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Liepins, Zigmars (1952)

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Zigmars Liepiņš
Zigmars Liepiņš

The composer and keyboard player Zigmars Liepiņš was born on October 14th, 1952 in Liepāja, to a family of musicians. He finished the Liepāja College of Music (1971) and the Latvian State Conservatory (the piano class of Ilze Graubiņa) in 1976. 

At the age of seventeen, he began to compose his first songs, as well as playing in the Liepāja group Santa. Regardless of the fact that he only played in this group for a year, they were awarded first place at the festival Liepājas dzintars–1970 for the required arrangement of a Latvian folk song. While studying at the Latvian State Conservatory, he performed in many different groups. He was the keyboardist and song author for the ensemble Modo (1973–1982, with a break from 1976 to 1977), also its director (1978–1982). While serving in the Soviet Army, he directed the groupZvaigznīte (1976–1978). In 1982, the group Modo changed its name to Opus and under the direction of Z. Liepiņš the group was active until 1989.

At the beginning of the 80s, he gained popularity, composing a series of hits at the time (Vēl ir laiks [There is Still Time], Viss kārtībā [Everything is Fine], Ceļojums [A Trip], Dziesma par rozīti [A Song about a Rose], Sentiments [Sentiment] and others). In 1983, he gained recognition with the music for the first musical film from the Riga Film Studio – Vajadzīga soliste (A Soloist is Needed). In 1987, at the German Democratic Republic schlagermusic festival Mensch und Meer with the song Love Time performed by Imants Vanzovičs received almost every possible award. He also had success in the Mikrofons song review.

Along with his work in popular music, Liepiņš has composed music for theatre productions. His work in the theatre genre is crowned by the rock opera Lāčplēsis (a Latvian mythological hero), and the operas Parīzes Dievmātes katedrāle (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) and No rozes un asinīm (Rose and Blood). The rock opera Lāčplēsis had a political meaning in the Latvian Reawakening period – its premiere took place on the date when the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was signed. The rock opera was altogether watched by approximately 160,000 people, who went to the performance as a kind of political demonstration.

From 1989 to 1992, he was the director of the Showimpex firm, from 1991 to 1995 the director of the sound recording studio L&M, from 1992 to 2007 the president and co-owner of the private radio station Radio SWH. In the review by the Music Society, he was acknowledged as the best composer and keyboardist in 1987 and 1988. As of 1987, he is a member of the Latvian Composers’ Union.

He has received the Latvian Order of the Three Stars (category IV) and the Latvian Great Music Award (for the opera Parīzes Dievmātes katedrāle [The Hunchback of Notre Dame], 1997). A story about the composer and his wife appeared in the film news-reel Māksla (1992, no. 4).