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Mediņš, family of prominent Latvian musicians, all brothers:

(1) Jãzeps Mediņš, conductor and composer; b. Kaunas, Feb. 13, 1877; d. Riga, June 12, 1947. He studied at the Riga Music Inst. (graduated, 1896), where he later was a teacher and director. He was a conductor at the Riga Theater (1906–11), the Baku Opera (1916–22), and the Latvian National Opera in Riga (1922–25), and later taught piano at the Riga Cons. (1945–47).


dramatic: opera:Vaidelote (The Priestess; 1922–24; Riga, 1927); Zemdegi (The Zemdegs Family; 1947; completed by M. Zarins). other: Sym. No. 2, Ziedoni (In Springtime; 1937); Sym. No. 3 (1941); Violin Concerto (1911); String Quartet (1941); other chamber music; choral works; songs.


M. Zalïte, /. M. (Riga, 1951).

(2) Jëkabs Mediņš, conductor, teacher, and composer; b. Riga, March 22, 1885; d. there, Nov. 27, 1971. He studied at the Riga Music Inst. (graduated, 1905) and at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik (1910–14). He taught at the Jelgava Teachers’ Inst. (1921–44), and was director of the People’s Cons, there (1921–41). He later taught choral conducting at the Riga Cons. (1944–71), serving as its rector (1949–51). He wrote an autobiography, Silueti (Silhouettes; Riga, 1968).


Clarinet Concerto (1948); 2 horn concertos (1949, 1962); Kokle Concerto (1952); Organ Concerto (1954); cantatas; chamber music; songs.

(3) Jãnis Mediņš, conductor and composer; b. Riga, Oct. 9, 1890; d. Stockholm, March 4, 1966. He studied at the Riga Music Inst. (graduated, 1909). He was a violisi and conductor at the Latvian Opera in Riga (1913–15), then a military bandmaster in St. Petersburg (1916–20). He conducted at the Latvian National Opera (1920–28), and subsequently was chief conductor of the Latvian Sym. Orch. (1928–44); was also a prof, at the Riga Cons. (1929–44). As the Soviet army approached his homeland (1944), he went to Germany, then settled in Stockholm (1948). He wrote an autobiography, Toni un pastoni (Tones and Semitones; Stockholm, 1964). He distinguished himself as a composer of both vocal and instrumental works.


dramatic: opera:Uguns un nakts (Fire and Night; 1st written as 2 operas, 1913–19; Riga, May 26, 1921; rev. as a single opera, 1924); Dievi un cilvëki (Gods and Men; Riga, May 23, 1922); Spriditis (Tom Thumb; Riga, 1927); Lutek’lite (The Little Darling), children’s opera (Riga, 1939). ballet:Mllas uzvara (Love’s Victory; 1935; the 1st Latvian ballet). orch.: Cello Concerto (1928); Piano Concerto (1934); several suites for Orch., including No. 3, Dzimtene (The Fatherland; 1933); other orch. pieces and music for band. chamber: 2 piano trios (1930, 1958); Cello Sonata (1945); String Quartet (1946); 2 sonatas for Violin and Piano (1946, 1954); various piano pieces. vocal: 8 cantatas; some 130 songs.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire