MODESTAS PITRĖNAS – Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the LNSO
One of the leading Lithuanian conductors MODESTAS PITRĖNAS has taken the duties of the chief conductor and artistic director of the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra (LNSO) in autumn of 2015. He also is the principal guest conductor of the Latvian National Opera (LNO), where in 2009–2014 he served as the chief conductor of the LNO; and the conductor of the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre (LNOBT). In 2006–2011 he was the chief conductor of the Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra.
In 1995–1996 Modestas Pitrėnas studied choral and opera conducting at the famous Salzburg School of Music and Visual Arts Mozarteum (Prof. Walter Hagen-Groll and Prof. Karl Kamper). He also pursued his studies at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (LAMT), from which he graduated as a choral conductor in 1997 (Prof. Lionginas Abarius), an orchestral conductor in 2002 (Prof. Juozas Domarkas), and in 2004 earned Art Lincentiate Diploma. He participated in seminars and master courses led by famous conductors Esa-Pekka Salonen, Jorma Panula and Helmuth Rilling among others.
At the age of sixteen, he founded the Psalmos choir and led it until 2000. The choir went on several tours in Europe and the USA, and won prizes in many international choral competitions and festivals. As a conductor Pitrėnas has garnered prestigious awards: in 2003 he won the 1st prize and gold medal at the 7th Grzegorz Fitelberg Conducting Competition in Katowice (Poland) and was awarded a special prize of the Silesian Philharmonic Orchestra. Following that he was invited to collaborate with Poland’s leading symphony orchestras.
Together with the LNSO, the Latvian National Orchestra, Krasnoyarsk State Orchestra, the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra and the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra Maestro has prepared and performed symphonic opuses by Mahler, Tchaikovsky, R. Strauss, Prokofiev, Lutosławski and Schnittke. For many years he has enjoyed invitations to work with the North Rhine-Westphalia youth symphony and chamber orchestras. With the aforementioned orchestras he has given concerts throughout Europe, toured in the USA and China.
Recently, Pitrėnas has been preoccupied with opera. He was invited to conduct Bizet’s Carmen at the Grand Theatre in Warsaw; at the LNOBT he premiered The Little Prince, opera for children by R. Portman, Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, ballet Tristan und Isolde after music by Wagner, took active part in production of R. Strauss’ Salome, P. Eötvös’s Love and Other Demons and Wagner’s Die Walküre, conducted the ballets Red Giselle and Zorba the Greek as well as Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin; since 2009, he has produced Massenet’s Werther and Puccini’s Triptych, premiered Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, conducted the operas by Wagner, Verdi, Tchaikovsky and Puccini; in 2010, he debuted at the Cologne Opera and Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf. He is invited to conduct various productions in St. Gallen Opera Theatre (Switzerland) and Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. In 2014, under the baton of Pitrėnas Wagner’s Rienzi became one of the key events in the program of Riga – European Capital of Culture 2014; the same year Maestro gave a world premiere of A. Maskat’s opera Valentina in the LNO, the opera was taken to Deutsche Oper in Berlin on occasion of the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2015.
Pitrėnas collaborates with illustrious performers such as vocalists M. Salminen, J. Ryhänen, A. Antonenko, V. Noreika, E. Montvidas, E. Silin, A. Anger, V. Prudnikovas, I. Kalna, A.-K. Behnke, A. Grigorian, I. Prudnikovaitė, K. Opolais, P. Yende and A. Nigro, violinists T. Grindenko, B. Skride and P. Berman, cellists D. Geringas and A. Kniazev, pianists M. Rubackytė, A. Liakhovski, P. Donohoe and P. Geniušas, oboist F. di Rosa, etc. Maestro shared the stage with Violeta Urmana in her solo appearances in the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Hall (2009), the LNOBT (2010) and Vilnius Festival (2013). In 2013, on the occasion of Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union Maestro collaborated with Violeta Urmana and the LNSO in BOZAR (Brussels) at the Clara Festival.
For his contribution to Latvian music culture Pitrėnas was awarded the Latvian Music Prize (2010) and the prize of V. Zatler, the President of Latvia. In 2012, he was honoured with the Lithuanian National Culture and Art Prize.
Pitrėnas has recorded over 15 CDs of choral and symphonic music. In 2013, he was invited to serve as a jury member of the K. Taev International Competition for Young Opera Singers in Pärnu (Estonia). Since 2003, he has taught conducting at the LAMT, where in 2015 he was appointed the head of the Conducting Department.
LNPh info 2015 September