Among music scholars, Lūcija Garūta is often referred to as the Latvian Germaine Tailleferre, who was a member of the French group of composers called Les Six. This comparison is not accidental. From her early years as a student, Garūta dreamt of studying music abroad, and she was particularly interested in the new trends coming out of France. After her studies at the Latvian Conservatoire, she not only fulfilled her dream of continuing her education but also became acquainted with the concert life of Paris (1926). Garūta studied piano with the eminent French musicians Alfred Cortot and Isidor Philipp, who was, among other things, a good friend of the composer Claude Debussy. She also studied instrumentation with the composer, conductor and music critic Paul Le Flem. On her second visit to Paris (1928), Garūta continued her composition studies at the Ecole Normale de Musique with Paul Dukas, whose students included such composers as Maurice Duruflé and Olivier Messiaen.
Garūta was one of Latvia’s first female composers, and she had an unusual aesthetic vision, one that was rooted in a deep love for everything Latvian but at the same time strived towards the global. In many ways, Garūta had already filled important chapters in the history of Latvian chamber music in the pre-war years. Had it not been for the outbreak of the Second World War, her talent and potential might have reached at least that of Tailleferre, perhaps even surpassing it… But this was not her goal. It seems that Garūta realised quite early on that her earthly path was to lead to the stars, as the Latvian poet Zenta Mauriņa beautifully put it: “Celestial – that is how I describe the spirit of Lūcija Garūta. Her music pulls one away from the earth; it lifts one towards the stars and the sun. Her music has the power of tenderness, which purifies and clarifies.”