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Vilnius Festival 2021 programme

Vilnius Festival 2021 programme

The 25th festival
The Fourth Dimension
6–22 June 2021


June 6, Sunday, 19.00
Lithuanian National Philharmonic Concert Hall

Viva Vivaldi!  Vivica Genaux and the Les Accents

Soloist VIVICA GENAUX (coloratura mezzo-soprano, USA)
LES ACCENTS Baroque Music Orchestra (France)
Artistic director, conductor and soloist THIBAULT NOALLY (violin, France)

Concerto for strings in C major, RV 115;
Aria Alma oppressa from the opera La fida ninfa (The Faithful Nymph);
Aria Gelido in ogni vena from the opera Farnace;
Concerto for violin and strings in E minor, RV 275;
Aria Come in vano il mare irato from the opera Catone in Utica (Cato at Utica);
Concerto for violin and string in G minor, RV 326;
Aria Sovvente il sole from the pasticcio-serenata Andromeda liberata (Freeing Andromeda);
Aria Agitata da due venti from the opera Griselda 

Ticket prices – 20, 30, 40, 50 Eur
Concert moved from 6 June 2020, the tickets remain valid


The performers who have enchanted the audience at the Vilnius Festival a couple of years ago are back!

Alaska-born singer Vivica Genaux is currently focusing on Baroque music. For more than 20 years, she has sung the operas and oratorios by Händel, Vivaldi, Scarlatti, Gluck, Donizetti, Rossini, Meyerbeer and others. Her concert itineraries have taken her to Europe, Israel, Australia, North and South America. When asked where the former Alaskan now lives, she mentions Italy and smiles that she lives in her suitcases!

Genaux has appeared in the world’s most famous theatres, concert halls and festivals, including the Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall in New York, the Vienna State Opera and the Konzerthaus, the Grand Théâtre de Genève, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, the German State Opera in Berlin, as well as opera theatres in Los Angeles and Shanghai. The soloist has won numerous awards; she is the subject of documentary A Voice Out of the Cold.

“What Vivica Genaux can do is phenomenal – the speed and precision of her coloraturas, her ability to jump confidently across a wide range between a strong and resounding chest register and the highest pitches, her relentless stamina and temperament are nonpareil. Sometimes it seems that it goes beyond the limits of human potential,” wrote Renata Dubinskaitė in 7 meno dienos.

The French Baroque Orchestra Les Accents was formed in 2014. The Orchestra performs vocal and instrumental music from the 17th and 18th centuries, salvaging from the oblivion works of Antonio Caldara, Nicola Porpora, Giovanni Bononcini and Alessandro Stradella, as well as motets and church cantatas by various composers. The Orchestra also focuses on violin music of the time.

Les Accents collaborates with singers like Philippe Jaroussky, Blandine Staskiewicz, Anthea Pichanick, Ana Quintans and others. The Orchestra’s Venezia 1700 CD earned the Chocs de l’année by Classica magazine. Les accents is led by violinist Thibault Noally, who also collaborates with various other ensembles: Ensemble Baroque of LimogesConcerto KölnMatheus Ensemble and Les Musiciens of the Louvre Grenoble. As a soloist he has appeared in Paris, Tokyo, Madrid, Vienna, Shanghai and Hong Kong.


June 9, Wednesday, 19.00
Lithuanian National Philharmonic Concert Hall

Ex Tenebris Lux. Žibuoklė Martinaitytė’s Music Expanse 

(artistic director and conductor Sergej Krylov)
Soloists: PETRAS GENIUŠAS (piano), PAVEL GIUNTER (percussion)

Nunc fluens. Nunc stans for percussion and string orchestra (2020)
Chiaroscuro Trilogy for piano and string orchestra (2017)
Ex Tenebris Lux for string orchestra (2021, commission of the Vilnius Festival 2021, world premiere)

Ticket prices – 10, 20, 30, 40 Eur 

“In sounds, I seek the hidden meaning that lies within every atom of this universe. With each composition, I want to ask an existential question and answer it. The composition is akin to a state that changes and transforms both the composer and the listeners”, says composer Žibuoklė Martinaitytė. A concert dedicated to her music will take place on June 9 and will feature prominent Lithuanian performers – the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, pianist Petras Geniušas, percussionist Pavel Giunter and conductor Karolis Variakojis.

