Our stories - A beautiful glass monument in the shape of a grand piano dedicated to the brilliant pianist – Jautrīte Putniņa, in her beloved hometown Valmiera.
A beautiful glass monument in the shape of a grand piano was installed to commemorate the brilliant pianist, personality and “Honorary Valmiera citizen”, Jautrīte Putniņa, (08.03.1929 – 22.01.2017) in her beloved hometown Valmiera, Latvia. The memorial was made with the support of the Valmiera City Council, colleagues, family and admirers.
As the bird lifts its wings to fly, Jautrītes soul was uplifted by the sounds of this wing-like music instrument – grand piano. Jautrīte was convinced that music was the bridge to eternity. One of the most outstanding Latvian 20th-century musicians, pianist Jautrīte Putniņa, wrote in her diary: “Music is like a religion to me. Sound of music is my promised land. I feel safe. Protected. Happy. Needed. I do not doubt that there is eternal life – music convinces me of it every day. It is like the only bridge that connects this mundane world with the afterlife…”
The high (1.75 m) human size tombstone was created in the extraordinary, contemporary sculptor’s Ernest Vitin’s “Glasstone” workshop. It is made of a special selective glass that brightens in three different shades. From each height, angle, side, it changes colour and becomes extraordinary, creating a reference to Putniņas dynamic personality and rhythm of life.
It was not only her powerful creative spirit that inspired many others, but also a passionate revolutioner character. Jautrīte was famous for her expressive, dynamic playing style and her desire to play complex compositions, thus popularizing less well-known pieces in Latvia at that time. Due to her vivid and, for the ruling authorities at the time – uncomfortable personality, Jautrite experienced Soviet-era repressive actions that prevented the pianist from performing and teaching for several decades. But despite this, Putniņa continued to play piano, gradually winning the chance to perform publically again. In 2010, Jautrīte received the Three Stars Order of the Cross of Honor and the Great Music Award for lifetime contribution in the field of music in Latvia. Her students and companions remember her as a formidable, confident and rigorous, and there is no shortage of admirers of Putniņa’s talent even this day.
Putniņa was born on March 8, 1929, in Valmiera to the family of fine mechanic and painter. Her talent and perseverance have been portrayed throughout her life, as has her love for her native home, Valmiera. Deciding to play the piano at the age of three, Jautrīte had been holding on to that decision all her life, joining the Conservatory at the age of 16, where she later trained young pianists for many years. Thanks to the artist’s initiative, Valmiera Ancient, now known as the Winter Music Festival, was established. In its turn, the annual International Young Pianist Competition organized by the city of Valmiera, will carry the name of the outstanding pianist, the “Honorary Citizen of Valmiera”, Jautrīte Putniņa.
Interestingly enough, the foreground of the beautiful glass monument contains not only the name, dates of the virtuoso artist, but also the signature of the musician which, at first glance, without knowing the story, the viewer may merely see as a small, cheerful bird… which, in a sense, it is! Fun fact that Jautrīte has created this peculiar little bird, by playing with her first and last name, and has used as her signature all her life. A metal string on one side runs through the entire length of the monument symbolizing the humane, challenging, life as a string of an instrument. Music instrument strings invite us to play passionately, but caringly, so as not to break it prematurely. That’s the life of a human being — unpredictable, at sometimes tense and at other times calm and melodic. This was also the case for Jautrīte Putniņa.