"Every sound, also every subject and occurrence in life has its own vibration. In my music, I have natural sounds – wind, street noise, an actor’s speech on the stage. While living, I try to feel all these vibrations, to understand them via my heart and mind. Still, all these vibrations must pass through the heart. When I write, a retrogressive process takes place, from my inner heart vibrations I find the necessary musical vibrations – only through the heart. Then, when these vibrations have materialized on the music sheet – I will certainly relentlessly analyze with my mind what has come together from a technical standpoint."
Valdis Zilveris was born on July 28th, 1963 in Gulbene. He studied at the Gulbene Primary School, in the accordion class at the Gulbene Children’s School of Music (1973–1978) with Edgars Mūrnieks, after that in the music theory department in the Ventspils College of Music (1978–1982), where he learned the fundamentals of composition. He was the winner of the Latvian music colleges students composition competition (1982). He studied at the Latvian State Conservatory in the composition class of Pauls Dambis (1982–1987), and graduated with honours.
While studying, he worked as a concertmaster in the Latvian State Conservatory Theatre Faculty, and began composing music for theatre productions and the Conservatory chamber ensemble Voir Dit. He gained additional education in 20th century composition techniques with Krzysztof Penderecki at the Lodz Conservatory in Poland (1987), and as an unenrolled student he studied electronic music at the Utrecht Conservatory in the Netherlands (1991). He took an electro-acoustic music course at the University of South Illinois in the United States (1989), and received practical training in electro-acoustic and computer music at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague with Karlheinz Stockhausen (1993).
He was a concert master in the Netherlands (1991–1992), at the Latvian State Conservatory Theatre Department (1985–1991), a lecturer at the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music in the Composition department, where he taught electronic music (1992–1997 as an assistant, 1999 as a lecturer). From 1992 to 1996, he was the vice-chairman of the Latvian Composers’ Union. He created a regular broadcast cycle on Latvian Radio called Elektroniskie dialogi (Electronic Dialogues), which was about the latest electronic music. As of 1995, he is the director of the Latvian National Theatre Music Division, and as of 1996 he composes and creates arrangements for the singing actors’ ensemble Greizais ratiņš. He has given concerts in many different countries (Australia, Canada, the USA, Greece, Germany, Poland, France, Belgium, Austria, Egypt, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Italy, and others)
Of all the genres he composes in, especially important to him is the theatre music genre. “I believe that Valdis is one of the most precise theatre composers – he feels dramaturgical material. It is one thing to compose music for film, television, and it is something completely different to compose for theatre. Valdis’ strength and high standard of professionalism is that what he feels, what kind of music needs to be written for theatre”, says director Harijs Petrockis, who has worked together with the composer on many occasions. V. Zilveris received the Theatre Award as the best composer in dramatic theatre (1997). Along with theatre music, V. Zilveris regularly composes in other genres and is one of the first Latvian composers who took an interest in electro-acoustic and electronic music. Many of his works have been performed at festivals internationally (1997 – Baltic Music Festival, Denmark, 1998 – Manchester Modern Music Festival, the Franz Schubert Festival in Vienna). The composer has a long-lasting relationship with the ensemble Altera veritas, the Youth Choir of the 2nd Secondary School of Jelgava Skali and the Talsi women’s choir Vaiva.
Santa Bušs, Mārīte Dombrovska Photo - Edmunds Mickus © LMIC