KLAIPĖDA CHAMBER ORCHESTRA (Lithuania)
Artistic director Mindaugas Bačkus
Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra (KCO) is one of the youngest and most dynamic among Lithuania’s professional chamber orchestras. The KCO actively endeavours to stimulate and enlighten its audiences by presenting well thought out programmes and exhilarating interpretations of stylistically varied repertoire and by introducing new traditions of orchestral concerts in Lithuania’s only harbour city.
The KCO’s professional development and the quality of sound have always been in the hands of talented string players. It was formed in 1992 at the initiative of violist Liuda Kuraitienė. And yet a stronger stimulus towards the improvement of orchestral playing came in 2009 when the well-known Lithuanian cellist, Mindaugas Bačkus, was appointed the KCO’s Artistic Director. Internationally acclaimed as one of the most distinguished and versatile Lithuanian cellists of his generation, Bačkus considers his work with the KCO to be the “way of life, a philosophy of one’s relationship with music, a creative community.” His vision and innovative ideas inspired some conspicuous changes in the way the KCO now builds its repertoire, initiates new creative collaborations and contributes to the cultural life of the city. Another important area of the Orchestra’s activity is concerned with educational programmes, since they offer a fertile ground for engagement of young musicians and audiences into the Orchestra’s performances and a very effective way to foster an appreciation of classical music.
In the recent years, the KCO’s tour itineraries have expanded along with the new additions to the repertoire. It has repeatedly appeared at many Lithuanian music festivals and went on tour to Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Switzerland, Russia and elsewhere in Europe. The Orchestra has drawn accolades for its appearances at a number of international festivals, including Gaida in Lithuania, Murten Classics, Montreux and Klangantrisch in Switzerland, Klaviertage Bad Wildungen in Germany, Türi Spring Festival and Glasperlenspiel in Estonia, as well as at major venues, such as Tonhalle in Zürich, Temppeliaukio Church in Helsinki, Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg, Teatro Sociale in Bergamo, Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona, Palma Auditorium in Mallorca, the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Hall, Kaunas State Philharmonic, and the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania.
ŠIAULIAI CHAMBER ORCHESTRA CAMERATA SOLARIS (Lithuania)
Artistic director and conductor Vilhelmas Čepinskis
Šiauliai city has always been overfull of musical talents. A great number of the Lithuanian famous violinists were born in Šiauliai. Suffice it to recall the owner of the most beautiful timbre in Lithuania and one of the most famous violinists E.Paulauskas, longtime actress of the Lithuanian quartet, K. Kalinauskaitė, concertmaster of the National Symphony Orchestra, Z. Levickis and, obviously, legendary founder of the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, S. Sondeckis.
The violin personalities of such magnitude alone obliviosuly predetermined the birth of a violin art collective in Šiauliai. This is in fact what happened in 1989: Šiauliai Chamber Orchestra was founded. Furthermore, chronologically it is actually the tird one in Lithuania, after the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra (1960) and Kaunas Chamber Orchestra (1970).
Šiauliai Chamber Orchestra was born on the initiative of Jonas Lamauskas, having reorganised a former Šiauliai Folk Symphony Orchestra. It was founded by pedagogue, composer Liudas Andriulis in post-war Lithuania back in 1958 and lasted until 1989.
Majority of the artists of the new Orchestra had been playing in the former Folk Symphony Orchestra. Most of them were lecturers and teachers at Šiauliai Saulius Sondeckis‘ Gymnasium of Arts and music schools of Šiauliai city and Šiauliai county.
The first leader of the Orchestra was longtime director of Šiauliai Conservatory (currently, Šiauliai Saulius Sondeckis‘ Gymnasium of Arts), honorary citizen of Šiauliai city Jonas Lamauskas. From 2005, the Orchestra was lead by Borisas Traubas, the artist of the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra and the Naujalis‘ Symphony Orchestra. From 2007 up to 2016, the leader of the Orchestra was Jonas Janulevičius, the conductor of Kaunas National Musical Theatre; since 2016, the Orchestra has been lead by Ričardas Šumila, a talented conductor of a younger generation. The most famous conductors of Lithuania had once stood at the conductor‘s desk, including J. Domarkas, S. Sondeckis, R. Šervenikas, M. Pitrėnas, V. Viržonis, Latvian J. Resnis, and German G. Maisas.
The Orchestra has been cooperating with the Lithuanian choirs, prominent Lithuanian and foreign soloists, such as vocalists G. Skėrytė, A. Krikščiūnaitė, E. Kaniava, A. Janutas, L. Gubaidulina, R. Vaicekauskaitė, V. Miškūnaitė, percussionist P. Giunteris, harpist J. Daunytė and many others. The Orchestra has cultivated a close relationship with the German artists: worldwide famous violoncellist D. Gering, pianist I. Gabbe, pianist and director L. Dorfman.
The repertoir of the Orchestra mainly consists of Baroque, Classicism and Romantism pieces of music. The Orchestra does not shy away from the music of modern times: ranging from A. Piazzolla to A. Piarto. The Orchestra was the first to perform the pieces of music created by Šiauliai residents A. Bružas, J. Keblikas. Šiauliai Chamber Orchestra often performs together with Šiauliai Big-Band, this way forming a unique sympho-jazz orchestra in Lithuania!
The Orchestra performs in Šiauliai and other cities and towns in Lithuania, had toured in Germany, Italy, Poland, Belgium, Sweden. Its performances are welcome in various festivals in Lithuania: back in 1991, it took part in a concert of the Šiauliai International Church Music and in 2018 in Paežeriai Manor Music Festival.
In July 2021, Šiauliai Chamber Orchestra changed its name into „Camerata Solaris“. The current artistic leader and director is famous violinist Vilhelmas Čepinskis. Jūratė Stakvilevičienė is the assistant director of the Orchestra.
KORNELIJA KUPŠYTĖ (cello / Lithuania)
A cellist, soloist of the young generation whose prospective viability is not doubted by either music lovers or professionals. The prize winner of international competitions, taking an active part in master classes held by the most famous violoncellists, such as David Geringas, Giovani Sollima, Bruno Cocset, Karine Georgian, Eleonora Testelec and others. Kornelija could be seen actively performing in Lithuania and on the greatest stages abroad. While being a concertmaster of Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra Cello Group, she performs solo programmes with the Orchestra and in 2021 successfully recorded a piece for Solo Cello by composer Roberto Molinelli and for String Orchestra „Twin Legends“.
Kornelija started her musical journey from her very first year at school, Klaipėda Eduardas Balsys Gymnasium of Arts, where she studied piano for the first three years. After that, she switched to cello being fascinated by the instrument timbre reminding of a human voice and wishing to play solo in an orchestra. From the ninth grade she continued her studies in Stasys Šimkus Conservatory; afterwards, she studied in the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, where in 2020 graduated with a bachelor‘s degree (in the class of associate professor Edmundas Kulikauskas). Currently, Kornelija is continuing her studies in the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, Klaipėda Faculty, in the class of associate professor Mindaugas Bačkus who has accompanied her in her musical journey since her childhood.
