AIVARS KALĒJS is a composer and organ performer. He was born into a family of artists in 1951 in Rīga. He graduated from the E. Dārziņš High School of Music, where he studied choral performance and special musical theory, also studying composition under Ģederts Ramans. Kalējs began to play the organ when he was 18. He is a graduate of the composition class taught by Ādolfs Skulte (1974) and the organ performance class taught by Nikolajs Vanadziņš (1977) at the Latvian State Conservatory. He has taken part in master's classes taught by the organists Ewald Kooiman and Leo Krämer. Kalējs has performed throughout Europe, the United States, Canada and Japan and taken part in international organ festivals in Estonia, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy and the United States. In 1998, he joined with the Kremerata Baltica orchestra for concert appearances in the United States, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Russia. Kalējs has worked with many soloists, he has served as accompanist for the Leonīds Vīgners chamber choir and the Mūza choir, also working with the Dzintars women's choir, the Sacrum chamber choir, and the Radio Latvia choir. For many years (1971-1991) he conducted the Dardedze vocal ensemble. From 1980 until 1985, he was a member of the Museum and Cultural monument Council of the Latvian Ministry of Culture, focusing on pipe organs in Latvian churches and ensuring that 250 of the instruments were put on the list of protected cultural monuments. Aivars Kalējs has extensively written about the history of organs and has performed during worship services at the Rīga Congregation of the Cross. He is a concert performer at the Rīga Cathedral and has been the organist of the New Church of St Gertrude. Kalējs' compositions have received awards from the Sinfonia Baltica competition (2004), the Kremerata Baltica new composition competition (2003), the Children of Siberia organ composition competition (2002), and the I Sing of Latvia's Forests song competition (2004).