Thursday 29 March, 6.30 pmA concert to mark the centenary of the restored independence in the Baltic States“The Baltic Chant”
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia stroke new paths as independent states 100 years ago. To commemorate this turning point in our modern history, we will open our 2018 festival with the programme “The Baltic Chant,” featuring works by composers from all three Baltic States performed by musicians from across the Baltics. The Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra will become the binding thread, running through the entire programme. The Orchestra’s artistic director, Mindaugas Bačkus, and the leader of the cello section, Gleb Pyšniak, will appear solo in Arvydas Malcys’ Concerto grosso. Incidentally, the composer happens to be the cellist himself.
A distinguished Latvian pianist and composer, Vestards Šimkus, who has Lithuanian roots, will perform solo in his own Piano Concerto.
Estonia will be represented by the composer whose name has become synonymous with the country‘s musical culture. In the performance of Arvo Pärt’s Te Deum, the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra will be joined by the Šiauliai State Choir “Polifonija” (led by Tomas Ambrozaitis). The whole Baltic programme was entrusted to renowned Estonian conductor Andres Mustonen whose extensive concertizing has helped build bridges not only between the three Baltic States but also between different peoples around the world.
Last year Donatas Katkus, founder and long-standing artistic director of St Christopher Chamber Orchestra, passed his position at the helm of the orchestra over to his younger colleague, Modestas Barkauskas. The latter soon proved his competence and fulfilled expectations by winning the Bronze baton at the Grzegorz Fitelberg International Competition for Conductor in Poland.
This time the stands of Mr. Barkauskas and the orchestra members will be reserved solely for Lithuanian music. For many years the orchestra has been praised for respectful collaboration with and commitment to Lithuanian composers. For music lives only when it is being played.
The programme “We Create for Lithuania” presents a broad retrospective of Lithuanian music – from the living classic, in the person of 80-year-old Osvaldas Balakauskas, to Rytis Juškaitis who has just embarked on his composition studies in the UK.
The stunning pieces by Raminta Šerkšnytė and Gintaras Sodeika will feature saxophonist and composer Liudas Mockūnas as a soloist with the orchestra. According to Jūratė Kučinskaitė, his name “stands for masterly performance and compositional contrivance.” Among other works, there will be also a piece by Dominykas Digimas, a young composer whose pieces have garnered three prizes at the Best Works of the Year 2017 Awards.
The experienced “Kaskados” Piano Trio will join St Christopher Chamber Orchestra in the performance of Loreta Narvilaitė’s composition, in which “the pulsing stream of sounds, thrusting its way forwards and upwards, dispels clouds above the city of industrial sadness…”
For one night the festival will lure its listeners with “Italian Desserts.” A country, stretching from the snow-capped peaks of the Alps to the sandy beaches along the Adriatic coast, is not only known worldwide for its cuisine, fashion, design and architecture, but also for its centuries-old rich musical culture. A representative of this culture, violinist Domenico Nordio, will come to Lithuania to demonstrate his outstanding proficiency and beguiling Southern temperament in front of the audience at the Klaipėda Concert Hall together with his stage partners – members of the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra.
Born in the vicinity of Venice, Nordio was a child prodigy, having started his concert career at a very young age. Now appearing at the world’s most prestigious concert halls with major orchestras and leading conductors, he won Grand Prix of the 1988 “Eurovision” competition for young performers, which brought him international fame. He is signed to the Sony Music Group, which releases all of his recordings.
This concert offers a delectable selection of Italian music, including ornate Baroque concerti by Antonio Vivaldi, virtuoso Romantic pieces by Niccolò Paganini and ever popular film music by Nino Rota.
Friday 13 April, 6.30 pm
A concert to mark 100 years of restored Latvia
Latvia is Lithuania’s nearest neighbour, a country with which we share quite a few similar experiences in the past, interests in the present, and goals in the future. We will mark the centenary of Latvia’s restored independence with special concert “Northern Lights,” featuring some of the most frequent exponents of Latvia’s classical music scene – the Liepāja Symphony Orchestra and the State Choir “Latvija.”
For several years now the Klaipėda Concert Hall has nurtured close cooperation with the Liepāja Symphony Orchestra by exchanging programmes and developing joint projects. The history of this outstanding orchestra began as early as in 1881, when the first Philharmonic was established in the Baltic countries. Since last autumn Lithuanian conductor Gintaras Rinkevičius has been appointed its chief conductor.
The State Choir “Latvija” will give its first performance at the Klaipėda Concert Hall. It is currently one of the brightest beacons in Latvian music scene, much lauded for spreading the light of Latvian choral culture around the world. The largest professional choral collective in the Baltic countries, the State Choir “Latvija” celebrated its 75th anniversary last year. In this concert, an all-Latvian programme will be conducted by the Choir’s artistic director and one of the leading Latvian conductors, Māris Sirmais. He is the 11-time winner of Latvia’s supreme music prize – the Grand Music Award.
The programme presents two large-scale works: Imants Kalniņš’s Symphony No. 7 and Ēriks Ešenvalds’s Northern Lights. The latter is written for choir, symphony orchestra and multimedia and explores the phenomenon of northern lights, or, more precisely, attempts at its sonic counterpart. Have you ever heard the sound of the northern lights? This concert might help you find this out.
Wednesday 18 April, 6.30 pm
The Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra (LSSO), under the artistic leadership of its founding chief conductor, Gintaras Rinkevičius, will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year. Founded at the peak of the “Sąjūdis“ activity, the Orchestra’s development ran parallel to Lithuania’s restored independence. It is no coincidence that at the outset it was given the title of the Youth Symphony Orchestra, possibly with reference to the young state, young musicians, young conductor, and high expectations. Even though it was granted the title of the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra three years later, juvenescence remained among its most recognizable features up to this day.
In concert “The Beauty and Power of Music,” the LSSO will appear alongside two young and gifted soloists – Milda Tūbelytė (mezzo-soprano) and Joana Daunytė (harp). What is fascinating about both of them is not only beauty and polished musicianship, but also particular diligence. Tūbelytė now lives in Germany where she has already appeared in 28 roles in 24 opera productions – all during the period of five years! – at the opera theatres of Braunschweig, Erfurt, Karlsruhe, Oldenburg and Kiel. Joana Daunytė is frequently seen perform in various music festivals in Lithuania and elsewhere, take part in chamber programmes and join various Lithuanian orchestras.
The repertoire for harp as a solo instrument with the orchestra is rather scarce. For this particular reason, Concerto for harp and orchestra by Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera will be a true find. The first half of the concert will feature arias from the operas by Mozart, Gounod and Massenet, while the second half will offer immersion into the depths of Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony.
Friday 20 April, 6.30 pm
Lithuania and Poland have a long history of cross-cultural collaboration. The appearance of Lithuanian violinist Dalia Kuznecovaitė with the Sinfonia Varsovia orchestra will serve as a remarkable example of such collaboration among the two nations.
Sinfonia Varsovia was founded in 1984. Yehudi Menuhin was among its founders and initiators, with whom the orchestra had toured around the globe. Over the years, the Orchestra has appeared on tour in most of Europe, the United States, Japan and New Zealand. Krzysztof Penderecki, one of the most influential among the living Polish composers, has been a major driving force behind the Orchestra’s activities. Since 2003 he has been the Orchestra’s artistic director and conductor.
This year Penderecki turns 85, while Poland, like Lithuania, celebrates its 100th anniversary as an independent state. To mark this occasion the Orchestra from the neighbouring country will bring as a gift a wreath of the most beautiful pieces from the treasury of their national and Western European musical culture. Among the featured pieces one will have a mixed origin. Grażyna Bacewicz, a distinguished Polish composer and violinist, was born into a mixed Polish-Lithuanian family. Her brother, Vytautas Bacevičius, identified himself as Lithuanian and became one of the most prominent Lithuanian composers during the interwar period. Whereas Grażyna Bacewicz is considered the first female composer to have joined the ranks of the most famous Polish artists.
The programme “Warsaw Symphony” will also include the Violin Concerto by Polish Romantic composer Henryk Wieniawski, featuring Dalia Kuznecovaitė as a soloist. This young Lithuanian violinist is prize-winner of several important international competitions and currently appears as the first violin with the Vilnius String Quartet. On the conductor’s podium we will see young and buoyant Dawid Runtz, prize-winner of several international competitions as a conductor and composer.
Friday 27 April, 6.30 pm
The Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra (LNSO) has the privilege to appear at the festival’s closing concert this year. Returning to Klaipėda several times each year and giving an average of 50 concerts per year, the LNSO nurtures long-established traditions which started almost eight decades ago, in 1940. The Orchestra makes notable contribution to the advancement of classical music culture in Lithuania by stimulating and encouraging artistic output by Lithuanian composers and musicians and catering to the public demand for orchestral music, be it large-scale symphonic works or orchestral miniatures.
This programme has a prominent Latvian thread: cellist Marta Sudraba will perform solo in Pēteris Vasks’s Presence. Last spring this internationally acclaimed musician was member of the jury during the 1st Klaipėda Cello Competition. This year she returns as a soloist in the programme “The Magic of the Cello Sound.”
Georg Mark will mount the podium of the LNSO as a guest conductor. Austrian conductor is sometimes called a philosopher in music, because besides conducting he also pursued studies in musicology, philosophy and psychology. His special concern is the combination of new developments in modern performance practice with the Viennese tradition. For this particular reason he chose to conduct Brahms’s First Symphony in this programme.
It took Brahms at least fourteen years to complete his first symphony that was memorably tagged “Beethoven’s Tenth” by German conductor and pianist Hans von Bülow after its premiere in Vienna. Brahms complained: “You can’t have any idea what it’s like always to hear such a giant marching behind you!” Although also taking note of the Beethoven parallels, celebrated Austrian music critic Eduard Hanslick saw Brahms as the rightful heir to the musical legacy of Beethoven and lauded the composition as “one of the most individual and magnificent works of the symphonic literature, an inexhaustible fountain of deep pleasure and fruitful study.”