An insightful discourse on the hidden and public life of music in Soviet Latvia

An insightful discourse on the hidden and public life of music in Soviet Latvia

Touching upon one of the most complex periods in Latvian history, on Tuesday, 25 April at 18.00, as part of the educational series of lectures “Great Amber’s Music Conversation Club”, Professor Jānis Kudiņš from the Department of Musicology at Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music will share his research on the controversial period of Soviet occupation and the musical legacy created during it. The public is welcome to attend the discussion both in person at Liepāja Concert Hall “Great Amber” and online at

“Today, this layer of musical heritage continues to provoke various reflections, discussions, and controversies in all the arts. Where is the line to be drawn between collaborating with the occupation regime and simply “paying official dues” to the production and representation of a work of art? Where are the undertones and hidden messages to be found and understood in the ethereal expression of music? What is valuable and locally unique about the music made during this period, getting to know it today?” Jānis Kudiņš outlines the key questions of the lecture.

The discussion will focus on some aspects of these issues: the official dogma of socialist realism, the aesthetic paradoxes of its implementation and reverberations (the work of Jānis Ivanovs, Marģeris Zariņš, Imants Kalniņš); fragmentary modernism in the 1960s and later years. The eternal romanticism in the history of Latvian music or the first blossom of the neo-romantic movement in the 1970s-80s (the works of Romualds Kalsons, Pēteris Vasks, Pēteris Plakids, Juris Karlsons, etc.). The music produced during the Soviet occupation still raises many questions today, turning the search for answers into a never-ending, intriguing process of discovery.

You can attend the event both in person at the Chamber Hall of the Great Amber Concert Hall and online by watching it live from anywhere in the world on the platform To register for the live attendance, please contact the Concert Hall Information Centre by e-mail: or by phone: +37163424555. M.-Fri. 11.00-17.00, Sa.-Sun. 10.00-15.00.

The final lecture of the “Great Amber Music Conversations Club” will take place on 16 May, featuring Baiba Kurpniece, musicologist, lecturer at the Department of Musicology of the JVLMA and artistic producer of the Sinfonietta Rīga Chamber Orchestra, who will introduce the diverse Latvian music landscape in the 21st century.

Jānis Kudiņš, Dr. art., has been a lecturer at the JVLMA since 1996 and elected professor in 2017. He also works as a researcher at the Scientific Research Centre (he was the head of the Centre from 2008 to 2012). From 2008 to 2017 he was Head of the Department of Musicology. The subjects of his teaching and research interests include the history of Latvian and Baltic music (19th -20th centuries); the concepts of style, 20th century modernism and postmodernism in music and art; methodology of scientific research; European popular music culture of the first half of the 20th century. He is the author of several scientific publications in Latvian and English, has published a scientific monograph on Oskars Stroks, the King of Rīga Tango, and is an active member of scientific conferences and seminars in Latvia and other countries.

Lecture will take approximately 1 hour 30 minutes. The lecture series is organised by Liepāja Concert Hall “Great Amber” in partnership with Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music. Supported by the Liepāja Municipality, the Uniting Foundation, and the Liepāja Concert Hall  “Great Amber” Development Society.