- Jēkabs Vītoliņš
(b Riga, Sept 7, 1936). Latvian composer and conductor. He graduated from Skulte’s composition class (1960) and from Lindberg’s orchestral conducting class (1971) at the Latvian State Conservatory. From 1957 to 1973 he was a producer for Latvian radio and television; he then joined the teaching staff at the conservatory, becoming a professor in 1987 and head of the composition department in 1992. A versatile, individual and searching composer, he has concentrated on symphonic and vocal genres. His early symphonic pieces, neo-romantic in character, also bear the marks of Expressionism. During the 1970s he was greatly influenced by the neo-classical tradition, while folk music features prominently in his music of the 1980s. His orchestral works are characterized by intense emotional expression and rich, pointed orchestration. His perception, especially in the song cycles, is highly romantic and incorporates elements of irony, satire and the grotesque....