New York-based composer Martinaitytė has won many awards, including the Lithuanian Government Culture and Art Prize, and two gold medals at the Global Music Awards. Recently, the British magazine Gramophone and the daily The New York Times briefly reviewed Martinaitytė’s album Saudade, released by the Finnish record company Ondine, and recommended it to the readers.

The title of the first work programmed tonight, Nunc fluens. Nunc stans (2020), came from Boethius’ Latin dictum “Nunc fluens facit tempus. Nunc stans facit aeternitatum”, which translates into English as “The now that passes produces time, the now that remains produces eternity”. This idea of ​​possible different experience of the present – one passing and the other standing still – resonated greatly with the current period of the virus pandemic. This opus is a diptych, the two movements of which are performed without interruption. The first reflects the flowing time and the second – the stagnant time.

The philosophical thread connecting Chiaroscuro Trilogy (2017) and Ex Tenebris Lux (2021) is light-dark as a metaphor for existence, its play, its transformation into a form of sound. Chiaroscuro (It. chiaro – light, scuro – dark) is a term used mainly in the context of painting, embracing light and darkness, as if describing the very essence of our existence. In the form of sounds this work examines various proportions of light and darkness, and their mutual relationship. Each movement of the trilogy focuses on a particular aspect of this relationship, presenting a scale of gradations from light in darkness to darkness in light.

“The Latin title of Ex Tenebris Lux, the opus commissioned by the Vilnius Festival 2021, translates into English as From Darkness Comes Light. It seems to symbolically provide promising guidelines in the face of the current pandemic and the uncertainty that arises from it. How important it is to have that flash of light displayed on the inner compass, stick to it, and not lose it in the darkest moments. I wanted this music to become a guide through the zone of prolonged darkness and finally bring us to the light, to allow us to experience it if only in a form of sound”, says the composer.


June 11, Friday, 19.00
Lithuanian National Philharmonic Concert Hall

Dramatic Legacy of the 20th Century.  M. Rubackytė and „Mettis“ Quartet perform D. Shostakovich and M. Weinberg
Presentation of the CD “Shostakovich
Weinberg. Dramatic Russian Legacy 

MŪZA RUBACKYTĖ (piano; Lithuania, France, Switzerland)
METTIS String Quartet:
KOSTAS TUMOSA (1st violin)

MIECZYSŁAW WEINBERG – Piano quintet in F minor, Op. 18
DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH – Piano quintet in G minor, Op. 57

Ticket prices  20, 30, 40, 50 Eur

The artistic paths of Mūza Rubackytė, an outstanding pianist, recipient of the Lithuanian National Culture and Art Prize, the cultural diplomat, and the energetic and young Mettis String Quartet, the winner of prestigious competitions, crossed in 2018 at the historic hall of the Palace of Les Invalides in Paris. Here they performed a programme of a wide historical and cultural context on the occasion of the centenary of the Lithuanian state. The same year they also appeared at the Vilnius Festival and elsewhere in Lithuania. Later the Swiss record label DORON released a live recording of Ferenc Liszt’s Malediction featuring Rubackytė and Mettis String Quartet as part of the CD series Great Lithuanian live recordings.

This year, this chamber ensemble of talented musicians returns to the Festival with a historically important programme. Not emptyhanded – with the release of a new CD ShostakovichWeinberg. Dramatic Russian Legacy (Ligia Digital), which was recorded in the hall of Paliesius Manor boasting unique acoustics.

