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Selga Mence

Professor, Department of Composition

Selga Mence was born on January 12th, 1953 in Liepāja. She graduated Liepāja 5th Secondary School with a gold medal (1971), majoring in German language. Two years later she graduated Emīls Melngailis Secondary Music School and went on to study at the Latvian State Conservatory with Pauls Dambis, graduating composition class in 1978 and completing postgraduate level studies in 1988. From 1980 to 1987 she was a member of the Latvian Culture Ministry Repertoire Editorial Council; during the 1980s as a member of the Latvian Composers’ Union she was in charge of the music for children in Latvia. Since 1985 she is a member of the Composition Department of Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music.

Selga Mence is renowned for her choir works performed at the Scandinavian Song Festival in Norway in 2000 and at numerous song festivals in Latvia, the United States and Canada. Many Latvian choirs have achieved victories at international competitions whilst performing her opuses. Selga Mence has participated in the Songbridge 2000 Festival Europa Cantat XIV in Nevers, France, and at the Month of European Music in 2001, Basel. Her Dziesmas (Songs) for two pianos were included in the top ten recommended works at the 1999 International Rostrum of Composers in Paris. Selga Mence’s vivid emotions, lively musical images, admiration for Latvian folk songs and their traditional and firm ethos find their expression in choir songs and music for children. Popular Latvian (and Liv) folk melodies and texts (often blurring the boundaries between folksong arrangements and original music) are related to the national romantic tradition but are developed through contemporary compositional techniques. The compositions of Selga Mence explore sonorities and improvisation games characteristic to the aleatoric technique. Melodic material as one the most important facets of her music is purposefully and logically developed to set the work alight.

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