INTERKULTUR mourns for legendary Latvian conductor Imants Kokars
Professor Imants Kokars, godfather of Latvian choral music, died on November 24, 2011 at the age of 90 years.
Imants Kokars was born August 16, 1921. He began his career as a conductor in 1948, conducting the Cesis Brass Orchestra. In 1956, he graduated from the Jazeps Vitols State Conservatory of Latvia, where he later became a lecturer (1963) and professor (1977). Since 1965, Kokars was one of the principal conductors at the famous Latvian National Song Festivals, which belong to the largest choral festivals worldwide. 1969 he founded the chamber choir “Ava Sol”, which became one of the most distinguished choirs in Latvia. 1977 through 1991, he was director of the Latvian Academy of Music.
Kokars used to be Latvian’s representative in the World Choir Council, one of INTERKULTUR’s international initiatives for years, until he resigned in 2008 and handed over to Romans Vanags. Imants Kokars was also one of the initiators and supporters of the idea to bring the World Choir Games to Latvia one day. Just recently, delegations met in Riga and discussed about 2014 as a possible year to host the event.
Kokars had been awarded Honorary Member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences and the Order of the Three Stars, Latvia’s highest civil award.
INTERKULTUR has lost a good friend, who never grew tired to promote choral music as both a means to achieve excellence and to unite people. Our thoughts and prayers include his family and friends.