Pēteris Plakidis

"...the main thing for me is to reach a state where reality disappears. The illusion that the music I create is truly worth something. Apparently you cannot do without this. It would be a terrible hypocrisy to compose music that you yourself do not like. So you see – to reach such an illusion – that is a kind of insanity..."

Pēteris Plakidis

Pēteris Plakidis was born on March 4th, 1947 in Riga. He first studied at the Emīls Dārziņš College of Music, then later enrolled in the Composition Department at the Latvian State Conservatory (today – the Latvian Academy of Music). Pēteris Plakidis graduated in 1970 (Valentīns Utkins’ class); in 1975 he completed the Latvian State Conservatory postgraduate program. He worked as the music director of the National Theatre (at that time the Academic Drama Theatre) (1969–1974). As of 1974, he has been a professor in the Composition Department at the Latvian Academy of Music. Already at the beginning of his creative work, Plakidis announced himself very convincingly – in 1969, for his piece Music for Piano, String Orchestra and Timpani, he received a diploma from the then prestigious All-Union young composers’ competition. In 1982, the composer was awarded the title of Honoured Artist, in 1990, - the People’s Artist, and in 1987, he was awarded the Jānis Ivanovs Prize. In 1996, Plakidis received the Latvian Great Music Award (for Variations for Orchestra).

Though Plakidis’ music is very varied in expression, a classicistic balance is clearly felt. The music is permeated by an aspiration for a psychological preciseness and a polyphonic development, often combined with lyrical and emotionally tense mode of expression. Altogether, Pēteris Plakidis’ creative work covers almost all genres. In symphonic music, he has brought together the stylistics of neo-classicism and a romantic perception of the world. A perfect sense of form and an original development, often combined with somewhat ascetic, mostly diatonic and a very vivid melos, characteristic of Latvian folk music, dominate. In his choir music and vocal chamber music a psychologically dramatic expression is often represented, as well as lyrical intimacy. Pēteris Plakidis’ talent to portray was also vividly reflected in both symphonic and instrumental chamber music. He was skilled at presenting very sharp witted and humorous images.

For many years, Pēteris Plakidis has performed as an accompanist together with his wife, the notable Latvian opera and chamber singer Maija Krīgena (mezzo-soprano). They worked together in the Latvian Academy of Music Vocal Department. In 1991, Pēteris Plakidis, together with cellist Ivars Bezprozvanovs and clarinettist Eric Mandat (USA) formed The Transatlantic Trio. The trio has given concerts in Latvia, Great Britain and in the United States. As a concert pianist, Plakidis worked with many Latvian performers of different generations.

Jānis Kudiņš, Mārīte Dombrovska © LMIC