Klaipėda Carillon Festival 2015

Wednesday 24 June 2015
Courtyard of the Klaipėda Clock Museum
(Liepų g. 12)

Klaipėda Carillon Festival: That special sound of bells

On June 24th, at noon, the toll of bells will announce the beginning of the 2nd Klaipėda Carillon Festival.
Nowadays the sonic cityscape of Klaipėda seems unthinkable without the sound of the Klaipėda Carillon. It is one of two such instruments in Lithuania whose audible presence has become, over the years, the signature of the harbour city. It was mounted in the tower of the Klaipėda Central Post Office in 1987. Since then the annual carillon music festivals had been organised in Klaipėda until 2003.
In 2006, this instrument was dismantled and soon replaced by the new carillon that has been manufactured at the Royal Eijsbauts bell foundry in the Netherlands. The new instrument has 48 bells, encompassing the range of four octaves and weighing five tons in total.
Klaipėda townspeople heard the new carillon inaugurate during Christmas in 2006. Ever since it has become a tradition to listen to the carillon concerts every Saturday and Sunday, during Christmas and New Year’s Eve, and to hear bells announce the Midsummer feast of St John on June 24th. Last year the latter event expanded to become the newly resumed Klaipėda Carillon Festival presented by the Klaipėda Concert Hall.
The programme of the festival consists of four concerts, which take place during the longest day of the year. The toll of carillon bells, played solo and in ensembles with other instruments and voices, soar high above the city. This sound pervades the air in the old town, but the best spot for focused listening is the courtyard of the Klaipėda Clock Museum. All concerts are filmed and screened live so that the audience may not only hear but also watch carilloneurs performing in the bell tower.
The festival will open with the “Midday Bells” concert, which starts at noon and features carilloneurs Kęstutis Kačinskas and Stanislovas Žilevičius. For more than a quarter of the century they have been loyal servants and promoters of this majestic instrument. In Kačinskas’s words, “the Klaipėda Carillon is a world-class instrument that the city and its people can be proud of.” This programme is made of works written specifically for carillon and arranged for this instrument by the performers.
“Midday Bells” will also feature percussion instruments and young percussionist Andrius Rekašius, a graduate of the Stasys Šimkus Conservatory in Klaipėda. After receiving a bachelor’s degree at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre in Vilnius last year, he currently pursues his post-graduate studies at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. “Music makes my life complete,” says Andrius who was born into a musical family and now aspires a career of a professional marimba soloist. Having recently developed an interest in composition, he will demonstrate one of his pieces during the concert.
Olesya Rostovskaya from Russia will take over the Klaipėda Carillon during the “Afternoon Bells” concert at 3 p.m. She was educated at the Moscow P. I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory, obtaining diplomas both in composition and organ performance, and pursued her studies as carilloneur at the St. Petersburg State University and the Royal Carillon School “Jef Denyn” in Mechelen, Belgium. Rostovskaya has also appeared as a performer on the theremin (an early electronic musical instrument devised almost a century ago by Russian engineer and cellist Lev Theremin) and composed a number of orchestral, chamber, vocal and choral works. As a promoter of carillon music, she devises conceptual concert programmes, which often combine carillon, electronics and improvisation. Her versatile interests are reflected in the CD “Soul of a Bell: Russian Carillon Music”.
In her concerts, Rostovskaya usually aims to create a special atmosphere, engaging the listener from the very first sound to the last. The second half of her performance in Klaipėda will feature her miracle play “The Charmed Land” – a magic ritual that mixes live performance of the carillon with the recordings of the bells of Rostov Veliky, flat bells called bilo (semantron), sounds captured from nature and folk singing from the heartlands of the composer’s home country. The work was composed for the 18th World Carillon Federation Congress in 2014 and received enthusiastic responses from the colleagues who claimed to have sensed the magic spirit of pagan Russia.
The “Evening Bells” will start ringing at 6 p.m., awakened from dreams about the mysteries of the ancient past by two guest carilloneurs from Kaunas – Giedrius Kuprevičius and Julius Vilnonis.
With almost six decades of performance practice on the instrument, Kuprevičius may be regarded as the most experienced carilloneur in Lithuania. The scope of his interests, competences and talents as a composer, teacher, writer and devout custodian of cultural traditions in his native Kaunas make him one of the leading figures in the local musical life. At this concert he will perform his composition Bells and Birds for carillon and accompanying birdsong.
Besides his regular work as a conductor at the Kaunas Musical Theatre, Julius Vilnonis has two favourite professional sidelines in playing the bells and jazz. This concert will feature his suite Mi Do Re, which he is going to perform together with jazz musicians Liutauras Janušaitis (saxophone), Paulius Vaicekauskas (bass guitar) and Ąžuolas Paulauskas (drums).
“Mi-do-re are three notes that form the seed of a theme, which oссurs in pieces of different style and temperament. These are like diverse approaches, presenting the three notes – mi, do and re – from different perspectives.”
To round off the programme, the “Night Bells” concert at 9 p.m. will bring back Stanislovas Žilevičius to the carillon, while the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra will accompany soprano Beata Ignatavičiūtė and flautist Giedrius Gelgotas, who will replace the soloist Tobias Carron (Sweden). Robertas Šervenikas, a recipient of the Lithuanian National Arts and Culture Prize, will mount the conductor’s pulpit of the orchestra, with which he has collaborated for many years.
Beata Ignatavičiūtė is a graduate of the Stasys Šimkus Conservatory in Klaipėda, currently studying for a master’s degree at the Arts Faculty of the Klaipėda University. The young singer has recently won 1st prize in the international competition “21st Century Art”, which took place in Madeira, Portugal, in February 2015.
Giedrius Gelgotas works at the Lithuanian Opera and Ballet Theatre Orchestra. He is the member and the founder of the Lithuanian Flute Quartet and the St. Christopher Woodwind Quintet.
Together with the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra he will perform Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s Flute Concerto. The sounds of strings and bells will merge beautifully in the music by Arvo Pärt.
Two works by Lithuanian composers – Dzūkian Variations by Bronius Kutavičius and Trance4Notes by Gediminas Zujus – will frame the “Night Bells” programme. The first piece is highly regarded as a symbol of modern Lithuanian identity, while the second represents a hypnotic meditation in sound. “Where something begins, something else ends, and each end is the new beginning. Life is about waving and turning in circles,” says Zujus who prepares the new version of his piece especially for the Klaipėda Carillon Festival. This work will immerse the audience in the spinning, enveloping, ever changing meditative state of mind, which anyone can perceive and experience in his or her own individual way.
“Bells ring in your towers, humble saints of the city gather in your squares, and my childhood wanders in the labyrinths of your backyards,” Lithuanian poet Algimantas Mackus once wrote. We invite everybody to the courtyard of the Klaipėda Clock Museum to enjoy a beautiful midsummer day and feel refreshing, uniting and uplifting power of sounds. Let the bells of the Klaipėda Carillon ring!

“Midday Bells”

“Afternoon Bells”

“Evening Bells”

“Night Bells”


Nowadays the sonic cityscape of Klaipėda seems unthinkable without the sound of the carillon. The Klaipėda Carillon is one of two such instruments in Lithuania, whose audible presence over the years has become the signature of the harbour city. It was mounted in the tower of the Klaipėda Post Office in 1987. Since then the annual carillon music festivals had been organised in Klaipėda until 2003.

Klaipėda‘s carillonneurs Kęstutis Kačinskas and Stanislovas Žilevičius as well as guest carillonneurs from Lithuania and other countries play this unique instrument for the citizens and visitors to admire.

Carillon address: Liepų St. 16, Klaipėda.

Tickets to the concerts of the festivals:

You can buy tickets at the ticket office (Šaulių St. 36, Klaipėda, P.: +370 46 410 566) or online. For more information, please visit: www.koncertusale.lt.

Festival repertoire:

Loreta Narvilaitė

Deputy Director for Culture 
P. +370 46 219 743
M. +370 615 64 013