Friday 1 April, 6 pm
“Winds of Youth”
In spring, one often takes a moment to breathe in some fresh air and rejuvenate. The programme “Winds of Youth,” prepared by the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra, will provide such opportunity. Young Lithuanian performers, appearing next to the orchestra, are well on their way to international renown. Last year pianist Robertas Lozinskis came first in the International M. K. Čiurlionis Piano Competition in Vilnius and the Sheepdrove Piano Competition in the UK. Conductor Giedrė Šlekytė stepped in the spotlight of attention as the finalist of the Malko Competition for young conductors in Denmark and Nestlé & Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award, Austria. “In the world of classical music there is much greater reward than flowers and applause. Each time I discover scores anew and get fascinated with them. I feel so privileged to be able to read the genius of the great composers behind the notes. I firmly believe in their genius and feel the necessity to bring their music alive,” said the young conductor in one of her recent interviews.
This time the listeners will be able to appreciate their art of interpretation in the performances of works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Erich Wolfgang Korngold.
Thursday 7 April, 6 pm
“In the Stream of Sounds”
Baroque music, adorned with melodies of the oboe and the oboe d’amore, will flow with arresting delicacy at a concert “In the Stream of Sounds” presented by St Christopher Chamber Orchestra of Vilnius Municipality. Lithuanian-born oboist Andrius Puskunigis, who was eulogised by the French press as a magician of the oboe, will visit Klaipėda Concert Hall for the first time. Together with his wife, harpsichordist Celine Scibetta-Puskunigis, and St Christopher Chamber Orchestra under the artistic leadership and baton of Donatas Katkus, he will perform solo in the works by Georg Philipp Telemann and Johann Sebastian Bach.
“Experienced and flexible as an orchestra leader, Katkus revealed some astonishingly beautiful things. He aims to achieve the quality of sound by highlighting each instrument and attending to every musical phrase until the end. Most conductors are usually happy with accurate execution of rhythm and tempo markings, without bothering to enact their musical imagination. Katkus is quite a different story: images, arising from his aesthetic concepts, are embodied in orchestral sound effortlessly and with natural flow,” responded the French reviewer to the Orchestra’s appearance at Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris last autumn.
Wednesday 13 April, 6 pm
“Songs of the Plains”
The programme “Songs of the Plains” presented by the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra will continue the series of events dedicated to the centennial of birth of Julius Juzeliūnas, one of the greatest Lithuanian composers, educators, and political activists in the second half of the 20th century. His life and work left an indelible mark in Lithuania’s post-war history.
Among the highlights of this programme are Juzeliūnas’s Concerto for violin, organ and string orchestra and his Symphony No. 5 “Songs of the Plains,” in which violinist Džeraldas Bidva and organist Karolina Juodelytė will join the orchestra as soloists.
Making her debut at the Klaipėda Concert Hall, conductor Adrija Čepaitė will not only stand at the helm of the reputable Orchestra, but also conduct the Liepaitės Girls’ Choir. “Conducting is a dialogue between the conductor and performers, which is meant to affect the audience. It is up to a conductor to grasp and fulfil the sensibilities of musicians. I am very glad when this dialogue occurs once and again,” said the conductor who has graduated from the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz (Austria) a few years ago, obtaining a diploma in orchestral conducting. In her words, “For me, Lithuania is not only sweet home, but also an opportunity.”
Friday 15 April, 6 pm
“Landscapes of the Baltic Sea”
The Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic (BYP) was formed in 2008 as a multinational orchestra that unites finest young musicians from ten countries of the Baltic Sea region including Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Russia. Guided by Founding Conductor and Music Director Kristjan Järvi, BYP gathers for rehearsals several times a year to prepare original programmes for international tours.
For its first tour, the orchestra takes its specially-themed “Baltic Sea Landscapes” programme to Klaipėda and other sea ports along the Baltic coast. The programme features repertoire that portrays the sea, nature and landscapes, including Arvo Pärt’s Swansong, Igor Stravinsky’s Firebird suite, Jean Sibelius’s Karelia Suite, and Gediminas Gelgotas’s Mountains. Waters. (Freedom). World-renowned Russian pianist Alexander Toradze joins the orchestra for the tour as soloist to perform Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto. Kristjan Järvi explained: “The tour takes us through a journey of Baltic Sea ports, bringing the environment into focus, with pieces that come from the area and are written by composers who have been inspired by nature. The whole mentality and way of being of the region is formed by nature, which is why you have these great composers.”