National String Competition of Prof. E. Paulauskas, 3rd prize (Lithuania, Vilnius, 2017);
6th International Stockholm Competition, 2nd prize in chamber music category (Sweden, Stockholm, 2017);
6th International Stockholm Competition, 3rd prize in solo music category (Sweden, Stockholm, 2017);
3rd International Competition 21st Century Art, 1st prize in chamber ensemble category.
DAIVA ŠKELEVAITĖ (actress / Lithuania)
Daiva Škelevaitė is an actress, author of literary programmes, artistic director of Kaunas Gymnasium „Santaros“. She studied in Kaunas Conservatory of Juozas Gruodis (1979–1983), Vilnius National Conservatory (1983–1988) and Kaunas Youth Musical Studio lead by famous actor, singer, director Stanislovas Rubinovas. In 1988–2016, she worked as an actress in Kaunas Chamber Theatre. She played more than 40 roles. Among the most notable: a medical nurse in „Farewell to Arms“ by E. Hemingway (1980), Alpunytė in „Tai aš, Paulius“ („It‘s me, Paulius“) (1984), Zita in „No. 246“ by S. Rubinovas (1985), a girl from a boarding school in „Killerkommando“ by S.Rubinovas (1988), a mother in „Peepshow“ by G.Tabori (1996), a spade in „The Queen of Spades“ by A.Pushkin (1998), Laura Carlier in „Blaise“ by C.Magnier (1998), Pamella in „Orchestra“ by J. Anouilh (2001), Anelė in „Skaisčioji santuoka“ („Pure marriage“) by T. Ruževičius (2001), Salomėja in „Pjesė trims moterims ir Liudviko lavonui“ („Play for three women and a corpse of Ludvig“) by L. S. Černiauskaitė (2002), Elvyra in „Paskutinioji senjoro Chuano moteris“ („Last woman of senor Chuan“) by L. Žuchovickis (2004), a friend in „Kūno vartai" (“Body gate“) by D.Zelčiūtė (2006), Miss Gouri in „Be galo švelni žmogžudystė" („An extremely soft muder“) by D. Čepauskaitė according to R. Bradbury (2010), Jessy in „Hen-party" by L. Shaine Cunningham (2009), a witch of the witches in „Kaip atpažinti raganą?" („How to recognise a witch“) (2012).
Furthermore, she took part with various performances in as many as over 20 international theatre festivals. D.Škelevaitė independently created 4 theatre performances for children and 3 literary programmes: „Esu Ieva, esu Magdalena“ („I am Eve, I am Magdalene“) (according to writings by A. Ruseckaitė), „Laiškai“ („Letters“) (by M. Šiškin) and „Dieviškasis Mikelandželas“ („Divine Michelangelo“) with which she took part in festival „Užutrakis Evenings“ (in 2013, 2014 and 2015).
MINDAUGAS ZIMKUS (tenor / Lithuania)
Mindaugas Zimkus is a tenor, winner of international contests, soloist of Kaunas National Musical Theatre, assistant of Musical Academy at Vytautas Magnus University, and a pedagogue in Kaunas Conservatory of Juozas Gruodis. He studied voice in a class of prof. Virgilijus Noreika in Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (1998–2003). Within a period from 2003 to 2005, he took an internship in the LNOBT opera studio. M.Zimkus prepared a role of Ferrando in opera „Cosi fan tutte“ by W.A.Mozart in Danish Summer Academy „Opera Island Bornholm“ in 2002 that was performed in Stockholm and Wolfegg Opera Theatres. He made his debut as count Almaviva in opera „The Barber of Sevilla“ by G.Rossini in the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre in 2004. Currently, M.Zinkus is performing these and other roles in the LNOBT, Kaunas National Musical Theatre, Vilnius „Domino“ Theatre.
M. Zimkus performs in various concert halls in Lithuania and abroad. He is regularly invited to take part in such festivals, as „Pažaislis Music Festival“, „Thomas Mann‘s Festival“, „Užutrakis Evenings“, „Druskininkai Summer with M. K. Čiurlionis“, „Tune“, etc.
M. Zimkus had played over 20 roles, among which the most significant: Alfredo in opera „Traviata“ by G.Verdi, Almaviva in opera „The Barber of Seville“ by G. Rossini, Romeo in opera „Romeo and Juliet“ by Ch. Gounod, Faust in opera „Faust“ by Ch. Gounod, Edgard in opera „Lucia di Lammermoor“ by G. Donizetti, and etc. His repertoire consists not only of opera music but also of main parties in various operettas, musicals; masses and oratorios by J. S. Bach, G. F. Hendel, W. A. Mozart, L. van Beethoven. The modern music by I. Stravinsky, C. Orffo, S. Prokofyev is close to the soloist. Chamber vocal music takes a special place in his repertoire. Mindaugas had prepared and performed several vocal cycles of the Golden Fund of Chamber Vocal Music, such as: „Die schöne Müllerin“ „Schwanengesang” by F. Schubert, „Dichterliebe“ by R. Schumann, „Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo“, „The Holy Sonets of John Donne“ by B. Britten.
The singer is the winner of several contests: 2nd prize in B. Grincevičiūtė‘s Vocal Chamber Music Contest (2001); Grand Prix in S. Baras‘ Male Voice Contest (2001); 3rd prize in Vilnius International Singer and Pianist-Concertmaster Contest (2005); winner of Golden Voice 2nd prize in LRT Contest „Arch of Triumph“; Grand Prix in International Vocal Chamber Music Contest „Beatričė“ (2011).
M. Zimkus is a nominee of the Golden Cross of the Stage (2008, 2013); „Fortūna“ award winner (2008); the best soloist of Kaunas National Music Theatre (2009); awarded for his achievements by the President of the Republic of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaitė.
PAULĖ GUDINAITĖ (piano / Lithuania)
Dr. Paulė Gudinaitė is a pianist, doctor of arts, and a pedagogue at Kaunas Conservatory of Juozas Gruodis. She was conferred the Bachelor of Performing Arts in the Lithuanian Music and Theatre Academy in 2011 and the Master degree in a piano class of professor P. Geniušas and a concertmaster‘s class of I. Armonienė in 2013. Furtermore, she received a PhD in Arts, Music direction, in the Lithuanian Music and Theatre Academy in 2017 (prof. I. Armonienė, prof. R. Stanevičiūtė). In 2012, she studied in Higher Music and Theatre School „F. Mendelssohn – Bartholdy“ in Leipzig (Germany) in a class of prof. Ph. Moll. P. Gudinaitė received the best concertmaster‘s diploma in International Chamber Singing Contest „Beatričė“ in 2011 and became the winner of 1st prize in the Republican Concertmasters‘ Contest in Vilnius in 2012. She is an active performer at various concerts in Lithuania and abroad, took part in such festivals, as „Summer with M. K. Čiurlionis“ in Druskininkai (2011), „Thomas Mann‘s Festival“ in Nida (2012), „Pažaislis Festival“ (2015, 2018, 2019), „Užutrakis Evenings“ (2015), International Organ Music Festival in Rokiškis (2019, 2020), International Saarbruecken Chamber Music Festival (Germany, 2019). The performer was awarded with a Letter of Thanks by the President of the Republic of Lithuania, V. Adamkus. Paulė is a permanent stage partner of tenor Mindaugas Zimkus, mezzo-soprano Eglė Šidlauskaitė, she also performed together with such singers, as Raminta Vaicekauskaitė (soprano), Ona Kolobovaitė (soprano), Renata Dubinskaitė (mezzo-soprano), Giedrius Prunskus (baritone), Igor Bakan (bass-baritone), Tadas Girininkas (bass), Vitaly Yushmanov (baritone), Liza Antipova (soprano/Russia), Olena Tokar (soprano/Ukraine/Germany), M. Gomar (soprano/France). Chamber vocal music and large vocal cycles, such as „Dichterliebe“ by R. Schumann, „Seven sonnets of Michelangelo“, „The Holy Sonets of John Donne“ by B. Britten, „Die schöne Müllerin“ by F. Schubert, „About Captain Michalis” by M. Hadjidaki, etc. take a special place in her repertoire.
