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The Vilnius String Quartet to round off the series of its ‘musical conversations’ with pianists

The Vilnius String Quartet to round off the series of its ‘musical conversations’ with pianists

2009-12-15

With two concerts slated for December 2009, the Vilnius String Quartet is to put the finishing touches to its series of concerts titled String Quartet and the Piano, in which it has involved in refined and stylistically diverse ‘conversations’ with eleven pianists, starting from October 2008. These conversations between the string quartet and the piano, which had already proved mutually stimulating, will continue with December 16th performance at the National Philharmonic Hall, featuring Lithuanian-born pianist Edvinas Minkštimas from New York and December 31st closing concert at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, featuring  Martin Labazevitch, also coming from the U.S.

 

The String Quartet and the Piano series was devised by the Vilnius String Quartet (Audronė Vainiūnaitė, Artūras Šilalė, Girdutis Jakaitis and Augustinas Vasiliauskas), the recipient of the Lithuanian National Prize and the Baltic Assembly Prize, as a result of its active performing career within the span of more than four decades. The series consists of nine concerts, in which the Quartet appears with nine pianists from different generations and countries – from Edvinas Minkštimas and Andrius Žlabys to Margrit Julia Zimmerman, Tamami Honma and others – in the performances of classical, romantic and modern string quintets. These programmes feature around twenty such rarely performed pieces for piano and string quartet. Intimate and reminiscent of salon music-making, these programmes, however, engage its listeners into intense intellectual discussion.

 

The penultimate programme in the series, to be presented on December 16th, at 7 pm, will feature Edvinas Minkštimas, one of the most accomplished young Lithuanian pianists and the 1st prize winner of the 2007 International M.K.Čiurlionis Piano Competition. Even before this remarkable achievement he has garnered prizes at the 1st International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians (1992), European Piano Days Pontoise (2001) and Music without Borders (Lithuania, 2002, 2003). Having studied piano at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre with Prof. Veronika Vitaitė and at the Paris Conservatory (CNSMDP) under the tutelage of Michel Beroff, he currently pursues the doctoral degree at The Juilliard School in New York with Jerome Lowenthal as a C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellow. Since 1990 he has given performances in the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Belgium, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Czech Republic, and Lithuania. “His manner of playing, his perception and treatment of the material are so subtle and distinct from all other young performers that one can unreservedly acknowledge his ripeness for a great career as a pianist,” wrote the Lithuanian press after his victory at the M.K.Čiurlionis Piano Competition (Daiva Tamošaitytė, Literatūra ir menas, 2007). During his return appearance in Vilnius, he will share the stage with the Vilnius String Quartet in the performance of Camille Saint-Saëns’s Piano Quintet in A minor, op. 14, and Edward Elgar’s Piano Quintet in A minor, op 84.

On the New Year‘s Eve (December 31st, at 7 pm) the Vilnius String Quartet will close the series, appearing with the Polish-born American pianist Martin Labazevitch. As an active soloist and chamber musician, he has performed throughout Europe, Israel, Japan and the United States. He is a recipient of the Rina Menashe Award in Israel, the Kosciuszko Foundation scholarship in New York, and the Harold and Helen Schoenberg Scholarship and Harold Bauer Award, both from Manhattan School of Music. He has appeared on WNYC and WQXR radio stations and at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall in New York City. His festival performances include those at the Liszt Academy in Weimar, Germany; Radom International Music Festival in Poland; Tel Hai Piano Festival in Israel; Suolahti Music Festival in Finland; Mozarteum Akademie in Salzburg, Austria; and the Music Festival of Hamptons in New York. He has soloed with many orchestras, including New York Sinfonietta, Hamptons Festival Orchestra and TIPC Symphony Orchestra (Japan).

The programme of the series’ closing concert will feature the version of Mozart‘s Piano Concerto No. 14 in E flat major for piano and string quartet and Schubert’s famous Forellenquintett (with Arnoldas Gurinavičius on the double bass), which remains an indispensable item among the Quartet’s musical delicacies offered each year for the New Year’s Eve.

 
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Lithuanian National Philharmonic Society

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