(22.04.1919 - 21.01.2008)
I do not search for new things in music, I search for new roads to express old ideas.
Tālivaldis Ķeniņš was born on 22 April, 1919, in Liepāja. He died on 21 January, 2008, in Toronto. He began to study music with Lūcija Garūta, then, having moved to France with his parents, he studied in Grenoble with Henri Miller. He studied composition at the Latvian State Conservatory with Jāzeps Vītols. After World War II, Ķeniņš once again travelled to France and in 1945 enrolled at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Paris, where his professors were Tony Aubin and Olivier Messiaen. Ķeniņš graduated in 1950, winning First Prize in composition.
In 1951 Ķeniņš moved with his wife to Canada. Ķeniņš was organist for the Latvian congregation at St. Andrew’s Church, Toronto, and also began to give composition and polyphony classes in the music faculty of the University of Toronto. From 1977 to 1979 he was director of the composition department. Along with his educational work, the composer was actively involved in Canadian musical life. In 1959, he founded the Toronto Latvian Concert Association, and for many years he was a member of the Canadian League of Composers and its president from 1973 to 1974.
Ķeniņš’s creative output encompasses a broad range of works – eight symphonies, twelve concertos, three cantatas, choral works, piano music, as well as works for various types of chamber ensemble. His music has received great recognition, and has been performed at many festivals and concerts, particularly in Canada. The composer has received the Latvian Order of Three Stars and is an honorary professor of the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music, and Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto (receiving this title after 32 years of work at the University). The composer’s life and artistic work has been researched by musicologist Ingrīda Zemzare, as well as Canadian music scholar Paul Rapoport.
Līga Skurule, Juris Ķeniņš © LMIC