Latvian contemporary composer Mārtiņš Viļums (1974) is rich with inspiration, an active, true, deep creativity, as well as spirituality. The complexity of his musical style – use of microtonal and overtone-singing, self-created phoneme systems, ancient and self-developed demonic and divine languages, synthesized sounds and unique instrumentations never overshadow the genuine spiritual experience his music brings. Grammy award winning Latvian Radio Choir and conductor Kaspars Putniņš join forces with instrumentalists and bring Viļums’ choral music to the wider audience, introducing a series of world premiere recordings of works composed between 2006 and 2018. The album (CD and streaming format) will be released by the Latvian national label SKANi on January 21, 2022.
Mārtiņš Viļums has divided his life and artistic work between Latvia, where he was born, grew up and developed, and Lithuania, where, for many years, he has been living with his family and creating. He studied the accordion at the Jāzeps Mediņs College of Music (1991 – 1996) and composition at the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music (with Pēteris Plakidis, 1995 – 1996). After that, he studied the accordion at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (1996 – 1997), and, as an elective, composition with Osvaldas Balakauskas (1996 – 1997). He continued to study composition there (1997–2001) with Julius Juzeliunas and Rimantas Janeliauskas, and received his bachelor’s degree. Master’s studies followed, and in 2006 he completed his post-graduate work. In 2011, he received his PhD in humanitarian science, and the theme of his work was Compositional Musical Time and Space Articulation Principles (Sound Parameters in the Aspect of Spatialization in the Music of the Second Half of the 20th Century and Beginning of the 21st Century). Impressive and promising, especially when considering that, since 1996, he has created many compositions which have received international praise. However, the title of the dissertation identifies many aspects which have been present in his compositions throughout the years. They have always been rich with inspiration, an active, true, deep creativity, as well as spirituality – in its broadest meaning.
“I wanted to create an imaginary mythological cultural world with a small link to the pseudo-original, a cultural echo that existed at some point – like a mental link between culture, text, and my own aesthetic vision. The music is principally the articulation of the text, which branches heterophonically, contextually, becomes layered and again reunites with the whole of the story”
says Mārtiņš Viļums. He draws inspiration from signs and mythology of ancient cultures, Latvian folk songs, nature and languages of the world while composing about life and afterlife, self-immersion and creation, metamorphoses, and time.