On June 25th the series will open with the concert titled, quite symbolically, “Overture to the New Age.” The forceful sound of the Lithuanian Army Orchestra under its artistic director ad conductor Egidijus Ališauskas will soar above the park and the Šaulių (Riflemen) street. Tadas Česnauskis (trumpet) and Tomas Kulikauskas (marimba), former students of the Klaipėda Stasys Šimkus Conservatory, will appear as soloists. You are very likely to meet even more former Klaipėdians in this orchestra. Energetic playing and gorgeous appearance of the uniformed musicians will transport us back in time to the interwar years, reminding of the wind orchestras playing on weekends in the parks.
It seems that the electrifying “Summer Jazz in the Park” on July 2nd will steal the show from the birds, at least for a while. The winged concert-goers will join the public and listen to the jazz ensemble formed ad hoc by the renowned masters of jazz and classical music, including Raimondas Sviackevičius (accordion), Arnoldas Gurinavičius (this time, unexpectedly, on keyboards), Vytis Nivinskas (double bass) and Saulius Astrauskas (percussion) – the ensemble’s spiritus movens. Popular jazz tunes by George Gershwin, Herbie Hancock, Duke Ellington and many others will stream in colourful improvisations and flourish in the luxurious binding of intricate rhythms. The isles of mellifluous music will provide precious moments of respite, before the briskly swinging passage comes back into play and disturbs the calm waltzing on the horizons of one’s dreams.
The July 6th concert “Only because of Lithuania… only because of our homeland...” will mark the festive occasion of Lithuania’s Statehood Day and the coronation of King Mindaugas. Under the luxuriant foliage of age-old trees, the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra and its artistic director Mindaugas Bačkus together with violinist Zigmantas Brazauskas will perform the programme of works by Lithuanian composers including Juozas Naujalis, Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis, Balys Dvarionas, Bronius Kutavičius, Feliksas Bajoras and Arūnas Navakas. Actor Vytautas Paukštė of the Klaipėda Drama Theatre will recite the inspirational passages from verse dramas Mažvydas and Mindaugas by Justinas Marcinkevičius.
“It is by force that I made to obey my orders. So let it be written that I… that I loved no one… But this should also be added: I did so only because of Lithuania, only because of our homeland… And you must add that she and I seemed to have no other… no other way…. That I was a mere instrument in her hands… That I loved her alone… Lithuania… Her alone… For this I might be understood… for this I might be forgotten…” (excerpt from the Mindaugas)
The “Evening Piano Recital,” presented by Petras Geniušas on July 9th, will bring back romantic moods. “A true artist feels no lack of inspiration,” Geniušas says. “He possesses that permanent urge to create. The inspiration befalls you as soon as you wake up in the morning. You see the keyboard and you want to play on it. Sometimes it happens even without seeing the piano. The inspiration comes when you put your hands to work, not when you sit and wait.” The charismatic pianist and winner of the Lithuanian National Arts and Culture prize is renowned for his musical versatility and adventurous character, appearing not only at the reputable venues, but also in various unexpected roles and places.
Isn’t it tempting to listen to the sounds of the piano under the starry vault of the summer night? Especially, when the programme offers the encounter with the music by Frédéric Chopin, Robert Schumann and Franz Liszt? According to Geniušas, “these three coevals born 200 years ago contrived a real breakthrough in the history of pianism, endowing the piano with enormous power that it possesses today.” The programme will also include Abendmusik from Schumann’s piano cycle Bunte Blätter, Op. 99. Last year Geniušas saw the release of his new featuring Schumann’s piano works, which has been recorded at the Klaipėda Concert Hall.
“A Musical Bridge Between Boston and Klaipėda” will connect Lithuania and the United States across the Atlantic on July 16th. The Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra will share the stage with three violinists: Dana Pomerancaitė-Mazurkevichand Yuri Mazurkevich from Boston (USA) and Martynas Švėgžda von Bekker who has been a frequent guest in Klaipėda for the past few years. The soloists will appear by turns in the concertos for one, two and three violins by Antonio Vivaldi, Johann Sebastian Bach, Jean-Marie Leclair and Arnold Malcolm.
Dana Pomerancaitė-Mazurkevich is a prominent Lithuanian-born violinist and violin teacher. After graduating from the Moscow Conservatory together with Yuri Mazurkevich, she garnered prizes at the international competitions and appeared at numerous concerts as a soloist, recitalist and chamber musician.
A few years ago Martynas Švėgžda von Bekker was granted the Fulbright scholarship which gave him an opportunity to reside in the U.S. and work at the Boston University for one year.
In July all three musicians will lecture at the master courses for young violinists who will also compete for the possibility to appear with the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra in concert.
The musically-gifted youth will also appear alongside mature musicians at the family concert “Aukuras and Kids” on July 23rd. The Klaipėda Aukuras Choir under its artistic director Alfonsas Vildžiūnas organised a showcase for their children, with the participation of pianist Saulius Šiaučiulis and guitarist Viktoras Timašiovas. The programme offers diverse delights: from solo numbers to family appearances and from serious music to quite unserious escapades. The public will have no chance to yawn; it will be encouraged to join the choir accompanied by jazz musicians and casual rustle of leaves in the park.
On August 6th the Klaipėda Brass Quintet will team up with tenor Deivydas Norvilas (Deivis), pianist Saulius Šiaučiulis and percussionist Viačeslavas Krasnopiorovas for the programme “Hail America.”
Born and raised in Klaipėda, Norvilas admits that his most recent musical obsession is the popular music of America. He studied at the Klaipėda Stasys Šimkus Conservatory and obtained a diploma in vocal performance from the Lithuanian Academy of Music. Now he manages to successfully combine his activities as a performer of both classical and pop music, in addition to hosting of TV shows. He says: “Everything I do, I do it one hundred per cent. If I have a role to play in a performance, I give of myself entirely. If I sing – the same thing. If I host a TV programme, I try to do the best I can. I am so lucky that my work and hobbies coincide; this is my greatest privilege.”
The Klaipėda Brass Quintet consists of Vilmantas Bružas (artistic director, trumpet), Alius Maknavičius (trumpet), Algirdas Ulteravičius (horn), Steponas Sugintas (trombone) and Jurgis Dargis (tuba). The programme “Hail America” features the arrangements (by Rimantas Giedraitis) of popular tunes by Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin, Charlie Chaplin, Richard Rodgers, John Kander and other American composers.
The last concert in the series will waft gently and swiftly “Like a summer breeze.” On August 13th the Klaipėda Concert Hall will invite to close summer concert series with an appearance of Klaipėda Choir Aukuras, conducted by Alfonsas Vildžiūnas and accompanied by Aušra Valentienė (keyboard). Apart from the Swedish folk songs which gave title to this concert, we will also hear the wind blowing in the piece by Zita Bružaitė. We will chant a hymn to the music by Jonas Tamulionis and then make a love confession together with Faustas Strolia. Piece by piece the darkness will fall on the park and close the gates for the summer music. We will be left with a Chaplinesque smile to wait until the beginning of autumn…