VILIMAS NORKŪNAS (Organ, Lithuania)
Mr Vilimas Norkūnas was fascinated by old music in 2002 in Salzburg (Austria), studying organ and sacred music at the University of Mozarteum (in the class of Prof. Heribert Metzger). Here he began learning to play harpsichord, clavichord, hammerklavier and study bass continuo. In 2006, Mr Vilimas Norkūnas won the 1st prize at the Young Organist Competition of J. Žukas. Since 2008, he has continued his studies at the University of Arts in Graz, where he received a Master’s degree in Sacred Music and Organ (2011) in the organ class of Prof. Ulrich Walther, and in 2012 – a Master of Choral Conducting (in the class of Prof. Johannes Prinz). In 2014, he graduated with honours harpsichord studies (in the class of Prof. Michael Hell), during which he paid special attention to bass continuo and studied the subtleties of chamber music.
He performed with the Styrian Baroque Orchestra “Neue Hofkapelle Graz” (Austria), Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra (2009), St. Christopher’s Orchestra, Consort “Brevis”, choirs “Young Music”, “Brevis”, “Aukuras”, and various ensembles. He participated in the International Old Music Festival in Lyon (France).
Mr Vilimas is one of the founders and members of the old music ensemble “Chiaroscuro”. Together with this ensemble he appeared at the international festival “Banchetto Musicale 2015”. The band travels around Lithuania with a theatrical musical program “Affetti Musicale”. The ensemble embellished the Salos Music Festival with its program “Rosa das Rosas”, prepared and presented the program for C. Ph. Emmanuel Bach’s 300th Birthday.
Norkūnas also held a number of concerts with baroque violin virtuoso Ūla Kinderyte (JAV).
TOMAS AMBROZAITIS (Conductor, Lithuania)
Mr Tomas Ambrozaitis has graduated from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, he is a Master of Music, Art Licentiate and Associate Professor at Klaipėda University. He has had a professional internship at Leipzig’s Feliks Mendelsohn Bartholdy Higher Music and Theatre Academy, and participates regularly in various refresher courses in Lithuania and abroad.
Since 2001 he has been working pedagogical work and conducting various music groups such as Klaipėda Mixed Choir “Aukuras”, Klaipėda Concert Hall Chamber Orchestra, etc. In 2011 – 2016 he led the State Chamber Choir of Šiauliai “Polifonija”.
Since 2015 he has been conductor of Klaipėda Youth Symphony Orchestra, and since 2016 – Associate Professor at Klaipėda Music Academy and conductor of Klaipėda State Musical Theatre. In 2017, he was appointed to be a Chief Conductor of this theatre.
Since 2005, Mr Tomas Ambrozaitis has been a member of the Lithuanian Choral Union, has been a member of Klaipėda City Culture Council for a number of years and since 2015 has been an expert-consultant for the choirs of the Folk Culture Centre of Lithuania.
Concert programs include concert programs and art projects with Klaipėda Boys and Youth Choir “Gintarėlis” and Šiauliai State Chamber Choir “Polifonija” with various orchestras in Lithuania and abroad (Germany, Austria, Latvia, Croatia, etc.), which he has prepared and implemented.
Song festivals play a special role in Mr Tomas Ambrozaitis’ creative biography, where he has periodically been the chief conductor of the Song Day since 2007.
As an art expert and evaluator, Mr. Tomas Ambrozaitis participates in the evaluation commissions of various competitions and festivals as well as Song Celebrations.
He is the artistic director of the International Festival “Resurrexit“.
With Šiauliai State Chamber Choir “Polifonija”, he prepared and released the following CDs: “Lithuanian Motet”, Nijolė Sinkevičiūtė’s “Oi, ant kalno”, Donatas Zakaras’ “Nors žvaigžde tu pakiltum …”.
During the 2016-2017 concert season, having become the chief conductor of the Klaipėda Musical Theater, he produced 5 premieres: G. Puccini’s “La bohème”, P. Tchaikovsky’s “Iolanta”, A. Adam “Giselle”, R. Leoncavallo’s opera “Pagliacci”, G. Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville”. He also continues the programs presented by other conductors: J. Liepinš’s “Paris Cathedral”, the program of J. Strauss’ waltzes, “The Beatles Show“, the program of M. K. Čiurlionis’ works.
In 2017, Mr. Ambrozaitis was awarded the Queen Luise Medal for his merits in Klaipeda City education and culture.
