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Raimonds Pauls (born January 12, 1936 in Riga, Iļģuciems, Latvia) is a Latvian and Soviet composer and piano player who is well-known and respected in Latvia and the former Soviet Union.

Pauls was interested in music since his childhood years and attended the music school of Emils Dārziņš. In 1958, Pauls graduated from the Latvian State Conservatoire, Professor H. Braun's piano class. At that time he was already seen as an excellent piano player, he played in restaurants, learning jazz classics and contemporary songs. From 1962 to 1965 Pauls studied composition, and from 1964 to 1971 conducted the Latvian State Philharmonic's light music orchestra, in which he was also a pianist.

In 1972, Raimonds Pauls proceeded to create an ensemble of Latvian radio, from which several music groups eventually emerged. Most notably, the group "Modo", in which one of the members was Zigmars Liepiņš, achieved significant success in Latvia and other parts of the USSR.

In 1985, Pauls organized more music groups on the Latvian radio, which later cooperated with newer artists to provide professional help. At about that time, Raimonds Pauls started his cooperation with Russian singers.

Raimonds Pauls also had political experience. He has been a member of the Supreme Soviet of the Latvian SSR, from 1988 to 1993 he was the Latvian Minister of Culture. In 1993 he became an advisor to the President of Latvia. Since 1998, he had been the Member of Saeima, the Latvian parliament, initially being elected as a leader of the New Party. However, before the 2002 elections, he joined the People's Party and was elected on its party's list in 2002 and 2006. In 1999, Pauls was also one of the candidates for the President of Latvia, yet after remaining the last candidate in the election (none of the candidates could get the required amount of votes, but Pauls got more votes than the others), he chose to decline the post.

After Latvia gained independence, Pauls continued his musical work, most notably, tight coopreation with children's ensemble Dzeguzīte, which is the most popular children's group in Latvia. In 1996, he went on a tour with singer Laima Vaikule, which included concert locations in Moscow, St. Petersburg and New York City.

As of 2004, Pauls has composed music for six musical films and musical theaters, three ballets and over 50 movies and theater performances. CDs with Pauls's music have been released in several countries outside Latvia, including Russia, Finland and Japan. Recently he has recorded a double-album of jazz music My Favourite Melodies / So Many Stars - a long awaited venture of the renowned pianist into the jazz genre.

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Family

Raimond Pauls is married to Lana Paula from Ukraine. They have a daughter, Anete Paula and two grandchildren who are Anna Paula and Monika Pedersen. Monika is practicing piano herself and might as well wants to follow her grandfather.

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