The pianist improved her mastery skills in the courses held by professors M. Rubackytė (Lithuania/France), Ch. Elton, H. Coates (Great Britain), A. Puliajev (Germany/Russia), T. Bauer, S. Mauser (Austria), A. Bauni, J. Ph. Schulze, H. Allard, U. Eisenlohr (Germany), M. Nosovska (Poland), E. Battaglia (Italy), B. Manoleanu (Romania), M. Tranchant (France), Z. Semel (Israel), participated in International Song Genre Interpretation Forum „European Liedforum Berlin“ in Berlin in 2012.
MALE CHAMBER CHOIR LOGOS (Latvia)
Artistic director and conductor Ioanne Shenrock
The whole history of the choir Logos could not have been made without the inspiration of a great personality, a talented musician, a conductor, the priest Ioanne Shenrock. His long nurtured idea of gathering experienced Singers together to perform orthodox church music for the first time became a realty during the first years of the independence of Latvia when many people experienced a genuine interest in the traditions of sacred choir music. Leading the Latvian Culture Fund‘s Choir during the 90-ties in the previous century, Ioanne Shenrock gave many performances in Latvia, Russia, Germany, and elsewhere in Europe, receiving recognition at international festivals and competitions.
In November, 2013 blessed by His Eminence Alexander, the Metropolitan of Riga and all Latvia, after some period of silence, the choir reemerged as the new strong male chamber choir Logos consisting of thirteen experienced, accomplished and highly dedicated choir Singers. The choir‘s first public debut was made at the liturgical church service in the Nativity of Christ Cathedral in Riga. The choir‘s name logos is deeply symbolic as its mission is to retranslate to the audience an essence of lyrics which is vital to create a special bound between the public and the musicians.
ALFAMA QUARTET (Belgium)
The Alfama Quartet (Belgium) was established in 2005 in Brussels and is now one of the major young chamber ensemble on the Belgian classical scene. It pursues its musical journey through different repertoires ranging from classical to contemporary music.
The Alfama Quartet has been trained by Walter Levin from the Lasalle Quartet, Rainer Schmidt from the Hagen Quartet, Heime Müller and Natalia Prischepenko from the Artemis Quartet, Eberhard Feltz and members of the Danel Quartet.
All their recordings have been covered with praise by the specialized Belgian and international press.
In spring 2019 the Alfama Quartet released its latest CD of Schubert and Fafchamps on the Cyprès label.
The quartet has played at many prestigious venues and festivals, including Bozar, Luxembourg Philharmony, Ambronay Festival, Cité de La Musique, Philharmonie de Paris, Flagey, Orsay Museum, Stavelot Festival, Bordeaux Opera House, Dijon Opera House, Alcobaça Festival, Espinho…
In addition to its recitals, the Alfama Quartet sometimes have the opportunity to perform alongside partners such as cellists Marie Hallynck and Camille Thomas, pianists Guillaume Coppola, Julien Libeer and Nathanaël Gouin, accordionist Anne Niepold, soprano Jodie Devos and mezzo-soprano Albane Carrère.
In 2011, the Alfama Quartet created Le Rêve d’Ariane with the Belgian comedian Ariane Rousseau. This playful and delicate piece is aimed both at adults and children and has been played more than 200 times in front of more than 70 000 children. After that, the Alfama Quartet and Ariane Rousseau produced a second stage show for children, Pomme-Henriette, which was premiered at the Philharmonie Luxembourg and performed again at the Philharmonie de Paris as well as the Bordeaux Opera.
The members of the Alfama Quartet created their third stage show, around Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn, produced by the Wallonia Festival (French) and deSingel in Antwerp (Dutch).
During the 2020-2021 season the Alfama Quartet played with the soprano Jodie Devos and pianist Julien Libeer a french music program and the quartet was invited by the new musical director Vahan Mardirossian to play as soloists with the Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia.
The Alfama Quatuor is supported by the Wallonie-Brussels Federation.
MARIO PERESTEGI (organ / Croatia)
Professor Mario Perestegi began his concert career touring Croatia whilst still completing his undergraduate studies with Professor Anđelko Klobučar in Zagreb.
Graduating in organ and church music, Mario continued his post-graduate studies of the organ on the topic The organ sonata-symphony in the XX century under the mentorship of Professor Hubert Bergant at the Academy for Music in Ljubljana, Slovenia. His interest for French organ music took him to Paris, working with legendary organist and musician Marie-Claire Alain with whom he studied the interpretation of the French organ literature, and in 2002/3 interpretation of J.S. Bach’s Leipzig Chorales with Professor Mario Penzar at the Music Academy in Zagreb.
To date, Mario has performed more than 400 solo concerts on 4 continents. Notable venues include the Zagreb Concert Hall Vatroslav Lisinski and Leon Janacek Hall in Brno, and famous cathedrals worldwide such as Paris ( Notre Dame ), Salzburg, Berlin, Zagreb, Bruxelles (St. Michael and St. Gudula), Riga (Riga Dome Cathedral ), Ljubljana, Maribor, Olomouc, Helsinki, Trieste, Frombork, Prague, Rabat Paris – Notre-Dame (2009, 2017), Melbourne, Sidney, Washington, Boston, New York.
His extensive touring to date has seen him visit Australia in 2005 performing in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne, and in 2006 touring the United States performing in prestigious venues in New York, Washington, Boston, Chicago and Williamsburg. In 2009 Mario toured Russia for the first time, performing in Moscow and Sochi.
Professor Perestegi is in demand as a performer, and teacher. He passes his knowledge and enthusiasm for music to the next generation of aspiring musicians as Full Professor at the Music Academy in Ljubljana, Slovenia. He commenced his pedagogical work at the Academy in 1995 (at the age of 24) where he lectures and leads the organ class.
