Georgs Pelēcis (*1947) is one of the most knowledgeable of musical scholars in Latvia, especially in the fields of history and theory of counterpoint. He graduated the Piotr Tchaikovsky State Conservatory in Moscow in Aram Khachaturjan`s composition class in 1970, and in 1977 he finished the music theory post-graduate course with Vladimir Protopopov. As of 1970, he has been a lecturer in the Music Theory Department at the then Latvian State Conservatory, now the Latvian Academy of Music. His main disciplines are counterpoint and fugue.
Georgs Pelēcis’s work in the field of musicology is noteworthy. In 1981, he defended his science of art candidate (now doctorate of art) dissertation The Musical Forms of Jean de Ockeghem and the Traditions of the Netherlands Polyphonic School. In the specific sphere of polyphony he has been involved in more than 30 scientific works – both in Western European (Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque) and Latvian music history – papers, presentations at international conferences in Riga, Moscow and Rome. His other major scientific research paper Palestrina’s Principles of Polyphony and Traditions of the Vocal Polyphonic Era (Dr. habil. art, 1990) is held in high regard in the world and was recognized with a medal at the International Palestrina Centre in Rome, Italy in 1993. Georgs Pelēcis was the first president of the Ancient Music Centre of Riga. The composer has worked in a creative capacity at Oxford (1995, Corpus Christi College) and Cambridge (1997, Gonville and Caius College) Universities.
Pelēcis has also received compositional commissions from the United Kingdom. His symphonic music for the Roald Dahl story Jack and the Beanstalk was performed in the Royal Albert Hall in London. His works have been performed at the Alternativa festival in Moscow, and at the Lockenhaus festival in Austria. One of his works, the concerto Tomēr (Nevertheless), has received choreographic attention in recent years. The ballet troupe Dance Alloy performed to the music of the concerto in its entirety in a performance in Pittsburgh, USA in 2000 under the direction of choreographer Mark Taylor.
The musical tonality of Georgs Pelēcis seems to reverberate some amazingly clear positive spirit. This very quality, whose genetic ancestry can be found partly in Renaissance and Baroque music and partly in the minimalist aesthetic, brings a spiritual strength to the composer’s creative output and brings to Latvian music a previously unknown, freshly breathing and pulsating activity. From all the style classifications which the composer himself and musical critics have given to his works, the most precise would be new consonant music. His music has nothing in common with stylization, although it reveals a deeply understood knowledge of the music of past cultures.