Jēkabs Jančevskis

Jēkabs Jančevskis – one of the most outstanding and beloved composers of his generation – started composing while still being a student, receiving commissions from the most acknowledged Latvian musicians and performer groups. Jančevskis started his musical education at Riga Music School No 1, graduating the piano class; afterwards he finished the Riga Cathedral Choir School with a diploma in choir conducting. While still at the elementary school Jančevskis showed interest in the field of composition, optionally studying with composers Ilze Arne and Pauls Dambis. A particular encouragement to study composition professionally was given by Ēriks Ešenvalds who urged him to take part in competitions, attend new music concerts and analyze scores.

Jēkabs studied in Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in composition in Professor Selga Mence’s class, and a master’s degree, under the tutelage of Jānis Petraškevičs. Jēkabs teaches composition in Riga Cathedral Choir School, leads the mixed choir Anima Mea with Ivars Krauze, and works as the artistic director of the Pāvuls Jurjāns Music School Symphony Orchestra. Since 2019, Jēkabs has worked on the council of the Latvian Song and Dance Festival.

Jančevskis’ music is a beautiful enigma – it contains a heart touching message without setting any highbrow filters; it bears a veil of true soulfulness, enticing to uncover it and listen to the music again and again, and again.  His compositions encompass a romantically masculine world of sounds, solemnly contemplating on the phenomena of this world and life. Jančevskis’ music counterbalances emotionality, striking tunefulness and compositional wisdom, encompassing a deliberative and skilfully constructed form, original whirls of texture and good taste with regard to the mental experience, revealed in the music. It honestly reflects the emotional world of a human being, though transcending one owns pathos and reservedly, yet elegantly embodying a metaphysical level of the message in music. Even though the composer mainly chooses to focus on deep topics – man and his relations with the world or historical events from a today’s perspective – he is no stranger to humour and irony when speaking of the modern capitalist society. This becomes particularly explicit in his composition for orchestra Trakās dienas, which fairly and sarcastically depicts the madness of Christmas shopping. An important part of Jēkabs’ creative work is devoted to his choral music, as it can be heard in many parts of the world, and regular collaboration takes place with internationally recognized Latvian professional choirs such as Latvian Radio Choir, State Academic Choir Latvija, Chamber choir Ave Sol and some of the best youth choirs in Latvia. An especially close partnership has formed with the conductor of the State Academic Choir Latvija Māris Sirmais, the artistic director of the choir Sōla Kaspars Ādamsons, as well as the artistic director of the Riga Cathedral Mixed Choir Jurģis Cābulis.

The composer has written music for theatre plays and films as well. Jančevskis’ mother is an actress, and the theatre environment has provided the first amazing impressions for the world of music. Uncountable hours behind the scene and in the theatre boxes, as well as participation in several plays and films – all of it helped shape Jančevskis’ melodic imagination and experience, allowing him to create countless piano improvisations on his theatre experience at an early age already.

Jēkabs has won laurels in several composition competitions, and has been nominated for an award in the Music category of the “Diena” Annual Culture Award – one of the most prestigious awards in the world of Latvian culture. He has come in first in the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers in May 2019, in the category of composers under 30 years of age. In the beginning of 2020, Jēkabs released his first choral music album with the Riga Cathedral Mixed Choir and its conductor Jurģis Cābulis and Hyperion Records.

Jančevskis says “(..) my music is not explicitly complicated for the time being, though I don’t deny that I am fascinated by such masterpieces of other composers. My music emphasizes the emotional depth, an unending dramaturgical progression and evolution, the stability and steadiness of the form and as much a vivid instrumentation as possible.  I think it is important to speak frankly about the topicalities and events of the era in music, it is important to be timid neither of deep experiences, nor flickers of emotion. I feel that there are people who understand me.”



Prepared by musicologist Lauma Malnace, translated by Madara Bernharda-Adamsone and Paula Cābule


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“Along with, possibly, the last of this winter’s snow, we would like to present to you a song that was created spontaneously, yet at a very meaningful time. Referring to the invitation of the artistic director of the choir “Kamēr …” Aivis Greters to write a song for the choir’s men’s group, I found a […]

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January 18

The sixth episode of the educational cycle of lectures and talks Laudamus+ features a discussion with Jančevskis and Cābulis. New generation musicians as a part of the creative process and education (the discussion is narrated by Latvia’s national classical music station, Latvian Radio 3 Klasika radio presenter, musicologist Orests Silabriedis). Discussion with conductor Jurģis Cābulis […]

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A video of a new piece Meditation for Light has been released. “On this sun filled yet chilly day I wish to present you with a composition that was created in the spring of last year, when together we first encountered the halt in the flow of time. For once in a considerably lengthy period, I found […]

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