Gundega Šmite (*1977) was born in Riga, Latvia. She has graduated from the composition department of Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music with professor Pēteris Plakidis (2007). Within the Erasmus program, she supplemented her education at the Jean Sibelius Academy of Music (Finland) with Veli-Matti Puumala. She has participated in the Centre Acanthes workshop, having masterclasses with Salvatore Sciarrino and Fabio Nieder (2008) and Philipe Hurel, Oskar Strasnoy and Unsuk Chin (2011). From 2008 she has been leading composition masterclasses in Ogre, Sigulda (International Young Musicians masterclasses) and Madona.
Since 2007 she has been a lecturer at the Latvian Music Academy. From 2009 till 2012 she held a Chairman’s position at the Latvian Composers’ Union. She has been an artistic director of the Contemporary Music festival Arena as well as the artistic director of the festival Latvian New Music Days. She holds a doctoral degree in arts from the Latvian Music Academy for her musicological research, which concerns various aspects of music and text relationship in contemporary choral music. Currently, she is based in Thessaloniki, Greece.
She has won numerous prizes and recognitions for her work, including the festival Culturescapes International young composers’ competition (quintet Isochasma, 2006) and the Grand Music Award for the New Composition of the year (IΩ. Eos, the Goddess of Dawn for symphony orchestra, 2019).
Her works have been performed by Berlin, Swedish and Latvian Radio choirs, BBC singers, Stockholm saxophone quartet, Ensemble Lucilin (Belgium), BIT20 (Norway), Dissonart ensemble (Greece) among others.