Though principally known for his choral works in his earlier career, Imant Raminsh successfully branched into instrumental composition after the 1990s. His Violin Concerto (1997) was premiered by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and his Bassoon Concerto by George Zukerman and the Mexico State Orchestra under Enrique Bátiz 15 Apr 2000. Also in 2000, Raminsh was asked to write a companion piece to the premiere of Krzysztof Penderecki's Credo at the Banff Centre for the Arts, resulting in Recordare for orchestra, soloists, and chorus. Raminsh continued bridging the choral and instrumental worlds with highly successful works including Symphony of Psalms (a nine-movement piece for choir and orchestra sung in eight languages), which was premiered at Carnegie Hall in April 2002. In 2005 Raminsh was commissioned by the Ensemble Monterey Chamber Orchestra for The Peace of Wild Things. It was premiered under Cheryl Anderson in Santa Cruz and Monterey, Cal in May 2006 and taken to Carnegie Hall 19 Jun 2007 and the East Coast in 2008. Also in 2005, Raminsh's children's opera The Nightingale (2003) received its world premiere by The Children's Chorus of Washington and was taken on tour in China by the Glen Ellyn Children's Chorus; it was later staged by Minnesota Opera in March 2008.
Imant Raminsh's music emerges from a sense of urgent necessity, a sense of having 'something to say... that will cause you spiritual pain not to say it' (Anacrusis, Winter 1990). The strongly melodic nature of his compositions he attributes to a lifelong interest in vocal and choral music and suggests that the ultimate source may be the pervasive song heritage of his Latvian culture. He is unconcerned that his music is viewed as harmonically and rhythmically conservative: 'I have a limited time to compose... and I'm more comfortable saying the things I have to say in a language I already know. I don't have to be original for the sake of being original. That's my very sincere approach' (ibid).
Raminsh's instrumental compositions have been written for and performed by the Vancouver, Toronto and Edmonton symphony orchestras; Symphony Nova Scotia; Tafelmusik; the New Caledonia Chamber Orchestra; the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra; and the Masterpiece Trio of Vancouver. His choral works have been performed by many choirs, (eg, Vancouver Chamber Choir, the Elmer Iseler Singers, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, the Tudor Singers of Montreal, the Glen Ellyn Children's Choir of Chicago, the Stockholm Chamber Choir, the Tokyo Philharmonic Choir, the Finnish Radio Chamber Choir, and the Latvian chamber choir Ave Sol). He has received commissions from the CBC, the Vancouver Chamber Choir, the Vancouver Bach Choir, the Da Camera Singers of Edmonton, the British Columbia Choral Federation, and the Indianapolis Children's Choir, among others. His music has been broadcast by the CBC.
Awards; Memberships; Publishers
Raminsh received the Order of the Three Stars from the Latvian government in 2006. He is a member of the Canadian League of Composers and an associate of the Canadian Music Centre. His music has been published by G.V. Thompson (a division of Warner/Chappell); Walton Music; Colla Voce; Hinshaw Music; Alliance Music; and the Sveriges Korforbundsforlag (Stockholm).
Ave Verum Corpus. 1973. SATB. GVT 1983. Grouse GR-100/Marquis MAR-106 (Van Chamber Choir)
'... and the great day that dawns'. 1978. Orch. Ms
Ice and Fire (Lope De Vega). 1979. Mezzo, SATB, timpani, string orch. Ms
A Northwest Trilogy (BC folk songs). 1980. SATB. GVT 1984. CBC SMCD-5097 (Van Chamber Choir)/('Bye, Bye Baby') U-1 (UBC University Singers)
Six Chinese Lyrics. 1981. Alto, fl, oboe, string quartet. Ms
Along the Flower Trail. 1982. SSAATTBB. Ms
Suite on Five Latvian Folk Songs. 1983. Orch (string orch). Ms
Psalm 23. SA, piano. GVT 1985
Psalm 121. 1984. SA, strings (piano). GVT 1984
Magnificat. 1985. SATB (mezzo, SATB, piano). Ms
Two Psalms (No. 130, 150). 1985. SATB, orch. Ms
Daybreak: Songs of the Lights (Navaho, trans E.L. Walton).(Set 1) 1985. SA (SSA), fl, glockenspiel, string (piano). B&H 1987. (Set 2) 1987. SA (SSA, SSAA), piano. Ms
Five Latvian Folksongs. 1985. SATB. Ms
I Will Sing Unto the Lord (Psalm 104). 1988. SATB, piano (orch). Ms
Also other works for voice; choir; and chamber ensemble
Author Barclay McMillan, Evan Ware
Dyck, Arthur. 'The choral music of Imant Karlis Raminsh,' PH D thesis, U of Iowa 1990
Fisher, Gary. 'Interview with Imant Raminsh,' Anacrucis, vol 10, Winter 1990
Thorne, Susan. "Vernon's noted voice," B.C. Choral Federation Newsletter, Summer 1994
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Music Centre
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This website offers a detailed list of works and a bibliography of Latvian-born Canadian composer Imant Raminsh.From "The Living Composers Project."