Krastiņš Jānis (1847-1918), teacher, musician

The first professional Latvian organist, Jānis Krastiņš, who has served as an organist in the Vecgulbene parish for 40 years, was born in 1847 in Dikļi to the family of Teņa and Anna Krastiņi. Graduated from the Valka Jānis Cimze teachers' seminar (1965 - 1968). He was a like-minded teacher, writer, pastor, organizer of the first Latvian singing festival in Dikļi, Juris Neiken.

The education gained in the seminar opens up opportunities for the work of a teacher and organist. As the first organist here was Jānis Cimze's brother, composer Dāvids Cimze, it is natural that the Cimze family recommends that the seminar graduate Jānis Krastiņš go to Vecgulbene.

In 1871, a serious competition for the position of teacher and organist was honored: a model lesson in teaching students was shown and an organ music program was played. The church's patron, Baron Wolf, the old pastor Georg Gustav Schilling and other members of the commission, acknowledged the talent, excellent training and suitability of the twenty-year-old. For more than 40 years, Jānis Krastiņš has been an organist in the Vecgulbene parish and for 20 years a teacher and headmaster of a friendly school, who gives students a particularly thorough knowledge of German, teaches organ playing and prepares the most diligent students for higher education. He is the last teacher of the German era to rule the school for 140 years.

The first general Latvian Singing Festival (1873) concert of sacred music is opened by a Latvian - 26-year-old organist Jānis Krastiņš from Vecgulbene, playing JS Bach's fugue in sol minor.

The seemingly lonely musician in Vecgulbene is not passive. Krastiņš plays with great enthusiasm and teaches organ to others. For many, even more so as required by the parish school course program. Krastiņš has prepared Peter Paul for joining the St. Petersburg Conservatory by prof. Homilius class.

Krastiņš is eager to organize high-quality concerts in Vecgulbene. Alfreds Kalnins, a composer and outstanding organist, and Malvīne Vīgnere-Grīnberga, an opera singer, play in the church several times in the church. Composer Emilis Melngailis dedicates the song to organist Jānis Krastiņš and publishes it in his sheet music collection.

Jānis Krastiņš's organ playing skills do not go unnoticed far beyond the borders of our country. He is once invited to St. Petersburg to make music in honor of the visit of German Emperor Wilhelm II. The award was later shown by the Medal of Recognition.

K.Martinsons "School of the Congregation" (Gulbene.1933)
O.Zanders "Song Hungry Life" (Flag, No.8, 01.08.1973)
O. Zanders "Thought Ballad in 1873" (Dzirkstele, No.77, June 30, 1973)
I.Zeibārte "In the Testimonies of Vecgulbene School Documents" (Dzirkstele, No.82, July 12, 1988)
O.Zanders "The beginnings of schools in Gulbene" (Dzirkstele, No.113, 24.09.1983)
"Jānis Krastiņš, teacher and organist of Gulbene parish school - 150" (Jaunā Dzirkstele, No.84, April 29, 1997)
O. Zanders "On the White Highways of Vidzeme" (Riga. Jumava. 2006)