In the 2017-2018 concert season, two national premieres were on stage at Kaunas State Musical Theatre: opera by G. Kuprevičius “Prūsai” (Prussians) and opera by A. Kučinskas for children “Žvaigždžių opera” (Star Opera).
The conductor began the year 2019 with a solemn concert designated to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the composer E. Balsys, where the first concert for violin and orchestra as well as the Symphony Suite under the Ballet “Eglė žalčių karalienė” (Egle the Queen of Grass-snakes) were performed. The musical works were performed by violinist Lina Maria Songailė and Kaunas State Musical Theatre Orchestra.
He participates actively in the country’s musical life promoting Lithuanian choral music.
ŠIAULIAI STATE CHAMBER CHOIR „POLIFONIJA“
Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Tomas Ambrozaitis
Like a human being, the choir has its life stages. When the age of the choir approaches the age of 45, the most important stages are highlighted. 1974 – early childhood, when the old music ensemble founded by the choirmasters Danutė Vaičiulionienė and Sigitas Vaičiulionis performed their first concert, where music of Renaissance and Baroque epochs was performed, in the hall of Šiauliai Pedagogical Institute on 31 December. 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 “Polifoniją“ 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, Robert Šervenikas, Ravil Martynov (Russia), Vladimir Begletsov (Russia) , Karmina Silec (Slovenia), Georg Mais (Germany), Mats Nilsson Sinden (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.
ANSAMBLIS „AR‘S MUSICA“ (Lithuania)
“AR’s Musica“ is a chamber ensemble that unites professional musicians, and baroque music has become the centre of this ensemble. “AR’s Musica“ was born from the desire to create an intangible space for such musical art that would rise, lead to light, joy, harmony – and such is Baroque music, ”says flutist Andrius Radziukynas, the initiator of the ensemble. However, the ensemble is not limited to such music – the members of “AR’s Musica” are constantly looking for a playful, creative relationship with various genres, combining remarkable classical works with the creation of contemporary composers, looking for parallels, new forms and opportunities of interpretation.
The ensemble prepares two new programs per year, performs at Vilnius Congress Hall, Kaunas State Philharmonic Hall, music festival Resurrexit organised by Šiauliai State Choir “Polifonija”, and events of Lithuanian Writers’ Union. In 2018, the members of the band, who had been playing together for several years, decided to name themselves “AR’s Musica”. “The word“ ars „translated from Latin means “art”, “skill”, but the meaning of its Indo-European root is also “to be together”, “to unite”. “Hence, all of us here are connected by the art of music”, says Mr A. Radziukynas.
The members of “AR’s Musica” also play in other well-known chamber ensembles: Mr Andrius Puplauskis – in St. Christopher’s Quintet, Ms Ieva Sipaitytė – in “Chordos” Quartet, Ms Toma Bandzaityte and Mr Ričardas Vytas – in “Musica Humana”, Mr Povilas Jacunskas – in trio “FortVio”, Mr Arnas Kmieliauskas – in ensembles “Microorkéstra” and “Twenty Fingers Duo”. All musicians of the ensemble are the members of the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra (art director and chief conductor Gintaras Rinkevičius).
ZAGREB GUITAR QUARTET (Croatia)
Zagreb Guitar Quartet was founded in 1990, when Prof. Ante Čagalj, a renowned guitar teacher and artistic director, assembled his best students in that ensemble. After a few changes, the Quartet has maintained the present-day line-up: Tomislav Vasilj, Krunoslav Pehar, Melita Ivković and Frane Verbanac.
The Quartet has performed intensely in thirty countries on four continents, such as the USA, Canada, Russia, China, India, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, and in numerous European music centres, such as London, Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Milan, Florence, Trieste, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Brussels, Prague, Bratislava, Vienna, Graz, Ljubljana, Maribor, and Sarajevo. This experienced ensemble of young musicians has successfully participated in several prestigious international competitions; they were absolute winners of three of them: in Tortona (Italy, 1996), in Viareggio (Italy, 1998) and the Grand Prix in Przemyśl (Poland, 1998), after which Zbigniew Dubiella wrote in the Swiat Gitary magazine: For many years I haven’t heard something so exciting… after their performance, all one can do is go out and exclaim: Viva guitarra!
