Celebrating the Centenary of Restored Lithuania with Music

Penktadienis 12 sausio 2018 13:47

Our roster of events slated for January and February 2018 boasts an impressive array of exclusive projects, starting with concerts commemorating the momentous events in our country’s history and featuring distinguished works and performers, and ending with concerts held in some of the most unexpected places. We sincerely hope that both experienced concert goers and the little ones will find something to their liking.


Wednesday 10 January, 6.30 pm
“A virtuoso duo”

Two distinguished pianists, Kasparas Uinskas and Evgeni Bozhanov, most frequently perform as soloists but several years ago they decided to prepare a programme as a piano duo. This idea proved highly successful and they continued to appear together, drawing accolades from the audience in various Lithuanian venues. Very soon the audience in Klaipėda will have yet another opportunity to witness a lively creative dialogue involving two uniquely talented and equally adept partners. Their appearance in concert will close the week of recording sessions at the Klaipėda Concert Hall, during which they attempted to commit the works by Prokofiev, Rachmaninov and Ravel to their new disc.

Critics praise Bozhanov’s ability “to produce more nuances of tone in a measure of music than most pianists find in a lifetime” (Scott Cantrell of Dallas Morning News), while Uinskas is lauded for having “all the ingredients of a great pianist and musician” (New York Concert Review) and playing “with a breathtaking sensitivity that was absolutely magical” (Seen and Heard International). But what do you thing about this virtuoso duo? We invite you to attend this concert and form your own opinion. Even more so if you did not have a chance to hear them live before.


Friday 12 January, 6.30 pm
“A passion for improvisation”

A week of master classes for the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra is taking place in the beginning of January and will traditionally close with a concert. The Orchestra’s artistic director Mindaugas Bačkus this time resolved to step over the border of classical music and seek out new experiences by acquiring more first-hand competence with improvisation and jazz music. To achieve this and prepare a new programme the Orchestra invited Vladimir Chekasin – a colourful and unique personality, earning worldwide renown for his pioneering work as a jazz saxophonist, composer, teacher and inexhaustible fountainhead of energy and innovative ideas in improvised music. According to Bačkus, “he is a living legend who has already secured a place in the world’s music history by creating his self-made philosophy of music performance and communication through music. We wished he could share his philosophy and experience with us and put his unique concept of music making into words.”

Chekasin is a guru of Lithuanian avant-garde jazz, an exceptionally seminal teacher who has had immediate or mediated influence on many Lithuanian jazz musicians. These also include his own daughter, Anna Chekasina, who now lives in Moscow and is active as jazz violinist. She will also appear in concert expressly entitled “A passion for improvisation.”

Friday 19 January
“Puzzle for Orchestra 4”

A fourth programme in the “Puzzle for Orchestra” series presented by the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra is going to be quite extraordinary. Firstly, it will be performed in short concerts that will be held at different times and different places around the town. The Orchestra will be divided up, like a jigsaw, into several chamber ensembles that will appear at the Coffee House “Kavos Architektai”, at the Ieva Simonaitytė Public Library, at the LCC International University, at the “Impuls” Sports and Wellness Center, at the “Pegasas” book store (“Akropolis” Shopping and Entertainment Center), and at the Chapel of St Francis of Assisi. Every piece will fall into its place, forming a jigsaw puzzle according to the plan ingeniously conceived by the Orchestra’s artistic director Mindaugas Bačkus, which will extend in time from early morning to late evening and will be heard in quite unexpected places. This way the Orchestra aims to build its fan base among those people who are not frequent visitors of the concert halls and assemble the Orchestra’s jigsaw puzzle together with its listeners.


Wednesday 24 January, 12 noon and 6.30 pm
Family Concert
“The Orchestra of Playful Music in Concert with Mary Poppins!”

We have good news for you: the educational programme “The Orchestra of Playful Music in Concert with Mary Poppins,” which was first presented two years ago to a great public acclaim, is back by public demand. This musical performance for the whole family is based on the stories by Pamela L. Travers and Maksim Dunayevsky’s music written for the Russian film Mary Poppins, Goodbye.

We dedicate this performance to all family members, since moms and dads of today grew up listening to the songs from the music to this film. Many current moms wished they were as elegant as Mary Poppins when they grow up. Quite a few dreamt about having a dress, an umbrella or a handbag like hers…

Catchy tunes reveal a host of colourful emotions in the performance of singing actors Evelina Šimelionė and Donatas Želvys, director and actress Laima Akstinaitė (from the Klaipėda Youth Theatre) and the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra. Mary Poppins will give her ridiculous instructions to children and do her magic on stage. We will be compelled to admire the wisdom and good looks of this ‘Lady Perfection,’ and return home full of benign feelings and memories.

