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Tālivaldis Ķeniņš

Tālivaldis Ķeniņš (April 22, 1919 in Liepāja – January 21, 2008 in Toronto) was a Canadian composer born in Latvia.

Kenins' father was a lawyer, poet and government official (Minister of Education, Minister of Justice, and Ambassador to Poland), and his mother was a journalist and diplomat. He first began playing piano at the age of five, and his first compositions followed at age eight. Initially, he studied to be a diplomat at the Lycee Champollion in Grenoble, but moved to Riga between 1940 and 1944, studying composition and piano under Jazeps Vitols. He then studied at the Paris Conservatory under Olivier Messiaen and others from 1945 to 1951, and won first prize in composition there for his Cello Sonata.

In 1951 his Septet was performed at the Darmstadt New Music Festival, conducted by Hermann Scherchen; that same year he married Valda Dremaine, moved to Canada, and was named organist at the Latvian Lutheran St. Andrews Church in Toronto. In 1952 he began teaching at the University of Toronto, where he taught for 32 years.

Kenins was a winner of Latvia’s “Grand Music Prize” and honorary professor at the Latvian Music Academy. He was a founding member, and for a time, president of the Canadian League of Composers.

Canadian musicologist Paul Rapoport has credited Kenins with introducing many European idioms to Canadian art music in an era when many of its composers remained solidly influenced by British models. Dr. Rapoport also calls him “the greatest Latvian composer of all time” (“Fanfare”, New York 1990). David Olds (Whole Note Magazine) calls him “Canada’s greatest symphonist” (he has eight symphonies).

Among his students were Tomas Dusatko, Edward Laufer, Walter Kemp, Bruce Mather, Ben McPeek, Arthur Ozolins, Imant Raminsh, James Rolfe, and Ronald Smith.

Excerpts from Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia
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