Composers and Authors /

Plakidis, Peteris (1947 - 2017)

Biography   Works  

Pēteris Plakidis
Pēteris Plakidis
Foto 1

 Pēteris Plakidis was born in Riga (Latvia). He first studied at the Emīls Dārziņš College of Music, then later enrolled in the Composition Department at the Latvian State Conservatory (today – the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music). Pēteris Plakidis graduated in 1970 (Valentīns Utkins’ class); in 1975 he completed the Latvian State Conservatory postgraduate program. He worked as the music director of the National Theatre (at that time the Academic Drama Theatre, 1969–1974). In 1974, he began working at the Latvian Academy of Music, eventually becoming a professor in the Composition Department. From the beginning, Plakidis announced his creative presence very convincingly – in 1969, for his piece Music for Piano, String Orchestra and Timpani, he received a diploma from the then-prestigious All-Union young composers’ competition. In 1982, the composer was awarded the title of Honoured Artist; in 1990 – the People’s Artist; and in 1987, he was awarded the Jānis Ivanovs Prize. In 1996, Plakidis received the Latvian Great Music Award (for Variations for Orchestra).

Though Plakidis’ music is very varied in expression, a classical balance is clearly felt. The music is permeated by an aspiration for psychological precision and polyphonic development, often combined with lyrical and emotionally tense modes of expression. Altogether, Pēteris Plakidis’ creative work covers almost all genres. His symphonic music unites the styles of neo-classicism and a romantic perception of the world. A perfect sense of form and an original development dominate, often combined with a somewhat ascetic, mostly diatonic and a very vivid melody, characteristic of Latvian folk music. His choral music and vocal chamber music often represent psychologically dramatic expression as well as lyrical intimacy. Pēteris Plakidis’ talent of portrayal was also vividly reflected in both his symphonic and instrumental chamber music. He was skilled at presenting very sharp-witted and humorous images.

For many years, Pēteris Plakidis performed as an accompanist alongside his wife, the notable Latvian opera and chamber singer Maija Krīgena (mezzo-soprano). They worked together in the Latvian Academy of Music Vocal Department. In 1991, Pēteris Plakidis, together with cellist Ivars Bezprozvanovs and clarinetist Eric Mandat (USA), formed The Transatlantic Trio. The trio performed concerts in Latvia, Great Britain and in the United States. As a concert pianist, Plakidis worked with many Latvian performers of different generations.

Photo by Edmunds Mickus