Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks was born in Aizpute on 16 April 1946. He studied violin and double bass and played in several orchestras before studying composition with Valentin Utkin at the State Conservatory in Vilnius, Lithuania.
His early music is aleatoric in style, but later works were influenced by Latvian folk music. His music is clear and communicative, and conveys aspects of nature and environmental issues.
His work began to become known outside of Latvia in the 1990s, when it was taken up by Gidon Kremer. He was the main composer at the 1996 Stockholm New Music Festival, and became a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. He was honoured at the 2004 Cannes Classical Awards, and the following year he received the Estonian Order of the White Star. In 2006 he was composer-in-residence at two music festivals in Wales - the Presteigne Festival and the Vale of Glamorgan Festival.
CD Spotlight. Living in the Moment - Paul Sarcich explores the music of Pēteris Vasks. '... wonderfully luminous recordings of luminous music.'
CD Spotlight. Ostentatiously Evocative - Vadim Gluzman plays music by Pēteris Vasks, heard by Patrick Maxwell. 'The music on this impressive recording deserves much larger recognition ...'
CD Spotlight. Effervescent Beauty - Music by Pärt, Vasks and MacMillan, sung by the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, impressing Patrick Maxwell. 'This recording from the Choir of Clare College Cambridge under the direction of Graham Ross cements their position as one of the finest church ensembles in the country ...'
Ensemble. Wider Focus - Derby Bach Choir's 'Concert for Peace', heard by Mike Wheeler