Monthly Archives: February 2019

The Life and Music of Pēteris Vasks

In the previous post, it was mentioned that Chorale would be performing a piece by Pēteris Vasks at an upcoming concert. You may be wondering, who is Pēteris Vasks and what kind of music does he compose?

Photo: Composer Pēteris Vasks

Pēteris Vasks was born in Aizpute, Latvia on April 16, 1946. While taking his first piano and violin lessons at the local music school, he began to write his first compositions as well. He went on to study double bass at the Emīls Dārziņš Music School in Riga, and later at the Lithuanian Academy of Music. These skills allowed him to play double bass for both the Lithuanian Philharmonic Orchestra and the Latvian Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra.

Vasks also studied composition at the Latvian State Conservatory under Valentinus Utkins between 1973 and 1978. Since then, he has published a multitude of orchestral, chamber, and choral pieces. A common theme throughout many of his pieces is the affirmation of Latvian history and Latvian spirit. In particular, his pieces from the 1980s-1990s reflect the harshness of the Soviet era and the tribulations faced by many Latvians. His symphony “Voices”, for example, chronicles Latvia’s struggle for independence and the hardships encountered in the process. His later works are primarily centered around universal themes – these include joy and despair, the beauty of nature, and hope for the future.

Video: A brief look at the role music plays in the life of Pēteris Vasks.

On February 6, Chorale will join Chamber Singers and the Pacific Lutheran University Choir of the West to perform the works of Pēteris Vasks and other Baltic composers. We will be singing Vasks’ “The Fruit of Silence”, a remarkably pristine piece based on the words of Mother Teresa. The concert is February 6 at 7 PM and will be held at University Presbyterian Church. We hope to see you there!

For more information about Pēteris Vasks, check out these pages!

Peace out for now! ✌