DARIO TESKERA (trumpet / Croatia)
Professor Dario Teskera graduated in trumpet from the Zagreb Academy of Music in 1995. From 1994 to 1996 he was a full member of the Symphonic Wind Orchestra of the Croatian Army. In 1996 he enrolled in a two-year further education programme at the International Trumpet Academy Werder in Bremen. During his education in Bremen he attended classes held by some prominent soloists, professors and lecturers (such as Pierre Thibaud, Bo Nilsson, Thomas Stevens, James Thompson, John Wallace, Matthias Höfs). He attended master classes with Stanko Arnold, Phillip Smith, Timofej Dokshitzer, Allen Vizzutti, Thierry Caens, Edward Caroll, Claes Stromblad, and Erich Rinner as well as took part in chamber music seminars of the German Brass and London Brass Ensembles.
Dario Teskera performed as a student apprentice in numerous operatic and concert projects of the Bremen Philharmonic Orchestra.
Between 1998 and 2018 he has been a soloist of the Croatian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra.
KAUNAS MIXED CHOIR SALUTO (Lithuania)
Artistic director and conductor Ramutė Štreimikytė
Mixed choir “Saluto” was founded in the fall of 2007. The choir unites people who favour choral music and dedicate their spare time to singing.
The choir’s repertoire includes Lithuanian and foreign choral works of various periods, styles and genres, often grouped together according to a concert theme. Over the fifteen years of its existence, the choir has performed more than 300 choral works and presented nineteen concert programmes: “Christmas Music from Around the World” (2007–2012, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2021); “On the Wings of Song Through the Centuries” (2008); “The Dawn is Dawning”, dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the death of Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis (2011); “Love Dreams” (2011) and “Oh, Lithuanians, My Dear Brothers”, dedicated to the 300th anniversary of the birth of Kristijonas Donelaitis (2013). The most memorable event in the choir’s life was the Lithuanian première of Karl Jenkins ”The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace”, which took place in 2012 on the occasion of the choir’s fifth anniversary. The work was performed twice, at the Kaunas Philharmonic Hall and the Kaunas Ninth Fort, and the concerts also featured the Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra, soloists and video installations. In his ten years of activity, the choir was marked by a new program called “Prasvydo”, traveling around the world with songs (2017).
The “Saluto” singers are frequent guests on the concert platform, giving around ten concerts a year, collaborating with various artistic ensembles, presenting musical projects and taking part in competitions and festivals at home and abroad with audiences in France (2008), Germany (2009), Russia (2010, 2014), the Czech Republic (2011), Spain (2012), Austria (2013), England (2015), Bulgaria (2018), Norway (2019), Latvia (2020).
The founder of the choir and its conductor is Ramutė Štreimikytė.
ĄŽUOLŲ KLUBO MEN‘S CHOIR (Lithunia)
Artistic director and conductor Povilas Gylys
Ažuolų klubo Men’s Choir was founded in 2016. It unites men of different occupations, members of the club Ąžuolų klubas, who used to sing in the boys’ and young men’s choir Ažuoliukas. The Choir performs inside and outside Lithuania. Its repertoire covers classical music by foreign and Lithuanian composers, as well as contemporary compositions. Ažuolų klubo Men’s Choir is a prize winner in the International Choir Competition “Cantate Domino” (Lithuania) in 2016; International Competition of Orthodox Church Music in Bialystok (Poland) in 2017; Lithuanian National Choral Competition in 2017 (1st place); International S. Šimkus Choir Competition in 2018 (3rd place); International Choral Festival and Competition in Grodno (Belarus) and 5th International Choir Festival and Competition of Juozas Naujalis in 2019. In 2019 the Choir was also awarded the “Golden Bird” prize by the Lithuanian National Culture Centre.
Prof Povilas Gylys used to sing then work as choirmaster-conductor for the Boys’ and Youth Choir Ąžuoliukas. He studied at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, in Saint Petersburg (Russia) and Vienna (Austria). Prof Gylys was the leader of the Academic Choir of Vilnius University, Choir of the Lithuanian National Radio and Television, Choir Studio of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, State Choir Vilnius. Prof Povilas Gylys conducted at the Baltic Students’ Song Festivals Gaudeamus and Lithuanian Song and Dance Festivals.
VILNIUS CHOIR OF SACRED MUSIC ADORAMUS (Lithuania)
Artistic director and conductor Imantas Jonas Marijus Šimkus
Vilnius Choir of Sacred Music “Adoramus” was formed in September of 2015 at the monastery of The Community of St. John by conductor Imantas Šimkus. “Adoramus” unites more than 40 people who devote a large part of their heart to performing liturgical and sacral music. Currently, the choir members sing in the evening Mass, performed in the Church of St. Johns’ which is a part of Vilnius University ensemble. The main purpose of the choir “Adoramus” reflects its name – to glorify God and spread the love of one’s neighbour through music. To achieve this purpose and to improve performance skills, the choir not only sings during the Mass and Church solemnities, but also organises masterclasses, trips, and prepares concert programmes. Among the most important events are beatification of the BL Teofilijus Matulionis (2017), concert during Pope Francis’ apostolic visit to Lithuania (2018), tour in France and Austria (2019), a concert programme “Lumen” in memory of the victims of the global pandemic (2020). In 2019 the choir also made the records and released a CD “Benedicta Tu”. The “Adoramus” choir contributes to the implementation of various initiatives, collaborates with other choirs in Lithuania: on January 13, 2020, the choir “Adoramus” performed together with the Vilnius City Municipality Choir “Jauna Muzika” to commemorate the Freedom Defenders’ Day (live streamed on national television channel LRT), “Adoramus” participated in the final examination of the conducting course for organists (National Organists’ Association, 2021), closed the 14th festival of sacred music with a concert dedicated to the memory of organist Albinas Jasenauskas (2021). On September 1, the evening concert of the choir “Adoramus” ended the celebration of the beginning of the study year in Vilnius University “RENOVATIO STUDIORUM” (2021). In order to expand the repertoire of liturgical music in Lithuanian, “Adoramus” organised a Competition of Lithuanian Liturgical Music Compositions (2020). Compositions of the finalists – five Mass cycles for mixed choir a cappella – have been published in the volume of the competition’s music score. Compositions printed in it are verified as valid pieces to be played during the liturgy (Nihil obstat, Fr. Kęstutis Palikša; Imprimatur Abp. Gintaras Grušas). In the autumn of 2021, there were few concerts held, introducing the audience with the compositions of the finalists, they were also performed at the opening concert of the festival “Betliejaus žvaigždė” in Vilnius, at St. Casimir’s Church. Artistic directors and conductors of Vilnius sacred music choir Adoramus: Imantas Jonas Šimkus and Mantvydas Drūlia, second conductor Kęstutis Daugirdas, choirmaster Agnieška Savel.
MIXED YOUTH CHOIR EXAUDI (Lithuania)
Artistic director and conductor Vita Liaudanskaitė-Vaitkevičienė
The Choir has been performing since 2011, was founded by Eugenijus Puzynia SJ, on the initiative of the community of Kaunas Church of St.Francis Xavier, students of the Jesuits Gymnasium and members of Ateitininkai Federation.
