IMANTS ZEMZARIS (born 1951, Riga) studied composition with Adolfs Skulte at Latvian Music Academy. Now teaches composition himself at Emils Darzins music school. Imants Zemzaris' favourite genre is instrumental chamber music, also miniature forms. He is fond of poetic and pictorial subtexts. Imants Zemzaris often uses a simple musical material, sometimes borrowed from trivial music and saturates it psychologically while typifying it by means of persistent repetition and playing around. There is a significant resemblance with the minimalists in approach. Imants Zemzaris often makes contributions to the press - music criticism and essays. He is a highly demanded composer of theatre music.


Major works :

1973 “Antique dealer”, scherzo for two pianos

1973 “Warsaw tryptich” for piano

1976 Trio for flute, cello and piano

1977 Piano suite in G

1978 “The 12th century pipe” for symphonic orchestra

1981 “Under the impact of Aitmatov’s Reading” for symphonic orchestra

1984 “The Field” for organ

1986 “Pastorales for summer flute” for organ

1987 “Dedication to the first anemone”, divertimento for string orchestra, two flutes and cembalo.

1992 “Forest lake” for organ

1994 “Fatherland’s elegy” for string orchestra

1995 “Viva la sonatina” for piano

1996 “Marvel Pieces” for piano quartet.

1997 “Shrovetide ouverture” for string orchestra, two flutes and cembalo


TEXTURES FOR PIANO (1975). Impassive machine-like rhythm formula allows the performer to cover it with an individual pattern of accents, textures and playing. It is not hard at all to decipher some metaphors or behavioral types of characters.


THE WARSAW TRIPTICH (1973). Has been created in the direct influence of a Warsaw trip. The dialogue of the ancient and the modern is symbolized in allusion to Chopin, Bach and rock music.


THE VOICE is a clarinet solo piece with a dual meaning of the original title "Balss" which means also "a song" or an universal melody pattern in the folklore of Latvia's Easternmost region Latgale. Different lyrics and variations can be adapted to any "voice". The composition of Imants Zemzaris is close to the most ancient layer of the folklore. It is a part of a series of compositions united by a uniform theme material (other parts are "Lauks" (FIELD) for organ and "Jâòu diena" (ST. JOHN'S DAY) for a mixed instrumental ensemble).


THE FIELD The author's commentary: "The scenes of the native land, mostly the monumental laconism of a field, served as the visual impulse. This quality remains unchanged during the change of the seasons, no matter if it is brooding just after snow or anticipating, flourishing, ripe, yielding wither barren. I have used allusions to Jânis Ivanovs works in some of my previous compositions as well as in "The Field". (Jânis Ivanovs (1909-1983) is a Latvian composer, author of 21 symphonies).

Divertimento DEDICATION TO THE FIRST ANEMONE. The creative impulse to this work has come from indulging in instrumental music by Bach and

transposing his oboe concertos for an English horn. That is why baroque-like construction of the score is perceptible, utilizing basso continuo, flute parallelisms, local segments of violin and cello cadenzas juxtaposed to tutti orchestra at the intro and finale. The persistent visual impulse has been Boticelli "Springtime". The formal structure of the piece has been put together following a definite literary programme but since the author does not insist that the listener has to follow exactly that story, the latter is concealed. The only thing he lets us know is the feeling of a day in early spring - a

changing and meaningful like being born again.


THE FOREST LAKE (1992) was commissioned by Helsinki Festival.

The development is based on interaction of two spheres – diatonicism and hromaticism. Diatonics win the victory in the climax, thus symbolizing awakening, loosening, rising up of the dozing, unconscious powers. Then, step by step, hromatics return – the image of the depths, the sleep, the mystery. One might remember the very popular folk legend about the forest lakes which suddenly rise from their place and travel all around like a cloud until somebody calls them by name – then the lake has found its new place and comes down.

Imants Zemzaris.