In 1998, the Quartet won the Ivan Lukačić Award for the best festival performance at the Varaždin Baroque Evenings. Two years later, the audience of the same festival was treated to the world premiere of Bach’s The Art of the Fugue arranged for four guitars, which received rave reviews from Colin Cooper, the editor of the Classical Guitar magazine, who wrote: It was one of the most extraordinary and vivid experiences including the guitar I can remember.
The Quartet performs a huge stylistically coherent repertoire that ranges from Renaissance and Baroque masters to contemporary authors, without hesitating to perform pieces of jazz or world music, as well as brilliant arrangements of traditional pieces from Croatian coast and mainland. In addition, the ensemble distinguished themselves by paying great attention to contemporary composers; thus, ten Croatian composers (Brkanović, Miletić, Marković, Klobučar, Uhlik, Sunko, Josipović, Seletković, Majurec, Skender) dedicated their original pieces to the ensemble, as well as the Kosovar composer Valton Beqiri. They have released 2 CDs: Da fuga a milonga (2005) and Preludes and Fugues (2014); broadcast on a number of international radio channels, including BBC Radio 3 and Vatican Radio.
LINA MARIJA SONGAILĖ (Violin, Lithuania)
Ms Lina Marija Songailė (Domarkaitė) is a young generation violinist, laureate of competitions, performing actively in Europe and beyond. In 2014-2018, she was a member of the Grammy award-winning orchestra “Kremerata Baltica”, led by legendary violinist Gidon Kremer. She has played with this orchestra in the world’s most famous concert halls (Carnegie Hall, Suntory Hall, Elbphilharmonie, Berliner Philharmonie, Musikverein).
Ms Lina Marija is a graduate of Klaipėda Eduardas Balsys Art Gymnasium (the violin class of the teacher Ms Saulutė Domarkienė). In 2006-2008 she studied at the Imola Music Academy “In Contri col Maestro” in Italy. The violinist studied at the prestigious European universities of arts: in 2012 she graduated from the “Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Graz” with a bachelor’s degree (violin class by Prof. Silvia Marcovici). In 2014, she received her Master’s degree with the highest marks in Switzerland, “Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana”, Lugano (violin class by Prof. Pavel Berman).
Ms Lina Marija Songailė is a laureate of many national and international competitions: she won the 1st prize, and the name of the most prominent Lithuanian performer at the international competition “Gradus ad Parnassum” in Kaunas, the 1st prize at “Gasparo da Salo” festival in Italy. Successful solo performances at international festivals: “Vladimir Spivakov Invites” (Russia), “Gasparo da Salo” (Italy), “Pažaislis Music Festival”, “Livorno Music Festival” (Italy) and others. She has plaid solo with chamber and symphony orchestras in Lithuania and abroad in cooperation with the conductors prof. S. Sondeckis, I. Lapinsch, A. Kruzkov, P. Berman.
Ms Lina Marija has perfected herself with violin art masters: Ivry Gitlis, Liana Issakadze, Yuri Mazurkevich, Dana Pomeransaitė-Mazurkevich, Ayke Agus, Zakhar Bron.
She is a member of “Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester“ (2013), European Philharmonic of Switzerland (2017).
In 2014, the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania issued an order granting Ms Lina Marija the status of art creator.
Since 2017, the violinist teaches at the LAMT Faculty of Klaipėda (2017-2018 Klaipėda University Academy of Arts) and Klaipėda Eduardas Balsys Art Gymnasium.
QUATUOR AKILONE (France)
Reputed for the deep and poetic vision of the works they tackle, Quatuor Akilone stands up for the vast string quartet repertoire with musicality, cleverness and imagination. It is both a human and a musical adventure that was born in 2011 in Paris.
An award-winning quartet, laureate of the Premier Grand Prix of the 8th Concours international de Quatuor à Cordes from Bordeaux and of the ProQuartet prize in May 2016, Quatuor Akilone has since been touring in Europe and Japan. They performed in venues such as the Wigmore Hall in London, the Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista in Venice, the Munetsugu Hall in Nagoya, the Maison de la Radio and the Salle Cortot in Paris and in festivals such as Les Vacances de Monsieur Haydn, the Orangerie de Sceaux or the Festival des Arcs.
The young ensemble also thrives through their associations with other musicians like Vladimir Mendelssohn, Tabea Zimmermann, Avri Levitan, Jérôme Pernoo, David Walter, Florent Héau, Jean-François Heisser et Pavel Gililov.
