Haralds Berino

Haralds (Peter Albinus) Berino. Composer, organist, pianist, teacher, b Riga, Latvia, 12 Mar 1906, d Truro, NS, 18 Aug 1982. His training was at the Latvian Cons, where he studied composition with Joseph Wihtol and piano with Gomanes-Dombrovska.

Berino, Haralds

Haralds (Peter Albinus) Berino. Composer, organist, pianist, teacher, b Riga, Latvia, 12 Mar 1906, d Truro, NS, 18 Aug 1982. His training was at the Latvian Cons, where he studied composition with Joseph Wihtol and piano with Gomanes-Dombrovska. He was a repetiteur both at the conservatory and at the Latvian National Opera, and also taught piano. At the time of the Soviet Union's advance in 1944, he fled with his wife and daughter to Germany, where in the post-war refugee camps he was busy as an organist and teacher. Emigrating to Canada in 1950, he took up residence in Saint John, NB, becoming organist of Centenary Queen's Square United Church, and accompanist for choral and orchestral events. In 1955 he moved to Truro, NS, where he was organist-choirmaster of St James Presbyterian Church and also had a successful career as a piano teacher until his death. Berino's contribution to the musical growth of the Maritimes was regionally limited to that of a much-respected piano pedagogue of the older European school. However, among exiled Latvians in Canada, the USA, England, and Australia, he remains an admired and frequently performed composer. He wrote well over 200 pieces in a relatively conservative, Romantic style, displaying solid craftsmanship. These were primarily solo songs and choral works, mostly to Latvian texts. His three major works were an oratorio Kristu tiesašana (The Trial of Christ); a sacred cantata Dveselu kalna (On the Hill of Souls) commissioned for the sixth Latvian Song Festival, Boston, 1978, and recorded with six other pieces on the album Garigais Koncerts by the New York Latvian Choir (LISNA DC-2T23L); and Staru tilti (Bridge of Rays) written in 1980 to a text by the Latvian national poet Rainis. His setting of Psalm 121 for soprano solo, choir and organ is a particular favourite at Latvian Song Festivals and choral programs and was recorded at the 5th Latvian Song Festival in Toronto in 1970 (ST-56801). Several of his works have been recorded, including Tai klusai stundai dziendu (Pinebrook Recording PB-1378), Es dziedašu par tevi, tevu zeme (Latvian Veterans Centre), and a set of 13 sacred songs titled Tas Kungs is man Gans (Audio Mixers Recording). His complete works have been deposited in the Latvian Music Archives, Australia.


Further Reading

  • Tucker, Muriel. 'Free and happy,' Truro Daily News, 21 Jul 1973

    Neimanis, Victors. 'Haralds Berino, remembrances,' Latvija Amerika, 12 Feb 1983

    Roberts, Zuika. 'Obituary: Haralds Berino,' Latvju muzicka, 17, 1987