With this programme, entitled after the work for soprano and string quartet by Julius Juzeliūnas, we will mark the 30th anniversary of Lithuania’s restored independence. Juzeliūnas who was one of the most daring political and nationalist activists of the time composed this cantata at the dawn of perestroika, in 1985, to the poems by Lithuanian-born American poet, Jonas Mekas. Verse by the same poet inspired yet another Lithuanian composer, Bronius Kutavičius, to write the song cycle On the Shore for soprano and viola quartet, which is also included in this programme. On the same fortunate occasion, we will honour this outstanding poet and avant-garde filmmaker who died last year in New York where he lived in emigration for the past seventy years.
Jeronimas Kačinskas was also an émigré artist who has flown across the Atlantic back to his homeland several times after the re-establishment of Lithuania’s independence. This concert will feature his String Quartet No. 3, dedicated to the Stasys Šimkus Conservatory where he had studied and subsequently taught in his youth.
Another composer who has had a connection with Klaipėda and the said conservatory is Osvaldas Balakauskas. After the re-establishment of independence, he has served as ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania to France, Spain and Portugal.
As a matter of interest, the initiative group of the “Sąjūdis” (Reform Movement of Lithuania), which paved the way for the re-establishment of Lithuania’s independence, included three musicians – namely, composers Balakauskas and Juzeliūnas, and pianist and musicologist Vytautas Landsbergis. They were not only active participants of the ‘singing revolution’ but also distinguished artists and social-political activists.
Four of the composers to be featured in this programme were later awarded with the Lithuanian National Prize for Culture and Arts. The country’s highest cultural distinction was also bestowed on the Vilnius String Quartet, which marks its 55th anniversary season this year. Together with this experienced ensemble, we will also have an opportunity to meet some of the most promising young artists, including the Latvian-Lithuanian soprano, Gunta Gelgotė, St. Christopher Woodwind Quintet and composer Mykolas Natalevičius.
This memorial concert will be presented by the host of classical radio programmes at the Lithuanian National Radio and Television, Jūratė Katinaitė, who claims that the formation of “Sąjūdis” and the Act of March 11th were among the most memorable events witnessed by her generation.