Raimonds Pauls

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Raimonds Pauls
Flickr - Saeima - 9.Saeimas deputāts Raimonds Pauls.jpg
Raimonds Pauls in August 2010
Ojārs Raimonds Pauls

(1936-01-12) 12 January 1936 (age 86)
Rīga, Latvia
EducationSecondary Musical School of E. Darziņš
Alma materLatvian State Conservatory
OccupationComposer, pianist
Years active1956-
Notable workMillion Roses (1982)
TitlePeople's Artist of the USSR (1985)

Ojārs Raimonds Pauls (born 12 January 1936 in Iļģuciems, Riga, Latvia) is a Latvian composer and piano player who is well known in Latvia, Russia, post-Soviet countries and worldwide.[1] He was the Minister of Culture of Latvia from 1988 to 1993.


Raimonds Pauls is the second child of Iļguciems' glass blowing factory worker Voldemārs Pauls and seamstress Alma Matilde Brodele. His father Voldemārs began his career at the age of 15 years, when he joined his father (Raimonds Pauls' grandfather Ādolfs Pauls) at the factory. Meanwhile, Voldemārs' mother Aleksandra, respectively, Raimonds' grandmother, hired an assistant at her shop – Alma. In 1932, Voldemārs and Alma celebrate their wedding. Unfortunately, their firstborn son Gustavs dies from meningitis at the age of four months.

As Raimonds' father has played drums and his grandfather – violin, Voldemārs decides that his son should also play a musical instrument. Equipped with an old violin, Raimonds gets into Riga's institute of Music kindergarten branch. As it was decided by the teachers that he was too young and "his fingers were unfit" for playing violin, Raimonds starts with piano lessons.

In 1943, Raimonds begins his studies at Riga's 7th Elementary school, while, in parallel, continuing to take piano lessons with the professor Valerijs Zosts and teachers Emma Eglīte and Juta Daugule.

In 1946, Raimonds is admitted to the Secondary Musical School of Emīls Dārziņš, combining his studies at the elementary school for three years. At the age of 14, Raimonds gains experience playing piano at restaurants and clubs with a violin and saxophone virtuoso Gunārs Kušķis. In 1949, he finishes his studies at the Riga's 7th Elementary school. During this time, he independantly develops a liking for playing jazz by studying and imitating various jazz records.[2]


  • August 1967 – Celebrated Servant of Art
  • June 1976 – Artist of the People's Theatre of LSSR
  • January 1985 – Artist of the People's Theatre of USSR
  • 24 November 1992 – Honorary member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences
  • 1994 – Laureate of the Big Musical Award (for the poetic performance "Visi koki dieva doti" ('Every Tree You See By God is Given Thee'), the concert Svinga laiks ('It's Time for Swing') and the CD Ziemassvētkos ('In Christmas'))
  • 12 April 1995 – decorated with the Order of the Three Stars (3rd class); thus he is a commander of the Order of the Three Stars (for merits on behalf of the state of Latvia).
  • 2020 – Order of the Rising Sun 3rd Class, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon (Japan)[3]
  • Laureate of state and Komsomol awards[when?]

Major works[edit]


  • Pāri, kas dabonas (Lovers Who Get It) (1976)
  • Māsa Kerija (Sister Carrie) after the Theodore Dreiser novel (1978)
  • Nāc pie puikām (Come to the Boys) (1982)
  • Vella būšana (A Matter of the Devil) (1987)
  • Meža gulbji (Forest Swans) (1995)
  • Leģenda par Zaļo Jumpravu (The Legend of the Green Maiden) (2000)


  • Kubas melodijas (Melodies of Cuba) (1963)
  • Ritmi, ritmi (Rhythms, Rhythms) (1979)
  • Vitrāžas (Stained Glass Panels) (1979)

Theatre performances[edit]

30 theatre performances, including:

  • Īsa pamācība mīlēšanā (A Short Instruction in Love)
  • Atjautīgā aukle (The Ingenious Nanny)
  • Šerloks Holmss (Sherlock Holmes)
  • Brands (Brand)
  • Džons Neilands (John Neiland)
  • Elizabete – Anglijas karaliene (Elizabeth – Queen of England)
  • Grāfs Monte Kristo (The Count of Monte Cristo)
  • Dāmu paradīze (Paradise of Ladies)
  • Melanholiskais valsis (The Melancholic Waltz)

Puppet shows:

  • Runčuks Punčuks (The Belly Tomcat)
  • Velniņi (The Two Imps)
  • Ceturtais skriemelis (The Fourth Vertebra)


Music for more than 30 movies, including:

Choir music[edit]

  • Three songs for choir and piano (1972)
  • Ten arrangements of Latvian folk songs for boys' choir (1980)
  • Song cycle with lyrics from Latvian poet Aspazija for boys' choir (1980)
  • Baltās dziesmas (The White Songs) for boys' choir and instrumental ensemble (1981)
  • Song cycle for choir and piano (1984)
  • Vītola stabules dziesmas (Songs of a Willow Pipe) cycle for boys' choir (1984)
  • Mazs, laimīgs zēns (A Small and Happy Boy) – ten songs for boys' choir and piano with the lyrics of M. Karēms (1985)
  • Cycle Pērļu zvejnieks (Pearl Hunter) for boys’ choir and tenor (1986)

