned to compose works for world TV, for example – CH 4 of London, CH II of Stockholm. He has had a particularly successful collaboration with the film documentarian Juris Podnieks and the English director David Monroe.

The choir music of Mārtiņš Brauns has been performed many times at All Latvian Song Festivals. His Latvian mass Saule, Pērkons, Daugava (The Sun, Thunder, The Daugava) has been performed more than 100 times in Latvia, England, Germany, Finland, Israel, and other countries. For his bright creative addition to enrich Latvia’s culture (Sapnis par Rīgu [A Dream of Riga]) he received the Republic of Latvia’s Cultural Ministry Award. "Sapnis par Rīgu" received the Gravemayer Award in a world music competition for works composed between 2001 and 2004. Groups led by Mārtiņš Brauns have received first place and other awards at many competitions.

Ligita Ašme, Mārīte Dombrovska Photo - Jānis Deinats © LMIC