They have trained with great chamber-music artists such as Hatto Beyerle, Johannes Meissl, and Vladimir Mendelssohn, as well as renowned quartets like Quatuors Ysaÿe, Rosamunde, and Ebène. The quartet also benefits from Mathieu Herzog’s valuable advices.
Alongside their international career, Quatuor Akilone reaches out to a wider audience, less accustomed to classical music concerts, thanks to the Concerts de Poche association and Musethica.
Their first CD has been released in November 2018 with Mirare.
They have been an Alumni member of the ECMA and an artist in-residence at Proquartet-CEMC since 2016, generation Spedidam and laureate of the Fondation Banque Populaire since 2017. The Quartet has been selected to take part in the project Le Dimore del Quartetto.
WOJCIECH WALECZEK (Piano, Poland)
Wojciech Waleczek is recognized internationally as a pianist with uncompromisingly high standards in performance. Artist, born in 1980, has been pursuing a robust concert career playing as soloist with symphonic orchestras, solo piano recitals and chamber music concerts in the 26 countries Europe as well as in Kazachstan, Jordan, Tunesia, Palestina, Algeria, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Argentina, Guyana, Suriname, Canada and the USA.
He has appeared as a soloist with the orchestras of the following philharmonics: Bydgoszcz, Kalisz, Karlovy Vary, Kielce, Koszalin, Lublin, Łódź, Opole, Rzeszów, Toruń, Szczecin, Wałbrzych, Wrocław, Zabrze, Sinfonia Iuventus, Polish Chamber Philharmonic Sopot, Capella Bydgostiensis, Beethoven Academy Orchestra in Cracow, Polish Radio Orchestra in Warsaw, Elbląg Chamber Orchestra, Kaposvar Symphony Orchestra, National Chamber Orchestra of Moldova, Amman Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic Orchestra of Academic Theatre in Briest. He co-operated with many conductors, including: M. J. Błaszczyk, Ł. Borowicz, K. Bumann, G. Chmura, S. Chrzanowski, M. Diadiura, M. Dworzyński, C. Joon-Gun, M. Gawroński, Cz. Grabowski, I. Hobson, G. Kerenyi, V. Kiradijev, J. Kosek, M. Lebel, M. Nesterowicz, M. Metelska, O. Palymsky, D. Pavilionis, M. Pijarowski, P. Przytocki, W. Rajski, J. Rogala, Z. Rychert, J. Salwarowski, M. Sidiq, R. Silva, M. Smolij, A. Sosnovsky, M. Sugar, P. Veneri, T. Wojciechowski, M. Wolniewski, J. M. Zarzycki, M. Żółtowski, B. Żurakowski.
In 2014 Waleczek`s chamber music album recorded together with violinist Voytek Proniewicz “Liszt – music for violin and piano” was released by Naxos.
In 2017 his solo cd “Liszt-Etudes de Paganini, Transcendental Etudes after Paganini” was released by Austrian record label Capriccio.
DIANA TIŠKOVAITĖ (Singer, Lithuania)
Ms Diana Tiškovaitė is a singer (soprano), head of the association „Power of Music“, who participated in opera presentations with the Baltic Chamber Opera Theatre, Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre, Baroque Opera Theatre, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, Klaipėda Musical Theatre Orchestra, Kaunas Musical Theatre Orchestra, Šiauliai Chamber Orchestra, “ Vilnius Sinfonietta” Orchestra. Recently she has been actively promoting the genre of sacral theater, performing as a chamber musician and participant in various projects.
NOMEDA BĖČIŪTĖ (Actress, Lithuania)
Ms Nomeda Bėčiūtė – a theatre and television actress, educologist. She has created over 50 roles in the State Šiauliai Drama Theatre. Participates in various projects, literature evenings, conducts events, shares the secrets of actor excellence in lectures and seminars.
REGINA MAROZIENĖ (Kanklės, Lithuania)
Ms Regina Marozienė is a kanklės (Lithuanian plucked string instrument (chordophone)) player, a laureate of national and international competitions, organising solo concerts, actively performing in Lithuania and abroad as a member of various collectives. Has played with the support of Klaipėda Chamber, Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, the Wind Instruments Orchestra of Šiauliai City. She plays with various types of kankles (folk, concert, electric).
KASPARS ZEMĪTIS (Guitar, Latvia)
Kaspars Zemītis was born on 14th February, 1973. His first instrumental training was on the clarinet at Cesis children’s musical school. Later on he studied saxophone at Cesis Music College and Jāzepa Mediņa Riga Music College under the guidance of the professor Artis Sīmaņis.
