Klaipėda Carillon Festival 2016

Friday 24 June 2016
Courtyard of the Klaipėda Clock Museum
(12 Liepų g., Klaipėda)


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

On June 24th, 2016, the festive toll of bells will announce the annual return of the Carillon Festival to Klaipėda. From midday till dusk the ringing of bells will be heard high above and out across the city, creating the feeling of universal harmony and reverberating with the cosmic energy.
Since time immemorial people have believed that bells were endowed with special powers. Bells often had names and were treated as living creatures with individual voices, as if they were ‘full citizens’ in the cities.
The Klaipėda Carillon has become a true landmark of the city’s soundscape. It is one of the three such instruments now existing in Lithuania, whose audible presence has turned into one of the harbour city’s most recognizable symbols. It was first mounted in the tower of the Klaipėda Central Post Office in 1987 and remained in service until 2006, when it was replaced with the new instrument manufactured by the Royal Eijsbauts Bell Foundry in Asten, the Netherlands.
The newly installed concert carillon has 48 bells, with the tonal range of four octaves and a total bell weight of about five tons, which amounts to ten tons together with the supporting frame structure. The largest bell weighs 900 kilograms.
Ever since the inauguration of the new carillon, it has become a tradition in Klaipėda to give carillon concerts every Saturday and Sunday, on Christmas and New Year’s Eve, and to hear bells announce the Midsummer feast of St John. Two years ago the latter event expanded to become the newly resumed Klaipėda Carillon Festival presented by the Klaipėda Concert Hall.
The programme of the 3rd Klaipėda Carillon Festival includes four concerts, which all take place during the longest day of the year, on June 24th. The ringing of carillon bells, played solo and together with other instruments and voices, hovers high above the city and pervades the air in the old town. But the best spot for focused listening is the courtyard of the Klaipėda Clock Museum where all concerts are screened live so that the audience may not only hear but also watch carilloneurs perform in the bell tower.
For a few days preceding the festival carillon music will be also heard in different locations around the city, inviting to the concerts of the travelling carillon that has been specially transported from Poland. These concerts will be accompanied by a travelling exhibition dedicated to the Klaipėda Carillon. On June 15th and 16th we invite you to take part in the guided tours to the tower of the Klaipėda Central Post Office where you can take a closer look at this rare instrument assisted by our knowledgeable guides.
The bells are calling!
The festival will open with the “Midday Bells” concert, starting at noon and featuring carilloneurs Kęstutis Kačinskas and Stanislovas Žilevičius. For almost three decades they have been loyal servants and promoters of this majestic instrument in Klaipėda. They have also given carillon concerts on tours in Denmark, Belgium, Germany, France, the Netherlands and the U.S., recorded carillon music for several CDs, edited scores, arranged and composed music for this instrument. At an opening concert Kačinskas and Žilevičius will perform their own compositions, along with the premieres of six new works composed by Vaida Striaupaitė-Beinarienė, Zita Bružaitė, Vytautas Germanavičius, Laima Jedenkutė, Rytis Mažulis, and Remigijus Šileika. Some of these new pieces are scored for carillon and trumpet. The sounds of trumpet in the masterful hands of Algirdas Januševičius will merge with the ringing of bells, thus paying symbolic homage to professor Julius Juzeliūnas whose centennial is being celebrated this year. One of the most prominent Lithuanian composers and music educators of the 20th century, Juzeliūnas was also a political activist who had fulfilled his civic duties by taking part in the movement for Lithuania’s independence.
The “Afternoon Bells” at 3 p.m. will feature a family duo of carilloneurs Toru Takao and Katarzyna Piastowska-Takao who have been working together since 2011 to represent and promote the carillon cultures of their native countries – Japan and Poland – and Germany where they currently reside. Both musicians are prize-winners of numerous international carillon competitions, having studied carillon performance in the Netherlands and Belgium. These countries boast not only the oldest and most reputable carillon cultures, but also the largest carillon collections in the world: at the present time there are 182 carillons in the Netherlands and 89 in Belgium, while Germany only has 45 such instruments.
For the most part of their programme, the duo will perform compositions written specifically for carillon by the Dutch, Belgian and Danish composers.
The “Evening Bells” will start ringing at 6 p.m. operated by carilloneur Monika Kaźmierczak from Poland who is to make her second appearance at the Klaipėda Carillon Festival. She has garnered several prizes at international competitions and currently pursues an active concert career with frequent appearances in the Netherlands, Denmark, France, Belgium and the United States. She teaches at the Stanisław Moniuszko State Academy of Music in Gdansk and heads the Polish Guild of Carilloneurs.
This time Kaźmierczak will be joined by the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra, under the artistic leadership of Mindaugas Bačkus. A new composition for trumpet, carillon and strings by the young composer from Klaipėda, Lina Posėčnaitė, who currently pursues composition studies in Germany, will contribute to the scarce repertoire for carillon and strings. Dancer Paulius Pinigis will accompany Kaźmierczak’s performance of music by famous British composer Michael Nyman with a piece of contemporary choreography. Calm tinkling of bells will be heard in the arrangement of Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis’ piano prelude Angelus Domini, while Kamil Cieślik’s piece will evoke the image of scintillating water fountains. A harmonious and simultaneous ensemble of bells in the tower and an orchestra in the museum’s courtyard will be entrusted to conductor Modestas Barkauskas.
As the saying goes, every time a bell rings, angels spread their wings...
The “Night Bells” starting at 9 p.m., will round off the festival programme with the performance of Lumen fidei (The Light of Faith), a remarkable cantorio by Zita Bružaitė. The work synthesizing the genres of cantata (conceived as singing) and oratorio (conceived as prayer) is imbued with the medieval spirit that makes no distinctions between faith and experiences in everyday life. Sometimes this serene music is interspersed with improvisatory interludes, reflecting the sound of modern times through the interlacing of jazz, electronic, rock, pop and crossover music styles. The composer also uses musical cryptograms, ‘secret’ codes and other symbols to convey sacred meanings. She invites her listeners to contemplate music and sense the overall flow, expression, a kaleidoscopic change of moods and colours, which imparts the light of faith, guiding our steps in life.
The performance of the cantorio calls for the joint forces of the Jauna Muzika Choir, the Protuberus Brass Ensemble and numerous soloists, including countertenor Piotr Olech (Poland), bass Liudas Mikalauskas, saxophonist Jan Maksimovič, percussionistArkadijus Gotesmanas and carilloneur Austėja Staniunaitytė who appears to be the first woman in the country to present programmes of carillon music. Vaclovas Augustinas, a renowned conductor and composer, artistic director of the Jauna Muzika Choir, will be in charge of concord between voices and instruments.
Let the bells of the Klaipėda Carillon ring!