“The project of the international French record company Ligia, with which I have worked before, came about on my own initiative. The company supported our idea to record the piano quintets of Mieczysław Weinberg and Dmitri Shostakovich. These two particularly important and productive composers lived at the same time, but only the latter was well known. Known neither in the Soviet Union nor in the world, Weinberg seemed to be hiding in Shostakovich’s shadow – he quietly worked on his profound, rarely performed works. This CD is very dear to me, because while I worked in preparation for its release, my beloved Mother departed this world” said Rubackytė.

At the Vilnius Festival, the CD is presented for the first time in Lithuania, but it has been already enthusiastically appreciated by European music reviewers.

In 2019, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Weinberg, the composer of Polish-Jewish heritage, a renaissance of his work began (Gidon Kremer, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, Mūza Rubackytė and others are especially active contributors to this). Music connoisseurs discovered Weinberg’s extremely dramatic music, conveying dire complexity of life of a creator in the totalitarian epoch and the ability to project this experience through music. Chamber opuses of Weinberg and Shostakovich, the composer of similar destiny, perhaps most deeply and sincerely convey this existential distress.

Weinberg wrote Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 18 during the World War II. The Moscow premiere in 1945 featured Emil Gilels and the Bolshoi Theatre Quartet (many years later this work was recorded with Weinberg himself and the Beethoven Quartet). Although the opus is thought to have similarities to Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet written in 1940, Weinberg’s work is exceptionally monumental and original, saturated with mesmerizing emotional, textural and rhythmic contrasts.

“I performed Weinberg with the Vilnius String Quartet in 1995, in France. I was so stunned by this masterpiece that I couldn’t help but express my impression directly to Weinberg himself. It was an unforgettable phone conversation and he, already seriously ill, was very happy to learn that his music was performed in the world”, said Rubackytė.

Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 57 is one of his most famous chamber works, which premiered with the composer at the piano and the Beethoven Quartet in autumn of 1940 at the Moscow Conservatory. “I would like to recall that the Shostakovich’s Quintet was the first quintet in my repertoire. I performed it while still studying at the Moscow Conservatory. So, the direct, “first-hand”, passing on of this music has escorted me all my life. I have performed it in Lithuania together with the Vilnius String Quartet for many years”, says Rubackytė.

Works of both Weinberg and Shostakovich were affected by Stalinist repression, the horror of the Jewish genocide, and conveyed anguish and resistance, sad nostalgia and exoticism. They are among the most important and dramatic 20th-century piano quintets in the history of music.


June 13, Sunday, 20.00
Lithuanian National Philharmonic Concert Hall

The End is the Beginning. G. Gelgotas, NICO and R. Marcinkutė-Lesieur

(artistic director and conductor Gediminas Gelgotas)

ARVO PÄRT – Fratres 
PĒTERIS VASKS – Castillo Interior
GEDIMINAS GELGOTAS – Mountains. Waters. (Freedom)„Praisedance"; Unknown 21, Free; An End Is a Beginning
MAX RICHTER – On the Nature of Daylight

Ticket prices  15, 20, 30 Eur

The New Ideas Chamber Orchestra NICO was founded by composer and conductor Gediminas Gelgotas in 2006. It is a group of string players known for their attractive and original performances. In concerts, integrating the highest level of string instrument mastery and minimalist visual stage effects, the NICO delivers progressive classical music from memory. The joy of music-making, originality, boldness and exceptional quality of performance – all these words aptly describe the NICO.

In recent years, the NICO has made its debut in the world’s major concert halls and festivals, including Leipzig’s Gewandhaus, London’s Saint Martin-in-the-Fields and Roundhouse, Liepaja’s Great Amber, St. Petersburg and Odessa philharmonic halls, and Concert Hall of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow, as well as the festivals of Usedom (Germany), Toulon (France), Ventura (USA), Odessa Classics (Ukraine), Vilnius Festival and other European and American festivals. The NICO is a resident of Vilnius Town Hall, regularly represents Vilnius and Lithuania in important diplomatic missions.