„Exaudi“ sings at Mass in Kaunas Church of St.Francis Xavier (Jesuits), and organises concerts in Lithuania and abroad. Its repertoire consists of sacred music of various styles ranging from the Middle Ages up to works of the composers of 21st century. Its concert repertoire includes „Les 7 paroles du Christ en croix“ by C. Francko, „A ceremony of carols“ by B. Britten, Motets of Good Friday by K. Vasiliauskaitė, „Drei Psalmen“ by F. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, motet „Jesu, meine Freude“ by J. S. Bach, „The Face of Christ“ by V. Augustin, „Sunrise mass“ by Ola Gjeilo, Orthodox liturgical music programme.
Vita Liaudanskaitė-Vaitkevičienė is the choir director, organist, pedagogue, chanting teacher at Kaunas Theological Seminary. In 1998–2018, she lead the choir at Kaunas Cathedral Basilica; during the visit of the Holy Father in Lithuania, she was the artistic director of the Holy Mass with Pope Francis. V. Liaudanskaitė-Vaitkevičienė has led „Exaudi“ since 2019.
VILNIUS ST. JOSEPH’S THEOLOGOCAL SEMINARY CHOIR (Lithuania)
Artistic director and conductor Živilė Tamaševičienė
The choir was founded in 2018. During festivities, it chants in the Seminary, on the feast day of the Gates of Dawn. The largest attention is paid to liturgical music: Gregorian chant, polyphonic music of various times, and also kantička.
The choir was organised and is led by musicologist and organist Živilė Tamaševičienė, who also teaches chanting in the Seminary.
ACADEMIC CHOIR VIVERE CANTUS OF VYTAUTAS MAGNUS UNIVERSITY (Lithuania)
Artistic director and conductor Rolandas Daugėla
Choir „Vivere Cantus“ of Vytautas Magnus University was founded in May 2015. A thought to refound the mixed choir of the VMU founded almost a century ago came to the choirmasters of the VMU Academy of Music. A new academic mixed choir was named as „Vivere cantus“ (Live music). The new stage of the former choir commenced being full of ideas and aspiring ambitions. It is a young, energetic group of people in which the University community takes part, by actively participating in concerts, competition activities on the stages in Kaunas city, diverse parts of Lithuania and Europe. By virtue of the enthusiastic members of the choir as well as active and professional attitude towards choral art by choir conductor Rolanda Daugėla, it is sought to improve the mastery of the choir and to consistently perform choral music of various kinds and periods.
Within a rather short period of time the choir had already performed in a wide range of events. Every year, the choir takes part in the most significant events organised by the University and the VMU Student Association, such as graduation events, „V2“ awards, Christmas events organised by Faculties and organisations. The choir is a recurring participant of the Lithuanian Student Choir festivals and Lithuanian Song Festivals in Kaunas and Vilnius. Furthermore, it takes part in various events and festivals of Kaunas city. In October 2016, the choir took part in 2nd International Choir Competition „Bratislava Cantat“ (Slovakia) where it was awarded with the gold diploma. In May 2018, the choir participated in the International Choir Festival in Namestovo (Slovakia) where it was awarded with the gold diploma. The same year, the choir participated in Baltic States‘ Student Choir Festival „Gaudeamus“. In 2019, the choir received 3rd prize in 11th Higher School Choir Contest - Festival „Juventus“ and was awarded with two gold diplomas in International Choir Music Festival „Musica sacra“ in Miedzyzdroje (Poland) and in categories of the modern music.
Presently, performers of the choir are students of the Faculty of Arts, Social Sciences, Political Sciences, Natural Sciences, Computer Science, Humanitarian Sciences and the Academy of Arts of the VMU as well as students studying in Erasmus program.
AGNIESZKA FRANKÓW-ŻELAZNY (conductor / Poland)
She is a Titular Professor of Musical Arts, PhD and an active teacher. She studied voice and conducting at the Academies of Music in Wrocław and Bydgoszcz. She is also a biologist, a graduate of the University of Wrocław and a culture manager with a diploma from the University of Economics in Kraków, as well as MBA studies at the Collegium Humanum at the Central School of Management. She has recorded 22 albums and won over 70 individual and ensemble awards, some of which she received during her studies: 1st prize and two special prizes in the National Competition for Choir Conducting (2004), 1st place in the Lower Silesian Competition Primus Inter Pares (2004). For her artistic and academic activities, she received the Honorary Badge of Merit for Polish Culture (2008), the Wrocław Music Prize (2010), Internauts’ Award in the competition Person of the Year 2011, Award of the Polish Academy of Sciences Iuvenes Wratislaviae (2012), the Bronze Medal for Merit to Polish Culture – Gloria Artis (2014), as well as Fryderyk 2017 and 2019. In 2018, the project Choral Academy, which she programmed, was nominated for the Corypheus of Polish Music Award. In 2018, the project Choral Academy, which she programmed, was nominated for the Corypheus of Polish Music Award.
From 2000–2014, she led the Medici Cantantes the Choir of the Medical University in Wrocław, which she founded. Winning with it the highest prizes in choir competitions in Poland and internationally; she elevated the ensemble to the league of the best university choirs in Poland. From 2006–2021 she was Artistic Director of the National Forum of Music Choir, building it from the very beginning according to her own vision of a “choir of soloists”. She is the originator and Artistic Director of a nationwide educational project established in 2013 under the name of the Polish National Youth Choir.
In January 2015 she was appointed Programme Director of the Choral Academy – a project financed by the Ministry of Culture, National Heritage and Sport. Its main objective is to support the development of nearly 300 Polish children’s and youth choirs financially and substantively, organising workshops, concerts, competitions conferences and publishing numerous methodological and repertoire materials. From 2013–2016 she was Curator of Music for the European Capital of Culture Wrocław 2016, co-implementing an artistic programme consisting of several hundred musical events.
With her choirs, she has performed over 1,200 choral pieces and nearly 300 vocal-instrumental works, made 20 CD recordings and delivered numerous world première performances of Polish music. Her interpretations have been heard at the Royal Albert Hall, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Philharmonie de Paris, Salle Pleyel, London Barbican Centre, Moscow International House of Music, Brussels Bozar and other important musical venues in Europe. She has prepared choirs for such conductors as: Zubin Mehta, Paul McCreesh, Krzysztof Penderecki, Iván Fischer, Pascal Rophé, Lawrence Foster, Jacek Kaspszyk, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Andrzej Boreyko, Stephen Layton, Hans-Christoph Rademann, Robert Reimer, Konrad Junghänel, Andres Mustonen, Tõnu Kaljuste, Giovanni Antonini, Adreas Spering, Carlo Rizzi, Dennis Russell Davies, and Charles Dutoit.
She has performed at festivals in in Turkey, the United States, Russia, Israel, the United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, the Czech Republic, Croatia, France, Ireland, Spain, Italy, and Brazil.
She has worked as a conductor with ensembles such as: the NFM Choir Choir, Gabrieli Consort, Schleswig-Holstein Festival Choir, Chor der Bamberger Symphoniker, NFM Wrocław Philharmonic, NFM Leopoldinum Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of the Sudeten Philharmonic, Symphony Orchestra of the Opole Philharmonic, Cisella Gedanens, Wrocław Ricordanza Soloists Ensemble, Chamber Orchestra of the Academy of Music in Wrocław, Festival Choir of the International Festival Wratislavia Cantans, Choir of the Silesian Philharmonic, Choir of the Grand Theatre in Poznań.