He has acquired his guitar skills as a self-taught and playing in different groups. In 2008 he studied classical guitar play with associate professor Julius Kurauskas and has graduated from Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music as a teacher of classic guitar play.
Kaspars has improved his knowledge and guitar skills at guitar master classes led by Alexander Vinicky (Russia), G. Grani (Italy). Since 2011 K. Zemitis is the first to acquire Master’s degree at classic guitar in Latvian Academy of Music.
He has collaborated with many acknowledged Latvian orchestra, choirs, musicians and groups, also been involved in a number of various musical projects, works also as studio musician and has active concert life.
More than 20 years teaches guitar privately. Presently Kaspars is a lector at the Jāzeps Vītols Academy of Music. Actively takes part in educational activities and himself is initiator and leads the summer camps for children and youth to popularise the guitar playing.
Mana lūgšana / My prayer, 2017
Vētra klusumā / Storm in the Silence, 2018
POVILAS VANŽODIS (Conductor, Lithuania)
In 2014, Mr Povilas Vanžodis (born in 1995) graduated from Kaunas Juozas Gruodis’ Conservatory the studies of choir conducting (lecturer Ramutė Štreimikytė). He is now studying choral conducting at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre in the class of Professor Vytautas Miškinis. He is a national winner of various choir conductor competitions.
While studying in Kaunas, he worked as a choirmaster for a mixed youth choir Exaudi (founded in 2011). In 2015, he was a choir master of the international choir in the world youth project MAGIS (Poland). In 2016, he took part in and won the competition for the position of an artistic director and conductor of the mixed youth choir Exaudi. Since then, he with the choir has performed choral music from various world composers and periods, has organized concerts in Lithuania and abroad. The Choir Exaudi presented the composition of The Face of Christ by Vaclovas Augustinas to Lithuanian audience for the first time and recorded a CD thereof.
While studying in Vilnius, he led the Adoramus Choir of St. John’s Brothers Church for one year (head Imantas Šimkus). Since 2014, he is a singer of a professional chamber choir “Jauna muzika” (Young Music, headed by Vaclovas Augustinas) and a conductor and singer of the God’s Mercy Shrine Ensemble performing the early music of various nations. In 2016, he started singing at the old music vocal ensemble Ignis (headed by Vilimas Norkūnas), with this ensemble he won a gold diploma in the international choir music festival Kaunas Musica Religiosa in 2018. In the same year, he prepared the amateur choir of Swedbank employees to participate in the Song Festival of Lithuania.
ARSIS HANDBELL ENSEMBLE (Estonia)
Arsis Handbell Ensemble was developed from the chamber choir “Arsis” in 1993. Today ensemble consists of 8 members and owns one of the most impressive bell collections in the world, all produced at the Malmark factory in the USA. In addition to the main staff, Arsis has youth ensembles and handbell schools in Tallinn and Tartu.
The ensemble has toured in different places of the world – South Africa, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, England, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Canada, Belgium, USA, Portugal, Poland, Holland, China, and Lebanon. Arsis has performed in many music festivals, like Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, The Festival Classique des Hautes-Laurentides in Canada, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in Germany, Probaltica festival in Poland, Baltic Music Festival in China, Al Bustan festival in Lebanon, etc. In Eisteddfod festival in Republic of South Africa the ensemble was honoured with the highest prize Grand Prix.
The most prestigious halls that have hosted Arsis are the Grand Hall of St Petersburg Philharmonic, Oslo Concert Hall, Shanghai City Theater, El Pardo Palace in Madrid, the concert in the latter was attended by the Spanish Royal Couple.
Co-operation partners: Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Estonian National Male Choir, the Boys’ Choir of the Estonian National Opera, opera soloists Rauno Elp, Oliver Kuusik, Kristel Pärtna, et alia. Canadian guitar virtuoso Rémi Boucher has performed with Arsis in the USA, Canada, Germany and Holland.
Arsis is playing mostly arrangements of classical music but also a lot of original music. Eight CDs have been released by now.