At the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Concert Hall, NICO, organist Renata Marcinkutė-Lesieur and Gediminas Gelgotas (organ, conductor) tonight present compositions by our contemporaries Arvo Pärt (Estonia), Pēteris Vasks (Latvia), Max Richter, Karsten Gundermann (Germany) and Gediminas Gelgotas (Lithuania), the mastermind of the whole programme. The latter’s music has already been performed at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, the Konzerthaus in Berlin, the Tonhalle in Zurich, the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow and elsewhere. Critics point to Gelgotas’ unique and very appealing musical language, based on the aesthetics of minimalism and modern multi-stylistic influences that combine beauty of an ascetic melody with contagious rhythmic drive.

Mountains. Waters. (Freedom), originally written for a symphony orchestra, was premiered under baton of Kristjan Järvi at Zurich’s Tonhalle in 2015. In the experimental sound composition Unknown 21, Free (2011) for strings the extremely slow dissonant development of the work reaches its climax via rhythmic-scapes and consonant chords, and An End Is a Beginning is one of Gelgotas’ earliest compositions.

New Ideas Chamber Orchestra NICO:
Augusta Jusionytė (violin)
Dalia Simaška (violin)
Julija Ivanovaitė (violin, viola)
Liudvikas Silickas (cello)
Augustinas Sokalski (cello)
Vincas Bačius (double bass)


June 17, Thursday, 19.00
Lithuanian National Philharmonic Concert Hall

Kremerata Baltica Returns 

(artistic director Gidon Kremer)
GIDON KREMER (violin, Latvia)
YULIANNA AVDEEVA (piano, Russia)
ANDREI PUSHKAREV (vibraphone, Latvia)

SILVIJA MILIŪNAITĖ-BLIŪDŽIUVIENĖ – Drive for Life for violin, cello and string orchestra (premiere, 2021)
ANDRIUS ŽLABYS – Kaleidoscope of Lost Time for violin and strings
ALFRED SCHNITTKE – Concerto for piano and string orchestra
ÁSTOR PIAZZOLLA– Tres minutos con la realidad
ÁSTOR PIAZZOLLA–ANDREI PUSHKAREV – Fuga y misterio; Michelangelo 70 (to mark Ástor Piazzolla's centenary)

Ticket prices – 10, 15, 20, 25 Eur
Concert moved from 16 December 2020, the tickets remain valid

The world-famous Kremerata Baltica chamber orchestra returns to the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Hall. Founded by Gidon Kremer in 1997, the Kremerata Baltica chamber orchestra, dubbed the Ambassador of Baltic Culture, is considered to be, perhaps, the most prominent international orchestra in Europe. Kremer specially selects young, enthusiastic musicians from the Baltic States, resistant to routine, which often affects many professional orchestras. In Kremerata, everyone’s artistic personality and creative approach to music is important. The 23-year-old collective has performed in more than fifty countries, 600 cities, and has given more than 1,000 concerts around the world.

Tonight’s soloists:

Riga-born violinist Gidon Kremer, a performer of unsurpassed mastery and a personality of original creativity, is especially valued for his uniqueness, daily quest for new expression and interpretation possibilities. During the long years of his concert career, Kremer has performed with the most famous European and American orchestras in almost all major halls of the world.

Pianist Yulianna Avdeeva is the winner of the 16th International F. Chopin Piano Competition (2010) (1st prize). She has also won prizes in such competitions as the Geneva International Music Competition, the European Piano Contest in Bremen, the International Anton Rubinstein Competition in Israel, I. J. Paderewski International Piano Competition in Poland and others. Avdeeva has given concerts in Europe, USA, Japan, South Africa and Israel, appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Percussionist Andrei Pushkarev, a member of Kremerata Baltica, is internationally acclaimed performer, composer and arranger of music for percussion. He appears as a soloist with different collectives and regularly hosts percussion masterclasses in Europe, South America, and Australia.

