A Quick Surf Through Lithuanian Autumn Festivals

Those keen on navigating the ocean of contemporary music may well be considered lucky, for they are offered a head-spinning tetrathlon of new music events taking place throughout Lithuania in October-November.

The largest event, demanding much stamina on the part of organizers, performers, and listeners alike - the 12th "Gaida" festival - will be held in various venues around Vilnius from Oct. 9-17. This year's programme of ten concerts features 18 world, and over 25 Lithuanian premieres of the most recent works by Lithuanian and international composers, showcased by world renowned performers: Christian Lindberg (trombone, Sweden), David Geringas (cello), Anthony de Mare (piano, USA), Rusnė Mataitytė (violin, Lithuania-UK), Rūta and Zbignevas Ibelhauptas (pianos), Danielius Praspaliauskis (saxophone), Nieuw Ensemble (The Netherlands), Kairos (Sweden), Kremerata Baltica Sextet, Latvian Radio Chamber Singers, Vilnius and Chordos string quartets, Gaida Ensemble, a.o. The programme also includes two concerts of orchestral works performed by the Lithuanian National Symphony and Lithuanian Academy of Music Youth Orchestras under Robertas Šervenikas. Both evenings could also be called "Concerts of Concertos", for most of the presented works are concertos for solo instruments and orchestra. The entire event will be rounded out with two new operas: a semi-staged performance of Osvaldas Balakauskas' chamber opera La Lointaine, and a joint fringe project, Opera in da House, by Linas Rimša and Linas Paulauskis.

Lithuania's biggest contemporary music event will rapidly flow into the 11th "Marių klavyrai" festival in Lithuania's harbour town of Klaipėda, on Oct. 22-25 and 29. Five concerts feature two programmes combining choreography with the music of Astor Piazzolla, Maurice Ravel, Anton Webern and Michael Nyman, a portrait concert by Gintaras Sodeika, an evening of works by Klaipėda-based composers, and finally, the premiere of Remigijus Šileika's Requiem.

The Vilnius Municipality St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra will contribute to this relentless flood of new music by hosting the "Musical Autumn" on Nov. 6, 9, 12 (for more details, see the calendar of events). Immediately following is the 7th "Iš arti" festival, starting in Kaunas the next day, Nov. 13 - until Nov. 17. This year's 6-concert programme is dominated by the premiere of works by Kaunas composers, performed by two major Kaunas ensembles (Kaunas String Quartet and Kaunas State Choir). The CFMW ensemble of traditional Chinese instruments from Taiwan, featuring a programme of Chinese, Taiwanese, and two new Lithuanian compositions, will conclude this festival - and the entire marathon of new music festivities this autumn.

© Veronika Janatjeva

Lithuanian Music Link No. 5