Thursday 25 January, 6.30 pm
“Baltic freedom”
A concert to mark the centenary of restored independence in the Baltic states

You can’t take raise show feed or water it
It is not in joyous songs, slogans and odes
But rather in our sighs
That it can be seen and heard

Justinas Marcinkevičius, Freedom

Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are like three sisters who happened to turn over a new leaf in their history and start afresh as sovereign states one hundred years ago. They are intimately connected not only via the Baltic Sea, the Baltic Way or through the century-old tradition of song and dance celebrations that has been inscribed on the UNESCO representative list of the intangible culture heritage of humanity. Their unity is also being continuously reinstated through active collaboration between concert institutions and individual artists.

The programme “Baltic freedom” notably features works written by composers from the three Baltic states. Perhaps the most curious feature of this programme is the world premiere of Here at the quiet limit, a new piece by Justė Janulytė, who has been recently announced among the winners of the Lithuanian National Arts and Culture Prize. Other featured works include compositions by Erkki-Sven Tüür and Pēteris Vasks who are currently numbered among the most famous household names in Estonia and Latvia. Just as a matter of curiosity, Vasks studied in Vilnius and therefore speaks fluent Lithuanian. This unique Baltic programme is presented by the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, the Estonian National Male Choir and soloists. A concert at the Klaipėda Concert Hall will be the first stop on the route of the “Baltic freedom” throughout the Baltic states. The project will move on to Kaunas, Vilnius and Tallinn.


Wednesday 31 January, 6.30 pm
a hymn to love”

Just before celebrating its 29th anniversary the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra, under the artistic leadership and the baton of its founder and chief conductor Gintaras Rinkevičius, will treat the audience in Klaipėda to an outstanding orchestral masterpiece of the twentieth century – Olivier Messiaen’s Turangalîla Symphony. Written in ten movements, which usually run around 80 minutes in length, this remarkable work affords a religious dimension to the theme of human love. It is a hymn to irresistible and all-embracing love that is fatally intertwined with death – it showcases stepping over the boundaries of body and mind, merging with the endless universe. Messiaen derived the title from two Sanskrit words, turanga and lîla, which roughly translate as a “passage of time, movement and rhythm” and “play,” possibly referring to the acts of divine creation, play of life and death. Thus, according to the composer, Turangalîla is a “love song and hymn of joy, time, movement, rhythm, life, and death.”

The piano part in this magnificent symphony will be entrusted to virtuoso pianist Alexander Paley. Currently sharing his time between Paris and New York, this Moldovan-born pianist has more than once expressed his fondness for our country. He is also one of the long-term companions of Gintaras Rinkevičius and the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra. He will be joined by another pianist – Bruno Perrault – who will perform solo part on a unique instrument, the ondes Martenot. This early electronic instrument sounds almost exotic nowadays and is rarely used in concerts. It will be brought especially for this occasion from France.


Friday 2 February, 6.30 pm, at the Ground Floor Foyer
“Sing, my soul”

 The programme “Sing, my soul” features a selection of operatic arias and chamber pieces performed by soprano Viktorija Miškūnaitė and baritone Eugenijus Chrebtovas. Both singers currently perform leading roles in the recent productions of the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre. Being recently awarded the title of the Best Opera Soloist of the Year 2015 and the Golden Cross of the Stage in the category of the best opera singer in 2016, Miškūnaitė can also pride herself on quite a few leading lyric soprano roles in her repertoire and polished dramatic skills, not to mention experience gained at the international competitions and master classes. She has always had a burning desire to become a singer.

Born in the Ukraine, Eugenijus Chrebtovas once confessed that he feels best in Lithuania, where his home is. He sees an ideal singer in the one who is capable of being absolutely honest with himself, an open-minded and conscientious professional. In terms of professional achievements, he has likewise a solid and extensive experience as an opera singer.

Pianist Darius Mažintas, who will accompany singers in this concert, says “it will feature a selection of arias from well-known operas, vocal pieces by Lithuanian composers, and a set of four Lieder by Richard Strauss, which he had dedicated to his future wife as a wedding present. We have also included a satirical song cycle by Vytautas Barkauskas about the rabbit and other animals.”


Wednesday 7 February, 6.30 pm, at the Ground Floor Foyer
“Piano Revolutionaries”

 Five composers and their lifelong work have defined the way we understand piano music today and still enjoy the sound of this instrument. In this programme, young pianists Julija Bagdonavičiūtė and Živilė Kudirkaitė focus on the music by five piano revolutionaries who managed to overthrow the then view of the piano as a ‘percussive’ instrument and turn it into the one capable of producing nuanced cantabile sounds, reproducing subtle emotions and endowed with tonal variety reminiscent of a full orchestra. “Piano Revolutionaries” features works by Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Liszt, Sergei Prokofiev, Sergei Rachmaninov and Claude Debussy.

Julija and Živilė are laureates of the Klaipėda Piano Masters Summer Academy that was held for the first time last summer in Klaipėda. Julija currently studies at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre in Vilnius and at the University of Music Franz Liszt in Weimar, while Živilė studies at the Music Academy of the Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas. Both pianists have already garnered prizes at international piano competitions, taken part in master classes and been active as soloists.


Friday 9 February, 6.30 pm
“A Feast of the Guitars”

“This time we shall ‘celebrate’ the guitar,” announced Mindaugas Bačkus, artistic director of the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra, introducing the most recent programme in the new series he had initiated a few years ago, with an aim to showcase solo instruments in combination with the chamber orchestra. Time has come for the guitar – one of the most ancient, popular and versatile string instruments – that still makes hearts beat stronger worldwide.

“A Feast of the Guitar” showcases both recognised guitar masters, which notably include the Baltic Guitar Quartet, and emerging young performers. Works featured in the programme will be performed on various types of the guitar, from the acoustic to the electric, the latter variety to be demonstrated by Eugenijus Jonavičius and Tomas Varnagiris. Part of the programme consists of compositions written by guitarists. These, for instance, include Chris Ruebens of the Baltic Guitar Quartet. Another half features well-known pieces that have been specially arranged for guitar and chamber orchestra.

Almost everybody can learn to play simple melodies and chords to accompany singing on this instrument and thus try to express oneself through music. But it is only in the hands of professional performers that the guitar reveals its full potential as a concert instrument. “A Feast of the Guitar” will try to reassert the instrument’s unique versatility. You are most welcome to take part and hear for yourself!

Friday 23 February, 6.30 pm, at the Ground Floor Foyer
“Before You Vanish”

Best known to the music lovers in his native Lithuania and further afield for his remarkable appearances with the orchestras, live recitals and recorded performances, pianist Gabrielius Alekna sets out to explore the genre of vocal chamber music, in which he will accompany an experienced singer, Darynn Zimmer, who is his fellow New Yorker and Juilliard graduate, actively engaged as an opera and chamber singer, recording artist, producer and educator. The programme “Before You Vanish” was named after the song by the composer they both admire – French impressionist Claude Debussy whose centennial anniversary of death we will celebrate this year. His music presents a delectable blend of symbolist imagery and ephemeral impressionist colours, a surprising combination of thrilling freedom in the use of expressive means and well-thought-out formal design. The programme consists of art songs and solo piano works by Debussy’s precursors Gabriel Fauré, Robert Schumann and Hugo Wolf, as well as by American composers, from the late Leonard Bernstein (marking the centennial of his birth) to the living composers Ricky Ian Gordon and Lori Laitman, of Lithuanian heritage, whose works will be given European premieres.

Wednesday 28 February, 12 noon and 6.30 pm
Family Concert
“The Orchestra of Playful Music. Episode 22: The Sound of Music”

Quite a few songs from this musical have long become standards known by heart among the lovers of the genre. It has enjoyed unfading popularity for almost six decades ever since its premiere on Broadway in 1959. It is based on a true story that still moves people across generations and throughout the world.

It is The Sound of Music, an award-winning musical with music by Richard Rogers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, that was adapted as a 1965 film musical by Robert Wise to become a major commercial success in film history and the highest-grossing film of all time.

It also became an inspiration behind the 22nd episode of The Orchestra of Playful Music project – a series of family concerts presented by the Klaipėda Concert Hall. This exciting musical-theatrical improvisation on the themes from the famous musical was created and will be performed by young professional actors Evelina Šimelionė and Gytis Šimelionis in the leading roles, accompanied by the future actress Livija Krivickaitė, little singers from the Klaipėda Vydūnas Gymnasium and Ąžuoliukas kindergarten, and the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra.

Sometimes we forget to be kind to each other, especially to those next to us. We forget how to smile, to cherish each other and enjoy being together. But music can bring us closer. Let’s listen to the music, sing along, grownups and children together, and give each other a sincere smile!