JOVITA VAŠKEVIČIŪTĖ (Mezzosoprano, Lithuania)
Ms Jovita Vaškevičiūtė graduated from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre in 2004. Soon after she served an internship at the LNOBT’s Opera Studio studying with prof. V. Noreika for two years, Ms. Vaškevičiūtė made her debut at the LNOBT in 2006 as Ulrica “Un ballo in maschera” by Verdi. She currently sins at the Vanemuine Theatre in Estonia, various Latvian theatres, collaborating with Lithuanian National Symphony and Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestras. She is also performing in Russia, Italia, Germany, Spain, and USA.
Ms Vaškevičiūtė won an award “Operos Švyturiai” in the category “The Hope of the Opera of the Year” in 2006, for her role of Suzuki in Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly”, directed by Anthony Minghella.
Dominga de Adviento in the opera “Love and Other Demons” by Eötvös was the role that brought incredible success to Ms. Vaškevičiūtė and launched her successful career in Europe. “Love and Other Demons” was presented in Cologne in 2010 and the soloist was invited by the composer himself to sing the role of Dominga in the premiere. Later Ms J. Vaškevičiūtė made her debut as Dominga in Strasbourg (France). The first two premieres were conducted by P. Eötvös himself, who claimed that J. Vaškevičiūtė was the best Dominga he knew. Jovita was invited to Cologne again in 2014, to perform the role of Pasqualita in the opera “Doctor Atomic” by Adams. Same year later she participated in the Macao Festival (China) in a tour with the Latvian National Opera.
She was invited to sing Amneris in six performances of “Aida” presented at the Cologne Opera and to perform G. Verdi’s “Requiem”.(būtų gerai pamatyti lietuvišką tekstą, neteigiu, kad čia blogai, bet man atrodo kažkas ne taip)
Ms Vaškevičiūtė made her debut at the “Teatro de la Maestranza” (Spain) with the role of Pasqualita in the opera “Doctor Atomic” by Adams in 2015.
She was nominated for the “Golden Cross of the Stage” awards for her depictions of Azucena in “Il trovatore” by Verdi, Countess / Marquis in O. Narbutaitė’s “Cornet” and Mother in Humperdinck’s “Hansel und Gretel”.
In 2017, the soloist was invited to perform Dominga in the opera “Love and Other Demons” by Eötvös at the Hungarian State Opera. She made her debut in one of the famous theatres in the world “Teatro Colón Buenos Aires” as Olga in opera “Try Sestry” by Eötvös in 2018. In 2019, Jovita made her debut as Liubasha in “The Tsar’s Bride” by N. Rimsky-Korsakov in the Estonian National Opera.
LIUDAS MIKALAUSKAS (Bass, Lithuania)
Mr Liudas Mikalauskas is a soloist in the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre, Kaunas State Musical Theatre. He is one of the most famous Lithuanian basses of the younger generation, immensely loved by the audience because of the exceptional timbre of his voice and his artistry.
In 2011, he graduated from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre Kaunas Faculty, and Vytautas Magnus University Music Academy, the class of prof. Sabina Martinaitytė. He has become the winner of Grand Prix and First prizes in 12 international singing competitions; the most famous among them were: the 2nd International Adam Didur Opera Singers’ Competition (Ist Prize, Poland), the 13th Ada Sari International Vocal Artistry Competition (2nd Prize, Poland), the 8th International Contest in the name of I. J. Jurjeva (1st Prize, Estonia), International Singing Competition “The 21st Century Art” (Grand Prix, Ukraine), the 2nd international singing contest “Window to Europe” (Grand Prix, Russia). He was awarded the Prize of the Ministry of Culture of Lithuania for the Best Professional Art Debut in 20016. In 2007, he did an internship at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in the UK.
He plays roles in all Lithuanian opera ant musical theatres. He has currently prepared various roles in more than 30 productions, the most notable of them: Figaro in Mozart’s opera “Le Nozze di Figaro”, Raimondo in G. Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor”, Mephistopheles in Ch. Gounod’s opera “Faust”, Don Basilio and Don Bartolo in G. Rossini’s opera “The Barber of Seville”, Dulcamara in G. Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’Amore”, Philip II in G. Verdi’s opera “Don Carlos”, Leporello in W. A. Mozart’s opera “Don Giovanni”, Father Lawrence in Ch. Gounod’s opera “Romeo et Juliette”.
