Pianist, composer, doctor of art. These various activities have already brought a great order to the life of Ilona Breģe; which will be impossible to deny in the near future, as they inspire many of her thoughts and emotions.
Ilona Breģe was born on the 20th of May 1959 in Riga. She graduated the Latvian Academy of Music (former title - Latvian National Conservatory), studying piano with Ella Strazdiņa (1983, Mg.) and composition with Pauls Dambis (1986, Mg.). She has awarded in the Latvian Young Pianists' Contest (1980).
A former Latvian Philharmonic soloist - pianist (1983–1992), playing concerts in Baltic countries, Germany, Canada, Korea, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus. Premiered a lot compositions by Latvian contemporary composers, like Etudes by Pauls Dambis, Viva la sonatine by Imants Zemzaris etc. At the same time were prepared concerts with music of German-Baltic composers, concert cycle "Sounds from the Times of Riga German Theater" and started festivals of historical music in Riga Musse-Fest where authentic programs played in Riga in 19th century by Franz Liszt, Clara Schumann, singer Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient were restored and performed.
Ilona Breģe has worked as a researcher in the Latvian Science Academy in the Literature, Folklore and Art department (1992–1998). She defended her Doctorate of Art dissertation Rīgas Pilsētas teātris 1782–1863 (Riga City Theater 1782–1863), and based upon that, with the support of the Latvian Cultural Foundation Spīdolas scholarship, developed and released the book Teātris senajā Rīgā (Theatre in Old Riga – Historical Facts, German Culture, and an Overview of Two Centuries). Regarding the theme of the time of German theatre in Riga, she has made presentations at conferences not just in Latvia, but also elsewhere in the world: Germany (Cologne 1992, Chemnitz 1995, Greifswald 1995, Oldenburg 1997), Finland (Helsinki 1994), Poland (Gdansk 1997) and elsewhere.
Ilona Breģe was the general manager of the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra (1997–2006, lead conductors Terje Mikkelsen, Olari Elts, Gints Glinka), and the initiator and manager of the international composers’ competition Sinfonia Baltica.
In years 2006 - 2020, she was the director of the Orchestra RIGA of Riga City Council (lead conductors Andris Poga, Mārtiņš Ozoliņš, Valdis Butāns) and manager of the Spring Festival WINDSTREAM in Riga.
Ilona Breģe’s music encompass many genres - symphonic music, as well as chamber opera Living Water and extensive Requiem, chamber music and vocal compositions. In 2008, the composer reached the final round of the Latvian original opera competition (the opera Gösta Berlings concept). Among interprets of Ilona Breģe's music should be named conductors Andris Nelsons, Ainārs Rubiķis, Andris Poga, Normunds Šnē, Normunds Vaicis, Mārtiņš Ozoliņš, Tovijs Lifšics, soloists Baiba Skride, Eva Bindere, Ula Ulijona, Elīna Bērtiņa, Sonora Vaice, Ieva Parša, Ramon Jaffe, Ingus Pētersons, Michael Chulpajev, Jānis Porietis, Sandis Šteinbergs, as well as orchestras: Kremerata Baltica, Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonietta Riga, Liepāja Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Latvian National Opera, Latvian Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra and other.
As of 1986, Ilona Breģe is member of the Latvian Composers' Union, from 1998 since 2002 she was vice-chairmen of the Council of Creative Unions of Latvia.
In 2009, Ilona Breģe was awarded with the annual prize in culture Baltais zvirbulis of Riga City for concert management of the Orchestra Riga in 2008.
In 2010, she won the Latvian Grand Music Award in category "Best new composition of the year 2009" with Violin-Concerto what was premiered in January 17, 2009 by soloist Baiba Skride and Sinfonietta Riga.
In 2019, Ilona Breģe was awarded with the Order of the Three Stars what is highest civilian order in the Republic of Latvia.