Composers and Authors /

Pauls, Raimonds (1936)

Biography   Works  

Raimonds Pauls
Raimonds Pauls
Foto 1

Raimonds Pauls, the most distinguished composer of Latvian popular music, as well as pianist, arranger, conductor, and producer, was born on January 12, 1936 to a working class family. At the age of 4, he began his piano studies. In 1946, he enrolled at the Emīls Dārziņš College of Music, and, at the same time, he studied at the 7th Riga Primary School. After graduating the Dārziņš College, in 1953, Pauls enrolled in the piano division of the Latvian State Conservatory in the class of Hermanis Brauns, which he completes in 1958. Along with his classmate at the Conservatory, Egils Švarcs, in 1956, he founded the Latvian Radio Light Music Sextet, and, in April of the same year, he records his first song Nenosūtītā vēstulīte (Unsent Letter), as well as his first instrumental works.

In 1957, together with the Sextet, Pauls becomes a musician of the Riga Light Music Orchestra, and after completing the Conservatory, he is employed at the Latvian Philharmonia as an accompanist, and composes at the same time. In 1961, for his cycle Portreti (Portraits) he receives an award at the young composers’ forum in Moscow. Pauls forms a new creative collective – an instrumental trio, for whom he composes many significant works, cycles, and suites in a jazz style. That inspires the composer to return to the Conservatory, studying composition with Jānis Ivanovs (1962–1965).

In 1962, he composes his first music for a theatre production (Miks un Dzilna [Miks and Dzilna], Drama Theatre), and, in 1964, Pauls composes his first soundtrack for a full length art film (Aloizs Brenčs, Līdz rudenim vēl tālu [Autumn is Still Far]). In 1963, he composes his first ballet – Kubas melodijas (Melodies of Cuba). At the same time, his lyrical popular songs are recorded at radio.

In 1964, Pauls becomes the musical director, conductor and, at the same time, pianist of the Riga Light Music Orchestra. As of 1967, he has been a member of the Latvian Composers’ Union.

In 1969, Tev, mana labā (For You, My Dear) Pauls’ first record, is released, and, at the end of the 1960s, Larisa Mondrusa’s performance of the composers work Zilie lini (Blue Flax) becomes the composers’ first international hit, and Pauls becomes famous in all of the former USSR. Together with the Riga Light Music Orchestra, Pauls performs in Finland, Hungary, Poland, the German Democratic Republic, republics of the USSR, and, in 1969, he receives awards at the international jazz festival in Prague and at the Festival Menschen Und Meer in Rostock (GDR).

In 1971, Pauls leaves the Riga Light Music Orchestra to form his own vocal instrumental ensemble (as of 1974 it is called Modo), which, in 1973, becomes a collective of the Latvian Philharmonia, and he composes his first choir songs. With Modo, he prepares a cycle of concert programmes, and concerts are presented in the USSR and internationally.

In the second half of the 1970s, Pauls songs are sung by stars of Russian popular music, and, in 1981, his first solo concert takes place in Moscow, which is followed by regular performances in Russia and elsewhere. In 1979, he becomes the artistic director of the Latvian State Television and Radio music ensembles (radio choir, symphony orchestra, and the Latvian Television and Radio popular and light music orchestra) until 1982. He works as a lecturer in the Latvian State Conservatory and teaches jazz improvisation (1980–1983).

As of 1982, Pauls is Head of the Music Department at Latvian State Television and Radio, and, as of 1985, Head of the Radio Music Department. On his initiative, along with the Latvian Television and Radio Light Music Orchestra, the group Remix (1985) is founded, for whom Pauls composes songs.

In 1988, the composer is appointed chairman of the Latvian SSR State Culture Committee, and, from 1989 to 1993, he is the Latvian Culture Minister. He is the initiator of the Latvian Great Music Award.

From 1993 to 1998, Pauls is the presidential advisor on matters of culture, and, in parallel, from 1993 to 1995, he works as the lead conductor and artistic director of the Latvian Radio Big Band. As of 1998, he is a Parliament member of the Latvian Saeima (Parliament). He is a Commander of the Three Stars and was awarded the Great Music Award in 1994.

He is undoubtedly one of the most famous Latvian composers, in whose music Latvian folk music elements are joined by jazz, blues, rock and roll, French chanson, German schlager and the traditional Latvian ziņģe style, as well as fashionable trends. After his vivid career as a jazz pianist and composer in the 1960s, Raimonds Pauls selected the song as his main form of expression, and at the same time he has also been able to develop his creative fantasies in broader stage works – musicals and musical comedies. He is a vivid interpreter of his own songs at the piano, and is a producer blessed with unbelievable intuition, who is always able to find new talents, and is always creating new concert programmes!