Currently, he has prepared more than 25 large-scale works: K. Penderecki “Polish Requiem”, “Dies Illa” and “Credo”, J. S. Bach Johannes passion and mass h-moll, G. Rossini “Stabat Mater”, G. Puccini “Messa di Gloria”, G. Faure “Requiem”, G. F. Handel “Messiah”, F. Mendelssohn “Elias”, B. Britten “War Requiem”, L. van Beethoven symphony Nr. 9 d-moll, op. 125, C. Orff “Carmina Burana”. He participates in international festivals in Lithuania, USA, Poland, Estonia, Ukraine, Russia, Germany, Great Britain, Sweden, Slovenia. In September – December 2008, Liudas participated in the musical project of Lithuanian National Television “Triumphal arch”, where he became the winner and received the title“ Lithuanian Golden Voice”.
TOMAS PAVILIONIS (Tenor, Lithuania)
Mr Tomas Pavilionis is a Lithuanian singer, soloist (leading tenor) at the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre. Tomas’s musical activities started in the Music School of Kaunas where he studied choral conducting. From this time, he was selected as a laureate of multiple local singer competitions, including the national children song competition “Dainų dainelė” (The Song of Songs) or the vocal competition of Stasys Baras (in 2009, 2010). In 2010, Tomas graduated from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre with a master’s degree in vocal studies (prof. V. Juozapaitis’s class). His debut as a professional artist was marked in 2009 in the Klaipeda State Music Theatre, where he worked until 2014. Tomas regularly participates in classical music projects and improves his professional skills taking international master classes. He worked with such famous vocal coaches as Paolo de Napoli, Vincenzo Manno, Mauro Augustini, Elena Kerl, Roman Sadnik. T. Pavilionis is a regular guest singer in the largest Lithuanian orchestras and music theatres and a frequent performer in Lithuania and foreign countries (USA, South Korea, China and Europe).
In 2016, he sang and recorded a CD in G. Verdi’s opera “Rigoletto” together with famous opera stars Dmitri Chvorostovsky, Nadine Sierra, Francesco Demuro, Oksana Volkova, Andrea Mastroni.
In 2017 he sang and recorded CD – V. Bellini opera “I Puritani” together with Lawrence Brownlee, Sarah Coburn, Azamat Zheltyrguzov.
In 2017 and 2018, he sang Lensky (in the opera “Eugene Onegin” by P. Tchaikovsky) and Gala concert in Krasnoyarsk Dmitri Chvorostovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre in the festival dedicated to Dmitri Chvorostovsky.
VIKTORIJA MIŠKŪNAITĖ (Soprano, Lithuania)
“She’s not a star. She is a radiant diamond that you can enjoy at close range”, – these words were repeated by a former Salzburg artistic director and former director of the Berlin State Opera, a director Mr J. Flimm known as the lively legend of German theatre after being interviewed after the premiere of “Didone Abbandonata”) on 5 August 2018 by Austrian TV ORF.
Ms Miškūnaitė is the soloist of the new generation Lithuanian opera, the beloved of the audience, the title of the swan was given to her by the press, the new prima donna of the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre, even twice awarded with the highest assessment of the theatre of the country – the Golden Cross of the Stage (in 2015 and 2017), twice recognised as the best opera soloist of the Year in Lithuania (in 2015 and 2017), and she has also received wide international recognition. The audience admired her voice at the Gewandhaus concert hall, as well as theatres and festivals in Italy, Austria, Germany, Estonia, Latvia, France and Switzerland. The soloist herself says that music is her greatest passion for life.
LITHUANIAN NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA (Lithuania)
Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Modestas Pitrėnas
Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra (LNSO) has been active for more than seven decades. Leadership of Vilnius City Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1940, was entrusted to a famous composer and conductor Balys Dvarionas. In 1964, a new stage started with a young conductor Juozas Domarkas, who took his place at the orchestra’s podium. After the restoration of Lithuania’s independence, in 1990 the Orchestra was given the name and status of the National Symphony Orchestra.
The Orchestra prepares and performs symphonic music programs not only in the National Philharmonic, but also in various Lithuanian cities. For many years it has carried on with Palanga Summer Concert Series, Michał Ogiński International Music Festival in Plungė, as well as represented the Lithuanian culture abroad: concerts were given in prestigious halls in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Minsk, Madrid, Berlin, Bern, Antwerp and Stockholm, in the major cities of Great Britain, France, in particular great number of concerts took the Orchestra to neighbouring Poland. The Orchestra also appeared in Schleswig-Holstein Festival in Germany, “Prague Spring” in the Czech Republic, “Musica Romantica” in Switzerland and other famous European music festivals and concert halls, such as the Musikverein in Vienna, London’s Barbican Centre, Cologne Philharmonic, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Moscow Conservatory Great Hall and Suntory Hall in Tokyo. In 2013, for the first time the Orchestra toured in South America (Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador), performed in the ceremonial opening and closing of the Lithuanian Presidency of the European Council in Klara Festival (Brussels) and Bialystok Philharmonic in Poland.