Agnieszka is passionate about teaching and research. She educates choir conductors and ensemble singers at the Karol Lipiński Academy of Music in Wrocław, the Chopin University of Music in Warsaw and during numerous master classes and workshops in academic and arts centres throughout Europe. She is an author of publications as well as originator and Director of the National Conference Choir Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. She is invited as a vocal consultant and often joins jury panels of choir, vocal and composition competitions. She is a happy wife and mother of three children.
JOVITA VAŠKEVIČIŪTĖ (mezzo-soprano / Lithuania)
Jovita Vaškevičiūtė graduated from Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. In 2004–2006, she took an internship in the LNOBT Opera studio led by professors V. Noreika and V. Viržonis. The soloist made her debut on the LNOBT stage in 2006, in the role of Ulrica in opera „Un ballo in maschera“ by G. Verdi. J. Vaškevičiūtė received „Opera Ligthhouses“ award „The Hope of the Year“ in 2006.
The soloist‘s debut as Dominga in opera „Love and Other Demons“ by P. Eötvös in the LNOBT in 2008 opened her the doors to the stages in Europe. In spring of 2010, invited by the composer, she sang in this role in first-night performances in Cologne Opera; whereas, in autumn of the same year, in Strasbourg „Opera National du Rhin“, and in 2017, in Hungary National Opera in Budapest. Afterwards, followed such debuts, as operas „Aida“ and Requiem“ by G. Verdi in Cologne Opera (Germany); in 2014, Jovita performed the role of Pasqualita in opera „Doctor Atomic“ by J. Adams in „Opera National du Rhin“ in France, whereas in 2015, in „Opera Maestranza“ in Spain. 2014 was a landmark year, when the soloist performed an impressive role of Azucena in opera „Il Trovatore“ by G. Verdi (Vilnius City Opera), and the roles of Marquis and Countess in opera „Cornet“ by O. Narbutaitė and was nominated for the award of Golden Cross of the Stage.
In 2018, invited by composer P. Eötvös, the soloist made her debut in one of the most significant worldwide opera theatres, Teatro Colón (Buenos Aires), in his opera „Three Sisters“. In 2019, she made her debut in the Estonian National Opera, in the role of Lubasha in opera „The Tsar‘s Bride“ by N. Rimsky-Korsakov, in the role of Lel in opera „The Snow Maiden“ by P.Tchaikovsky in „Palais des Beaux-Arts“ BOZAR in Brussels. The premieres also took place in the LNOBT, where the soloist prepared the role of an Old Lady in opera „Candide“ by L. Bernstein. The soloist was nominated for the award of Golden Cross of the Stage for this role.
She was on tours in Poland, Germany, France, China, the United States.
MINDAUGAS JANKAUSKAS (tenor / Lithuania)
Mindaugas Jankauskas - a Lithuanian lyric tenor, particularly acclaimed for his theatricality and stage presence. More recently, M. Jankauskas has sung with the Berliner Sinfonieorchester (at the Berlin Philharmonic /Berlin/Germany), the Orquesta Sinfónica Ciudad de Oviedo (at teatro Campoamor /Oviedo/Spain), the Moscow Symphony Orchestra (at the Moscow Conservatory Grand Hall/Moscow/Russia), the Orchestra Sinfonica G. Rossini (at Rossini Theater /Pesaro/Italy; and Pergolesi Theater /Jesi /Italy), the Southwest German Philharmonic Orchestra, the Latvian Opera and Ballet Orchestra (at Latvian National opera Rīga/Latvia), the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra (at the National Philharmonic Vilnius/Lithuania), the St. Petersburg Northern Sinfonia Orchestra (at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic /St. Petersburg/Russia), the Orquestra da Ópera na Academia e na Cidade (Lisbon/Portugal) and others. He has also worked with conductors Lior Shambadal, Mārtinš Ozolinš, Walter Attanasi, Gianluca Marciano, Vincent de Kort, Cyril Diederich, Sesto Quatrini, José Maria Moreno, William Maxfield, Erki Pehk, Karsten Januschke, Arthur Arnold, Franz Wassermann, Fabio Mastrangelo, Daniele Agiman; stage directors Emilio Sagi, Damiano Michieletto, Cristina Mazzavillani Mutti, Jean- Claude Berutti, Vasilij Barchatov, Oskaras Koršunovas, Gintaras Varnas, Vincent Boussard.
His repertoire includes Tonio in La fille du Regiment, Narciso in Il Turco in Italia, Conte Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini), Camille de Rosillon in Die lustige Witwe (Lehar),Baldwin, Count Zedlau in Wiener Blut (J. Strauß), Goro in Madama Butterfly, Pong in Turandot (Puccini), Jaquino in Fidelio (Beethoven), Don Basilio/Don Curzio in Le nozze di Figaro (Mozart), Soldier in Der Kaiser von Atlantis (Ullmann), Alfred/Dr.Blind in Fledermaus (J.Strauß), Guillot de Morfontaine in Manon (Massenet), Jan Janicky in Der Bettelstudent (Millörcke), Don Riccardo in Ernani (Verdi), Pastore in Orfeo (Monteverdi), Mozart in Mozart and Salieri (Rimsky-Korsakov) and other.
Jankauskas’s repertoire also includes the tenor parts in several oratorios and cantatas: Theodore Dubois’The Seven Last Words of Christ, Camille Saint-Saens’ Christmas Oratorio, Adalbert Dankowsky's Litanie in C, Bach’s Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWW 140, Mozart's Coronation Mass K.317, A. Dvorak's Stabat Mater Op.58, G. Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle, J. Haydn Missa in Tempore Belli - Paukenmesse Nr.10 C-dur, C. Orff Carmina Burana, J. Haydn Stabat Mater, W.A. Mozart Requiem, J. Brahms Liebeslieder Waltzer Op.52, Neue Liebeslieder Op.65.
STEPONAS ZONYS (baritone / Lithuania)
Baritone Steponas Zonys graduated from LMTA’s studies of Vocal Performance in 2016 (class of prof. EduardasKaniava). Already during his studies, he started working at Klaipėda State Musical Theatre (2014-2019), where he created a number of major baritone roles. In 2016-2017 the singer participated in the LNOBT Opera Trainee Programme. S. Zonys has regular internships in Italy, France, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Germany, England, Austria, Israel, Turkey. In 2017 S. Zonys made his debut at the Jerusalem Opera Festival, playing Marcello in G. Puccini‘s opera “La Boheme”, conducted by maestro Patrick Baton (Belgium). S. Zonys is the laureate of many competitions. In 2012 he won the Grand prix at the International Singing Competition “Solovushka” (Russia), in 2013 – the Lithuanian competitions “Dawn of the Dawn” (1st place), Elžbieta Kardelienė’s Singing Competition (2nd place, and 1st place in 2014), and the international competition for singers in Latvia “Viva la musica” (3rd place). In 2014 he participated in the International Singers' Forum – Competition in Lithuania (1st place). In 2015 he was bestowed the “Future Scholarship” established by “Švyturys”, 2020 Premio Scarlatti (Grand Prix). In 2019 he was given the “Opera Hope of the Year” award at the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theater and Audience Prize at Klaipėda State Musical Theater. The singer has been awarded the Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė’s award for international merits to Lithuania.
