Andrejs Jurjāns as Symbol of Latvian Identity: Native Folk Songs in his Large-Scale Symphonic Works Page: 21
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Jurjans began to formulate his theories on Latvian folk music, which he would refine in his
research on folklore.
Upon graduating from Lui Homilius' organ class (1880), Rimsky-Korsakov's
composition class (1881), and Friedrich Homilius' French horn class (1882), Jurjans'
artist diplomas signified his official liberation from peasant status and any military
obligation to the Russian army. His position changed from one of financial need to one of
assisting others. Immediately following his graduation from St. Petersburg in 1882, he
was invited to head the theory, French horn, and choral classes at the Russian Imperial
Music Society's Conservatory at Khar'kov in the Ukraine. Jurjans remained at the
Khar'kov school until 1916, when his deteriorating health forced him to leave his teaching
position. Although absent from his native land, he did not forsake his ethnic heritage even
in the face of the most intense Russification reforms taking place in the 1880s.37
Aside from his duties as a professor, Jurjans actively sought to further the
development of Latvian art music and the preservation of Latvian traditional musics while
remaining active in the musical life in the Ukraine. During the course of his career, Jurjans
was fortunate enough to hear his own music performed and praised. One of his many
activities was concertizing as a horn player with his brothers in the Jurjans Brothers'
French Horn Quartet, and as an organist. Additionally, Jurjans organized, conducted,
and composed music for the third, fourth, and fifth Latvian Song Festivals of 1888, 1895,
"Russian was to be the only acceptable language of instruction in all of the Latvian schools, replacing
both Latvian and German. Those teachers who could not or would not teach in Russian were replaced
with inferior Russian substitutes. By the turn of the century, illiteracy was on the rise once again.
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Švalbe, Erika Lynn. Andrejs Jurjāns as Symbol of Latvian Identity: Native Folk Songs in his Large-Scale Symphonic Works, thesis, December 1997; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc279409/m1/37/: accessed October 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .