Raminta Šerkšnytė

Raminta Šerkšnytė’s music is distinguished for its one-of-a-kind beauty, created by Baltic mysticism and melancholy. The search for and coexistence of archetypes from both Western and Eastern cultures, and the fusion of major and minor are inherent in her music. Raminta seems to draw the audience into a broad range of emotions, from meditation to dramatic expression. Her main sources of inspiration come from nature and the varying states of the human mind. “My connection with Raminta Šerkšnytė’s music is very personal. Probably what fascinates me most is the poetic quality and the mystery of this composer and her work. The “Ramintacism”, the minor thirds. Her personal voice. This voice is also of the highest value in an international context, and her music deserves to reach the widest possible audience” – said her compatriot Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, principal conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO).

Vortex - Vortex

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Vortex - Vortex

zoom in 3: new music from Lithuania - Oriental Elegy. Lament

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zoom in 3: new music from Lithuania - Oriental Elegy. Lament

St.Christopher Chamber Orchestra - De profundis

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St.Christopher Chamber Orchestra - De profundis

Juozas Rimas. Lithuanian Auletics - Adieu

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Juozas Rimas. Lithuanian Auletics - Adieu

zoom in 5: new music from Lithuania - Mountains in the Mist

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zoom in 5: new music from Lithuania - Mountains in the Mist

Biography

Raminta Šerkšnytė (b. 1975) graduated from the Kaunas Juozas Naujalis Music School in 1994, having specialised in piano (under Rymantė Šerkšnytė), composition and music theory. In 2000 she completed her Master's degree in composition at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre under Prof. Osvaldas Balakauskas; she also participated in a number of master classes in composition given by Louis Andriessen, Helmut Lachenmann, Pascal Dusapin, among others, in various European countries.

In 2008 Raminta Šerkšnytė was the recipient of the Lithuanian National Prize, awarded for achievements in culture and the arts. In 2011 she was the laureate of the composition competition Coup de Coeur des Jeunes Musiciens (Monaco). In 2005 and 2011 her compositions Vortex and Midsummer Song became recommended works at the International Rostrum of Composers organised by UNESCO in Vienna. Amongst her other important prizes are: first place at the Juozas Gruodis Composers' Competition (1995), the Golden Cross of the Stage Lithuanian Composers' Union (as theatre composer of the year, 2005); finalist at the Gaudeamus Competition (Amsterdam, 2005); three-time prize winner in the best composition of the year competition organised by the Lithuanian Composers' Union (2003, 2006 ir 2012).

Both as a composer and a pianist (performing her own work) Raminta Šerkšnytė regularly takes part in contemporary music events. Her music, performed by the orchestra Kremerata Baltica, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under the conductor Mariss Jansons, the violinist Irvine Arditti and the Arditti Quartet, Les Percussions de Strasbourg, and other musicians, has been heard throughout Europe, as well as in Asia, North and South America, and Australia in concert halls, such as the Wiener Musikverein, the Berlin Philharmonie, the Lincoln Center (New York), and elsewhere. Raminta Šerkšnytė's works have been presented at many festivals, among them, ISCM World New Music Days (Zagreb, Hong Kong, Vilnius, Ghent, Tongyeong), Gaudeamus Music Week (Amsterdam), Klangspuren Schwaz (Austria), and the Vilnius Gaida festival.

The composer has always been concerned with finding her own solutions as regards musical form and mastering the flow of musical time (so the composition would from the very beginning draw one into its field of suggestion to avoid any dramatically insignificant moments), with forming her own harmonic language (it is, as it were, 'non-traditional tonality', often based on the simultaneous coexistence of major and minor), with understanding the various aspects of instrumentation (according to the composer herself, she itches, like a watercolourist, with the desire to elicit the widest range of sound shades).

Her Oriental Elegy for string quartet written in 2002 with its unexpected break in style surprised many of her listeners, who had already for a long time been following her work and her development: up to till then the lush postromantic soundscapes that had been dominant in her music were replaced by a complicated (but emotional, perhaps even more affective) musical expression - with aleatorics, microtonality, clusters, and the abundance of new techniques in playing. Lately, in many of her works the composer creatively and seamlessly combines both the postromantic and avant-garde directions in her work (Vortex for solo violin and large ensemble, 2014; Migdolų žydėjimas 'Almond Blossom' for chamber ensemble, 2006). 'Mastery of her subject is what is characteristic of this Lithuanian-born pianist and composer,' wrote the music critic Helmut Mauró in Süddeutsche Zeitung, the most influential daily newspaper in Southern Germany, 'even if she uses forms found in minimalism, late romanticism or jazz, an individual language is created out of foreign words, a dramatic act out of separate emotions, Baltic mysticism out of melancholia.'

The composer admits that right from her Oriental Elegy an Oriental aesthetic has become every closer to her. This would help to explain some of the tendencies in her newest works: the repeated dramatic collisions, the 'subjective' emotional outpourings are slowly being replaced by the relatively 'objective' contemplation of the grandeur of nature and the inner world of human beings (as in the oratorio Saulėlydžio ir aušros giesmės 'Songs of Sunset and Dawn' for four soloists, choir and symphony orchestra, 2007; in part in the symphonic fantasy Mountains in the Mist, 2005). Whatever the case, it would be hard to guess at what path her creative work will take - she has never been tempted to repeat herself or to write according to previously 'tested' models. Setting herself constantly new goals with every composition, Raminta Šerkšnytė remains a composer who is both easily recognisable and yet never predictable.

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