Steponas Zonys worked with conductors: Sesto Quatrini, Joseph Wallnig, Patrick Baton, Pierre Vallet, Johaness Wildner, Simone Marziali, Martynas Staškus, Robertas Šervenikas, Julius Geniušas, Juozas Domarkas, Stasys Domarkas, Modestas Pitrėnas, and etc.
Worked with directors: Robert Wilson, Damiano Michieletto, Itzik Galili, Vincent Boussard, Vasily Barkhatov, Jonas Vaitkus, Dalia Ibelhauptaite, Noemi Schloser, Donatas Banionis, Gediminas Seduikis, Jurate Sodyte and etc.
Since 2019 S. Zonys has been a soloist with the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre.
Rodrigo (G. Verdi “Don Carlo)
Valentin (Ch. Gounod “Faust”)
Faninal (R. Strauss “Der Rosenkavalier”)
Onegin (P. Tchaikovsky, Eugene Onegin)
Marcello (G. Puccini “La Boheme”)
Figaro (G. Rossini “Il barbiere di Siviglia“)
Don Giovanni (W. A. Mozart “Don Giovanni“)
Ping (G. Puccini “Turandot“)
Belcore (G. Donizetti “L’elisird’amore“)
Robert (P. Tchaikovsky “Iolanta“)
Arnoldo (A. Ponchielli “I lituani”)
Silvio (R. Leoncavallo “Pagliacci“)
Pangloss, Martin, Maximillian, Captain, Hermann Augustus, I inquisitor, II signor and Prefect (L. Bernstein “Candide“)
Mr. Astley (S. Prokofiev “The Gambler“)
Morales (G. Bizet “Carmen“)
Schaunard (G. Puccini “La Boheme“)
Herkus Mantas (G. Kuprevičius “The Prussians“)
Uberto (G. B. Pergolesi “La serva padrona“)
Count Danilo (F. Lehar “Die lustigeWitwe“)
Eisenstein (J. Strauss “Die Fledermaus“)
Mirror (R. Mačiliūnaitė “Forever and a Day“)
Marquise, Barone (G. Verdi “Traviata”)
THE VILNIUS CITY MUNICIPALITY ST. CHRISTOPHER CHAMBER ORCHESTRA (Lithuania)
Artistic director and chief conductor Modestas Barkauskas, honorary conductor Donatas Katkus
The Vilnius City Municipality St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra () is a collective widely known for its universality, professionalism, and artistic imagination. The orchestra is an eagerly awaited guest not just in prestigious concert halls in Lithuania and abroad, such as the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, the Harpa in Reikjavik, the Berwaldhallen in Stockholm, at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, or the Royal Palace in Warsaw, St Petersburg’s M. Glinka Hall, or Moscow’s P. Tchaikovsky’s Conservatory, but also in less predictable places like outdoor stages or even sand quarries…
The orchestra was formed in 1994 by the initiative of Prof. Donatas Katkus, its artistic director and conductor, who at first envisaged creating a baroque orchestra. At the time there were few ensembles in Lithuania who were dedicated to performing music of this era, and the director was guided by the principles of the Russian romantic school for its interpretation. Talented, young Vilnius musicians from various orchestras in Vilnius gathered at the first rehearsals of this new collective and held their first concerts in February of that same year. In 1995 they took the name of St. Christopher – the patron saint of Vilnius and travellers; Mons. Kazimieras Vasiliauskas blessed the orchestra at the Vilnius Archcathedral. That same year, D. Katkus started the Christopher Summer Festival, in which the orchestra’s programmes featured prominently. At first playing music by Italians A. Corelli, A. Vivaldi, T. Albinoni and other baroque composers, the orchestra soon took to interpreting the music of contemporary Lithuanian composers. In 1995 the orchestra prepared the mammoth cycle by B. Kutavičius “Gates of Jerusalem”, and the following year during its first tour to Poland, at the festival Wratislavia Cantans, alongside Vivaldi’s “Gloria” they performed not only Kutavičius’ cycle, but also premiered “Requiem in memoriam Stasys Lozoraitis” by O. Balakauskas. K. Pendereckis who attended the concert made an excellent appraisal of not just Lithuanian music, but was left immensely impressed by the young orchestra’s masterfullness as well. The collective also received words of praise from the American conductor D. Russell Davis, who conducted the orchestra during its first year at a concert in Vilnius. It wasn’t long before the St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra received an invitation to record three CDs for America’s Fleur de Son. There, under the baton of the Israeli and American conductor Arie Lipsky the orchestra recorded all of F. Schubert’s overtures, compositions by the contemporary composer R. Sierra, and M. Bruch’s concertos, played by Canadian violinist Jacques Israelievitch (in this particular recording we can also hear the last viola solo to have been played by the orchestra’s director, D. Katkus).
Many have noted that the St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra stands out from other collectives in Lithuania for its special stylistic universality. Having earned the reputation of a “baroque orchestra” and the reviver of rare partitures, musicologists have termed the orchestra “an excellent base for all of Lithuania’s composers’ conceptions”. Today its repertoire boasts over thirty opuses by Lithuanian authors: from early music to works by students from the Lithuanian Academy of Music. The orchestra has performed almost all of the string pieces F. Bajoras, B. Kutavičius and O. Balakauskas. It gives no less attention to the music of contemporary foreign composers, playing works by P. Vasks, E.-S. Tüür, J. McCabe, Shin, A. Ruoff, R. Sierra and other composers.
From its very inception, the intensive work schedule of the St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra has led to its wide recognition as much in Lithuania as abroad. The collective has successfully represented Lithuania at international events, such as the festivals Strefa Ciszy, Ogrody Muzyczne, Probaltica and Wratislavia Cantans (Poland), Tubin (Finland), Pärnu (Estonia), Europäisches Musikfest Münsterland, Kaskados, Mystik und Maschine, Berlin Jazz, Hermann Hesse (Germany), Berlioz (France), Reykholt (Iceland), and elsewhere.
The orchestra regularly collaborates with well-known Lithuanian and foreign collectives and soloists. Among the latter we can mention the singers Kerstin Avemo (soprano), Charles Castronovo (tenor), Violeta Urmana (soprano), Alfredo Nigro (tenor), Virgilijus Noreika (tenor), the violinists Maksim Vengerov, Alexander Rybak, Anton Barakhovsky, Jacques Israelievitch, Moti Shmidt, the pianists Maria João Pires, Leonid Chizhik, Konstantin Lifschitz, Tamami Honma, Petras Geniušas, Julian Joseph, the cellists David Geringas, Dominique de Williencourt, Marko Ylönen and Maria Kliegel, as well as Camilla Hoitenga (flute), Petras Vyšniauskas (saxophone), Linda Maxey (marimba), Martynas Levickis (accordion), plus many others.