Tuesday 19 April, 6 pm
“Passions of Love in the Opera”
Passions of love will be unleashed at a concert presented by the soloists and symphony orchestra of the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre (LNOBT). Soprano Viktorija Miškūnaitė,mezzo-soprano Jovita Vaškevičiūtė and tenor Tomas Pavilionis will perform arias and duets from the well-known operas. By means of singing and acting they will tell stories about the relationships and affairs of the heart experienced by different operatic characters.
The programme “Passions of Love in the Opera” will be conducted by Robertas Šervenikas, who has been lauded by the critics for thorough and convincing interpretations of classical and contemporary repertoire. Along with operatic highlights, this programme also features an excerpt from Onutė Narbutaitė’s opera Cornet that received several Lithuania’s highest theatre awards (Golden Cross of the Stage) last year and most favourable responses from the public and critics alike, who generally described it as a “breathtakingly beautiful spectacle.” Two singers featured in the programme were also commended for their roles in this opera: Pavilionis, who sang the title role, “wearing Harry Potter’s glasses” (according to opera director Gintaras Varnas), was awarded LNOBT’s Best Opera Soloist Prize, while Vaškevičiūtė, who enacted luxurious Countess and Marquis, was nominated for the Golden Cross of the Stage.
Friday 22 April, 6 pm
“The Epitaph for the Passing of Time”
Modestas Pitrėnas took up his appointment as the artistic director and chief conductor of the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra in autumn 2015. With broad and expressive gestures he will command the united forces of the Orchestra and the Kaunas State Choir (which make up to 150 performers in total) in the performance of Bronius Kutavičius’s Epitaphium temporum pereunti. This remarkable work depicts four momentous events in the cultural and spiritual history of Lithuania: the establishment of Vilnius, the opening of the Vilnius University, the martyrdom of Lithuanian citizens who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of their country, and the reconsecration of the Vilnius Cathedral. Originality of Kutavičius’s artistic vision has been recognized by awarding him the Lithuanian National Arts and Culture Prize in 1995. In 2012, the same prestigious prize was awarded to Pitrėnas, who continues to assert that his “wildly captivating and never boring creative occupation” has never let him down.
Music by Hector Berlioz will stand in contrast with the Lithuanian part of the programme. Mezzo-soprano Eglė Šidlauskaitė will sing solo part in Berlioz’s cantata The Death of Cleopatra. “My most ambitious plan for the future is improvement,” admits Šidlauskaitė who applies her experience in foreign productions during her return appearances at home.
Tuesday 26 April, 6 pm
“The Singing Violin”
In this concert, presented by the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra, you will have a chance to listen to the singing violinist from Russia, Dmitry Sinkovsky. Having mastered the Baroque violin technique and repertoire, the virtuoso violinist often surprises his audiences by starting to sing with his unique countertenor voice, or to conduct. He graduated from the prestigious Moscow Conservatory where he currently teaches violin and viola. He has won prizes at numerous international competitions and performed on extensive tours in Russia, Europe, Canada and the U. S. In 2011, he founded La Voce Strumentale ensemble in Moscow and currently collaborates with major Baroque music orchestras in Europe. For the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra, which has dedicated much effort to polish Baroque playing techniques through the initiative of its artistic director Mindaugas Bačkus in recent years, rehearsals and appearance with Sinkovsky offer a most rewarding and inspiring opportunity to expand knowledge of this exciting repertoire.
Thursday 28 April, 6 pm
“The Rite of Spring”
The festival will close with the appearance of the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra under the baton of its artistic director and chief conductor Gintaras Rinkevičius. As he has once described his mission as a conductor: “What is the conductor for, if he merely stands in front of the orchestra, with his back facing the audience, and waves his arms, disturbing the pleasure of listening to music? Conductor is not there to make musicians play together; he is there to create a character for the orchestra.”
The Rite of Spring is a ballet and an orchestral concert work composed by Igor Stravinsky in 1913. The avant-garde nature of the music and choreography caused a near-riot at the ballet’s premiere in Paris. When the work was performed as a concert piece a year later in St. Petersburg, it was a triumph. The Rite of Spring had a stunning effect on the audience who could not accept the novelty of this music. The work has a subtitle “Pictures of Pagan Russia in Two Parts” and uses several melodies of Lithuanian folk songs as its material.
The solo part in Maurice Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand will be performed by renowned Latvian pianist with Lithuanian surname, Vestards Šimkus. “At heart, my only mistress is music,” confessed Ravel who is regarded as one of the greatest innovators in the piano literature. Ravel was also fervently interested in Greek antiquity, mythology, exotic cultures, nature, and childhood.
Let us greet and celebrate spring! Let us draw inspiration and energy from the magnificent masterpieces of classical music!