The LNSO has accumulated an extensive, colourful and significant repertoire, embracing works of oratorio genre and symphonic opuses of the past epochs as well as modern contemporary music with the works by the Lithuanian composers occupying an important place. Since 1991, the Orchestra has been a regular participant of the Contemporary Music Festival “Gaida”, annually presenting premières by the Lithuanian composers. It could be claimed, that almost all of the symphonic works by the Lithuanian composers were premièred by the LNSO, many of them are dedicated to maestro Juozas Domarkas. Thanks to the maestro, a large part of the Lithuanian music today sounds not only in the concerts but also from many recordings released in Lithuania and abroad (“Melodiya“, “Marco Polo“, “Col legno“, “Ella Records“, “Naxos“).
Playing around 50 annual concerts, the LNSO nurtures unique traditions significantly contributing to fostering of the high music culture, encouraging the artistic ambitions of young Lithuanian composers and performers, indulging the audience with both large-scale opuses, certifying the Orchestra’s maturity, and the symphonic miniatures, prompting imagination of the listeners.
KAUNAS STATE CHOIR (Lithuania)
Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Petras Bingelis
The Kaunas State Choir – one of the most prominent prestigious and representative Lithuanian collectives – has been in existence for about five decades. It has been led by Petras Bingelis – the initiator of the choir’s coming into the world, the winner of the Lithuanian National Culture and Art Award, and the Professor of the Vytautas Magnus University Music Academy – since the formation of the collective up to now. The volume of the choir repertoire with a distinct sound quality and a particularly wide dynamic range is approaching the scores of large volumes of vocal-instrumental works belonging to two hundred world music classics treasures. Having started the activity in the concert halls of the country and in the prestigious areas of the former Soviet Union, the collective shortly gained international recognition. The concert activity became especially active when the choir started collaborating with legendary conductor and violinist Lord Yehudi Menuhin. The media of the world culture then started announcing the Kaunas State Choir as the greatest musical discovery. The productive period of close collaboration with conductor Justus Frantz, tours in European countries, friendship with Mstislav Rostropovich, composer Krzysztof Penderecki and other celebrities of the world of music followed continuing up to this day. The number of performances of the collective has already exceeded three thousand – more than 75,000 listeners listened to Carl Orff’s cantata “Carmina Burana” in the stadium of Berlin, George Friedrich Handel’s oratorio “Messiah” has been performed for more than 80 times, the choir participated in the production of Giacomo Puccini’s opera “Tosca” during the stay in Macao (China) and they are invited to participate in the opera staging projects of “Vilnius City Opera”. Due to the high choral mastery and the ability to perform the most complex works, the Kaunas State Choir’s tours abroad are intensive. The professional collective’s attitude to work leaves the biggest impressions on partners, therefore, the offers to collaborate are received repeatedly. The choir is a regular participant in events dedicated to the State celebrations and festive occasions, and the listeners listening to the Lithuanian Radio start every morning with the broadcasted National Anthem performed by the choir.
VILNIUS CHOIR (Lithuania)
Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Artūras Dambrauskas
The choir Vilnius is a professional collective famous for its high performance culture, versatility and educational activities. The choir goes hand in hand with today’s topicalities of art, but does not forget the fundamentals of the classics of past epochs. An exceptional feature of the choir is the synthesis of creativity and professionalism, the ability to convey music to different audiences, the implementation of non-traditional events and projects. All this has led to that Vilnius is recognised as one of the best choirs in Lithuania. The choir Vilnius pays a special attention to the spread of Lithuanian music – the premieres of contemporary Lithuanian composers are prepared annually, and exclusive works reach the recording studio.
The choir Vilnius has already released 15 CDs, more than 300 tracks are stored in the funds of Lithuanian National Radio and Television.
The Chief Conductor of Vilnius Choir is Mr Artūras Dambrauskas, a famous Lithuanian choir conductor and educator
The conductor of Vilnius Choir is Mr Giedrius Pavilionis
The head of Vilnius Vocal Ensemble is Mr Marius Turlajus