Tālivaldis Ķeniņš

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2012 Latvian postage stamp depicting Tālivaldis Ķeniņš

Tālivaldis Ķeniņš (April 22, 1919 in Liepāja – January 21, 2008 in Toronto)[1] was a Canadian composer born in Latvia.

Kenins's father was a lawyer, poet and government official, and his mother was a journalist. He first began playing piano at the age of five, and his first compositions followed at age eight.[2] Initially, he studied to be a diplomat at the Lycee Champollion in Grenoble, but moved to Riga between 1940 and 1944, studying composition and piano under Joseph Wihtol.[2] He then studied at the Paris Conservatory under Tony Aubin, Olivier Messiaen and others from 1945 to 1951, and won first prize there for his Cello Sonata.[3] In 1951 his Septet was performed at the Darmstadt New Music Festival, conducted by Hermann Scherchen; that same year he married Valda Dremaine, moved to Canada, and was named organist at the Latvian Lutheran St. Andrews Church in Toronto. In 1952 he began teaching at the University of Toronto, where he taught for 32 years.[3] Canadian musicologist Paul Rapoport has credited Kenins with introducing many European idioms to Canadian art music in an era when many of its composers remained solidly influenced by British models.[2] Among his students were Tomas Dusatko, Edward Laufer, Walter Kemp, Bruce Mather, Ben McPeek, Arturs Ozoliņš, Imant Raminsh, James Rolfe, and Ronald Bruce Smith.[2]


  • 8 Symphonies, including No. 1 (1959), No. 4 (1972), No. 6 Sinfonia ad Fugam (1978), No. 7 (1980), No. 8 (1986)
  • 12 Concertos, including Concerto for Viola and Orchestra (1998), Concerto for Violin and Orchestra and Concerto for 14 Instruments
  • Canzona Sonata for solo viola and string orchestra (1986)
  • Beatae Voces Tenebrae for symphony orchestra
Chamber music
  • Sonata for cello and piano (1950)
  • Sonata [No. 1] for violin and piano (1955)
  • Sonata No. 2 for violin and piano (1979)
  • Sonata for viola and piano (1995)
  • Sonata for cello solo (1981)
  • Adagio and Fugue for viola, cello and organ (1985)
  • Elegy and Rondo for viola and piano (1979)
  • Fantasy-Variations on an Eskimo Lullaby for flute and viola (1967–1972)
  • Partita Breve for viola and piano (1971)
  • 2 piano quartets
  • Septet (1951)
  • Scherzo Concertante
  • Piano Sonata No. 1 (1961)
  • Sonata-Fantaisie (1981)
  • Piano Sonata No. 3 (1985)
  • Sonata for 2 pianos (1988)
  • 3 cantatas
  • 1 oratorio


  1. ^ Obituary. The Globe and Mail
  2. ^ a b c d Canadian Composer Talivaldis Kenins Dies at 88. CBC, January 23, 2008.
  3. ^ a b Talivaldis Kenins at the Canadian Encyclopedia
  • Rapoport, Paul. 1994. "The Piano Music of Talivaldis Kennins." SoundNotes. SN7:16-24.