Georgs Pelecis was born on June 18th, 1947 in the Latvian capital of Riga. Growing up in a musical family, he was enamoured with music from a very young age, but his decision to take up composition as a career began almost accidentally. The Department of Music Theory at the Secondary Specialised Musical School E. Darzin, where the young Pelecis studied, insisted that composition was to be a compulsory subject for all students enrolled within its faculty, which led to the future composer’s first interaction with this field.
At the E. Darzin Musical School, Pelecis quickly flourished under the guidance of composer Gedert Raman, achieving excellent marks in this discipline which in turn gave him the confidence to apply at the Pyotr Tchaikovsky State Conservatory in Moscow, where he was quickly accepted, joining the composition class of the famed Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian.
Graduating in 1970, Pelecis continued his studies in musicology at the Conservatory under the guidance of Vladimir Protopopov, obtaining a Masters degree with a dissertation devoted to the 15th century Dutch composer Johannes Ockeghem, and a doctorate with a dissertation focused on the counterpoint techniques of 16th century Italian composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina.
The courses and studies that Pelecis underwent during his Conservatory years significantly expanded his understanding of the art of music and greatly contributed to the approach that he would maintain throughout his adult life.
Georgs Pelecis’s work in the field of musicology is noteworthy, with the musicologist being widely regarded as one of Latvia’s most knowledgeable musical scholars.
Ever since 1970, Pelecis has been a lecturer in the Music Theory Department at the Latvian Academy of Music, previously known as the Latvian State Conservatory, with his main disciplines being the areas of counterpoint and fugue. In 1990 he was elected to the position of a professor at this same Academy, where he continues to work to this day.
Pelecis is the author of two works on Dutch composer Johannes Okegem, as well as A Study of the Style of Palestrina, which continues to be held in high regard all around the world, and was honoured with a number of awards including one from the Palestrina International Centre in Rome in 1993.
In the sphere of polyphony he has been involved in more than 30 scientific works – both in Western European (Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque) and Latvian music history – and has authored papers, and led presentations at major international conferences in Riga, Moscow and Rome. For many years he has researched the problems of form in the music of the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque, and in the work of many Baltic composers, and has written numerous authoritative works on this matter, as well as a number of essays about the music of the Renaissance, Baroque, Classicism and Art of the 20th century.
In the 1990s, Pelecis was also selected to serve as the first president of Riga Early Music Centre. Moreover, over the years he has often been invited to sit on the jury boards of many many international competitions in recognition of his standing as a musicologist.
Georgs Pelecis’s success as a composer has spread far beyond his native Latvia. He is the author of a great number of pieces for piano, choir, orchestra and different ensembles which are performed in many concerts and festivals all around the world.
In the 1990s, Pelecis worked in a creative capacity at both Oxford University (Corpus Christi College, 1995) and Cambridge University (Gonville and Caius College, 1997), with the composer continuing to receive a number of commissions from the United Kingdom in subsequent years. His symphonic music for the Roald Dahl story, Jack and the Beanstalk, was performed in the Royal Albert Hall in London, while his works have been performed at festivals such as the Alternativa festival in Moscow, and the Lockenhaus festival in Austria.
Meanwhile, his concerto Tomēr (Nevertheless), received choreographic attention in 2000, with the ballet troupe Dance Alloy performing to the music of the concerto in its entirety in a performance in Pittsburgh, USA under the direction of choreographer Mark Taylor.
The composer celebrated his 70th birthday with the world premiere of the piano concerto "Musica confinanta", which was performed by the Latvian pianist Vestards Simkus and the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andris Vecumnieks. The concert was broadcast live on Radio Klassika.
Pelecis' music has been described as being characterised by positive emotions, joy, the lightness of sound, and a clear optimistic spirit, which imbues it with a firm, spiritual strength. His works have been performed in many of the major halls and venues in Europe, Asia and America, and have been interpreted by some of the leading soloists, orchestras and ensembles of our time. Some of his most notable pieces include:
- Revelation – concerto for counter-tenor, piano, and trumpet;
- Nevertheless – concerto for violin, piano, and strings;
- The Last Song;
- Flowering Jasmine – concerto for violin, vibraphone, and strings;
- Jack and the Beanstalk – music for the Roald Dahl fable for symphony orchestra and narrators;
- Concertino bianco – for piano and chamber orchestra;
- Endorphin Music – concertino for symphony orchestra.