Cycles of light music songs[edit]

  • Vecās Rīgas vitrāžas (The Stained Glass Panels of the Old Rīga) (1971)
  • Five songs with the lyrics of D. Avotiņa (1972)
  • Oriental motifs (1982)
  • City romance (1983)
  • Melnais kliedziens (The Black Cry) (1985)
  • Cycle with lyrics by Rainis (1985)


  • Portreti (Portraits) suite (1962)
  • A Rhapsody for piano and light music orchestra (1964)
  • Iespaidi (Impressions) suite (1965)
  • Dienvidu akvareļi suite (The Water-Colours of the South) (1965)
  • Kalnu skices (Mountain Sketches) (1966)
  • Five improvisations in the spirit of Latvian folk songs (1967)
  • Melnās krāsas (Black Colours) suite (1967)
  • Jazz expressions (1970) and other works

Instrumental music[edit]

  • Approximately 300 works, including instrumental versions of songs, arrangements of folk songs, versions on familiar themes, arrangements of classical composer works.
  • More than 90 albums with songs and instrumental music (©MicRec/Daiga Mazvērsīte)
Music for radio performances and plays
Approximately 70 songs for children

Popular songs in Russian[edit]

  • "Million Roses" ("Миллион алых роз") by Alla Pugacheva
  • "Starinnie chasi" ("Старинные часы") by Alla Pugacheva
  • "Maestro" ("Маэстро") by Alla Pugacheva
  • "Bez menya" ("Без меня") by Alla Pugacheva
  • "Pesnya na bis" ("Песня на бис") by Alla Pugacheva
  • "Vozvrashenie" ("Возвращение") by Alla Pugacheva
  • "Delu vremya" ("Делу время") by Alla Pugacheva
  • "Zeleni svet" ("Зелёный свет") by Valery Leontiev
  • "Ischezli Solnechnie Dni" ("Исчезли солнечные дни") by Valery Leontiev
  • "Kabare" ("Кабаре") by Valery Leontiev
  • "Verooko" ("Верооко") by Valery Leontiev
  • "Zatmenie serdca" ("Затмение сердца") by Valery Leontiev
  • "Muse" ("Муза") by Valery Leontiev
  • "Gody Stranstviy" ("Годы странствий") by Valery Leontiev
  • "Posle Prazdnika" ("После праздника") by Valery Leontiev
  • "Polybite Pianista" ("Полюбите пианиста") by Valery Leontiev or Andrei Mironov
  • "Dazhe Esli Ti Uydesh'" ("Даже если ты уйдёшь") by Valery Leontiev
  • "Tri minuti" ("Три минуты") by Valery Leontiev
  • "Vernisazh" ("Вернисаж") by Valery Leontiev and Laima Vaikule
  • "Esche ne vecher" ("Еще не вечер") by Laima Vaikule
  • "Listja zheltyje" ("Листья Желтые") by Laima Vaikule
  • "Scripach na krishe" ("Скрипач на крыше") by Laima Vaikule
  • "Charli" ("Чарли") by Laima Vaikule
  • "O chem igraet pianist" ("О чем играет пианист") by Laima Vaikule
  • "Podberu muziku" ("Подберу музыку") by Jaak Joala
  • "Ya tebya risuyu" ("Я тебя рисую") by Jaak Joala
  • "Siniy len" ("Синий лён") by Larisa Mondrus
  • "Lubov Nastala" ("Любовь настала") by Roza Rymbayeva
  • "Tanez na barabane" ("Танец на барабане") by Nikolai Gnatyk

Popular songs in Latvian[edit]

  • "To my Fatherland" ("Manai dzimtenei") by Viktors Lapčenoks (co-composed with Jānis Peters)



Raimonds Pauls was a member of the Supreme Soviet of the Latvian SSR and served as Minister of Culture in the Latvian government from 1988 to 1993. In 1993 he became an advisor to the President of Latvia. In 1998, he was elected a Member of the Saeima, the Latvian parliament, initially as leader of the New Party.[4] Before the 2002 elections he joined the People's Party and was elected on its party list in 2002 and 2006. Pauls ran in the 1999 presidential election and received the highest number of votes, but below the required majority. He chose to decline the post.

After Latvia re-established independence, Pauls continued his musical work, most notably working with Dzeguzīte, the most popular children's group in Latvia at the time. In 1996, he went on a tour with singer Laima Vaikule, which included concert locations in Moscow, Saint Petersburg and New York City.


As of 2004, Pauls has composed music for six musical films and musical theaters, three ballets and over 50 movies and theater performances. CDs with Pauls' music have been released in several countries outside Latvia, including Russia, Finland and Japan. In 2006 he recorded a double album of jazz music, My Favourite Melodies/So Many Stars – a long-awaited[by whom?] venture by the pianist into the jazz genre.


  1. ^ "Biography for Raymond Paul". IMDb. Retrieved 2010-04-02.
  2. ^ "Biogrāfija – Raimonds Pauls". Retrieved 21 October 2022.
  3. ^ "Latvian maestro Raimonds Pauls awarded Japanese state decorations". Lsm.lv. 2020-11-03. Retrieved 2020-11-04.
  4. ^ Latvia votes for Europe, The Economist, 10 October 1998

External links[edit]