ŠIAULIAI STATE CHAMBER CHOIR POLIFONIJA (Lithuania)
Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Linas Balandis
In 1974, choir conductors Danutė and Sigitas Vaičiulioniai formed the Early Music Ensemble, which performed its first concert on December 31 in the assembly hall of Šiauliai Pedagogical Institute, featuring Renaissance and Baroque music. This was not only the birth of a new music group, but also the tradition of inviting the citizens of Šiauliai to send off the old year with music on New Year's Eve. Later on, the ensemble's activities expanded, the number of concerts increased, and after five years the group has been given the name of the choir Polifonija and the status of the People's collective.
The culture of choir performance, repertoire and abundance of concerts led Polifonija towards new creative achievements. In 1986, the choir outgrew its teenage amateur shirt and became a professional team – Lithuanian State Philharmonic Chamber Mixed Choir of Šiauliai.
In 1998, the choir separated from the Lithuanian National Philharmonics and became a mature Šiauliai State Chamber Choir Polifonija. Since then, the choir's status has not changed, only the repertoire, the repertoire of Renaissance and Baroque works, which have become the Polifonija’s tradition, is being replaced by the works of composers of various epochs and countries, with great attention to the spread of Lithuanian choral music in Lithuania and the world.
The Choir Polifonija regularly performs in various countries of the world conducted by excellent national and foreign conductors, such as Saulius Sondeckis, Juozas Domarkas, Gintaras Rinkevičius, Vytautas Miškinis, Vaclovas Augustinas, Modestas Pitrėnas, Robertas Šervenikas, Ravil Martynov (Russia), Vladimir Begletsov (Russia), Karmina Šilec (Slovenia), Georg Mais (Germany), Mats Nilsson Sindenius (Sweden), Magnus Wassenius (Sweden), Ingo Ernst Reihl (Germany), Anthony Trecek-King (USA), Richard Bjella (USA), Ferdinando Sulla ( Italy) and others. The biography of concert tours includes Italy, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Austria, Russia, Sweden, Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, France, Latvia, Estonia.
The choir has performed with the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra, St. Christopher’s Orchestra, Klaipėda State Musical Theatre Orchestra, Lithuanian National and Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Hamburger Camerata, Lviv (Ukraine) Philharmonic Orchestra, St. Petersburg (Russia) Symphony Orchestra and other string and wind orchestras from different countries.
Every year the choir participates in various music festivals in Lithuania and abroad, thus spreading the charm of Lithuanian choral music.
The National Chamber Ensemble “Kyiv Soloists” is the realisation of a long-standing dream of outstanding Ukrainian violinistand teacher Bogodar Kotorovych (1941-2009). The orchestra is composed ofrenowned musicians from all over Ukraine, most of them are winners of nationaland international competitions, representing the traditions of the founder.Anatoli Vasylkovskii has been the Artistic Director of NCE “Kyiv Soloists”since 2017.
The Ensemblegained reputation as a promoter of internationally acclaimed composers. Amongothers, the Military Requiem by Benjamin Britten, the Double Concerto by GeorgePalmer and the Marimba Concerto by Erkki-Sven Tüür were played for the firsttime in Ukraine by Kyiv Soloists. The ensemble also makes considerable effortsto popularise modern Ukrainian composers such as Myroslav Skoryk, YevgeniStankovych and Valentin Silvestrov among many others.
The diversity and the potential of the Ensemble hasattracted the attention of established performers of different styles likeValery Sokolov (violin, Ukraine), Kirill Karabits (conductor, Ukraine-England),Oksana. Lyniv (conductor, Ukraine-Austria), Erki Pehk (conductor, Estonia),Stéphane Réty (flute, France), Maxim Rysanov (viola, England), NaumGrubert (piano, Netherlands), Gary Hoffman (cello, USA), Claudio Martínez Mehner(piano, Spain), Julian Milkis (clarinet, USA), Denis Severin (violoncello,Switzerland), Dimitri Ashkenazy (clarinet, Switzerland), Oxana Yablonskaya(piano, Russia/USA), Vag Papian (piano, Armenia/Israel), jazz singer NinoKatamadze (Georgia), the founder of the band «Deep Purple» Jon Lord and jazzpianist Konstanty Wileński (Poland).
The expressive and poetic style of the “Kyiv Soloists” incombination with Ukrainian musical traditions has captivated audiences all overthe world: Luxembourg Palace and UNESCO in Paris, Komische Opera in Berlin,Great National Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw, Place Flagey in Belgium, RadioKulturhaus in Vienna, Concert Hall Esplanade in Singapore and World Exhibitionin Japan. The ensemble has been invited to international festivals: DavidOistrakh Festival (Estonia), modern music festival “Warsaw Autumn” (Warsaw,Poland), modern music festival in Krakow (Poland), classic music festival inRuhr (Germany), International Festival of Symphonic Music(Algeria), Ankara Music Festival (Turkey), International Music Festival byLudwig van Beethoven (Poland), but also Ukrainian festivals like “Season MusicPremiers”, KyivMusicFest, GogolFest, ChamberArtMusic.
In recognition of the orchestra’s activity representingUkrainian culture abroad, “Kyiv Soloists” received the title of “NationalEnsemble” of Ukraine.
For distinguished accomplishments representing Ukrainianculture in the world, the Ensemble received the title of “Ambassador ofUkrainian culture in the World” by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.
The main performances
1999 November – Germany. Ruhr Festival of Classical Music. Concerts in Berlinand Munich.
2000 September – Poland. International Festival of Contemporary Music “WarsawAutumn”.
2001 July – Austria. Grand Prix at XXX Vienna InternationalFestival-Competition and first prizes in nominations “Chamber Orchestras” and“All Orchestras”.
2001 September – Germany. World premiere of the cantata of Philip Emanuel Bach“A Grateful Hymn of Friendship” with the choir of the Berlin Singing Chapel(Comic Opera Hall, Berlin)
2001 and 2003 – Japan A tour of Japanese cities, including Tokyo and Kyoto.Record a CD of one of the concerts.
2005 August – Japan. World Exhibition “Expo-2005”. Concert in the centralexhibition hall “Expo Plaza”.
2005 September – France, Paris. Performances at the Madeleine Church, Senateand UNESCO Conference Hall.
December 2005 – Singapore. Days of Ukraine in Singapore. Concert in theEsplanade Hall.
2006 October – Austria. Concert at RadioKulturhaus (Vienna) on the occasion ofthe opening of the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Austria.
2008 March – Poland. Concert tour of the cities of Poland in the framework ofthe XII International Music Festival. L. van Beethoven
January, January – Concert of the ensemble on the occasion of Ukraine’sinauguration of the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE
August, August – Concert at the Congress Center Le Regent in Carnegie Montana(Switzerland)
2017, April – 34th International Music Festival in Ankara (Turkey)
2017, November – Concert at the Warsaw Philharmonic (Poland)
2018, January – Concert at Milan Conservatory J. Verdi (Italy)