Violinist Džeraldas Bidva is the concertmaster of both Kremerata Baltica chamber orchestra and the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra. As a soloist he has delivered many impressive programs and premieres, given concerts with outstanding performers. He is the organizer of Mažeikiai International Art Festival, which boasts high artistic level and abundance of world-renowned artists.

Cellist Giedrė Dirvanauskaitė, a winner of many competitions and the principal cello of the Kremerata Baltica chamber orchestra, has collaborated as a soloist with the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra and Kiev Chamber Orchestra.

The concert programme includes works by two Lithuanian composers. “The idea for the work was stimulated by the pandemic, we are currently seeing a lot of despair around us. It’s my call to feel that despite the hardships we experience, life always makes sense. All you need to do is give in to the natural flow force and pay heed to the rhythm of life. With this composition, I want to encourage everyone and remind everyone, no matter what happens, there is always something to live for”, the young composer Silvija Miliūnaitė-Bliūdžiuvienė says about her new opus Drive for Life.

We know Andrius Žlabys as a famous pianist, and now he appears as a composer. “The five movements of the work reflect different nuances of the sense of the flow of time, akin to the sand slipping through your fingers, reminding of both sad and beautiful events. In my new opus, I attempted to capture this fickle feeling so I could come back and experience it again, maybe even stop for a short time. Only music allows one to do that”, he says about his opus Kaleidoscope of Lost Time

Alfred Schnittke’s name is usually associated with polystylism, combining the features of different musical epochs, which merge in a special “spatial” context and are being perceived from a time perspective. During this polystylist period, permeated with “documentary” quotes, Schnittke composed the Concerto for piano and strings (1979), saturated with tensions between theses and antitheses: from Orthodox hymns, Prokofiev’s reminiscences and contemplative episodes to dodecaphonic series and elemental aggression of dissonance. In the composition written in one extended movement, the composer creates a structural hybrid by crossing models of variations, sonata and cyclic forms.

The famous Argentine musician and composer Ástor Piazzolla fundamentally changed traditional understanding of tango. He enriched this dance with elements of jazz and classical music. He is considered to be the father of the Tango Nuevo style. Piazzolla was also a great bandoneonist, performed his works with famous bands. In his homeland Argentina, he is known as El Gran Ástor. Dedicated to Piazzolla's centenary, Tres minutos con la realidad, Fuga y misterio  and Michelangelo 70 is a striking examples of Tango Nuevo.


June 18, Friday, 17.00 and 19.00
Lithuanian National Philharmonic Concert Hall

From Bach to Glass

(artistic director and principal conductor Modestas Pitrėnas)
Soloist SERGEJ KRYLOV (violin; Russia, Italy)

PHILIP GLASS – Violin Concerto No. 1
SERGEI RACHMANINOV – Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 44

Ticket prices 15, 20, 30, 40 Eur
Concert moved from 14 March 2020 and 16 January 2021, the tickets remain valid.

Tonight Sergej Krylov, the artistic director and conductor of the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, appears as a violin soloist with the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, yet another collective of the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Society. He has chosen a rather original contemporary opus – the First Violin Concerto by Philip Glass, an American minimalist who has Lithuanian roots and has recently frequented Lithuania.

The work was composed with Philip Glass’ father in mind, despite the latter’s death some sixteen years earlier: “I wrote the piece in 1987 thinking, let me write a piece that my father would have liked [...] A very smart nice man who had no education in music whatsoever, but the kind of person who fills up concert halls.” Eventually, the Violin Concerto became one of the American composer’s most popular opuses.

Tonight, the podium will be graced by conductor Vilmantas Kaliūnas. He will lead the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra in  the monumental Third Symphony by Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninov. This is the latter’s penultimate work, which reveals the composer’s tragic talent.


June 20, Sunday, 19.00
Lithuanian National Philharmonic Concert Hall

Hommage a Ástor. Martynas Levickis and Signum Saxophone Quartet
To mark Ástor Piazzolla’s centenary

SIGNUM Saxophone Quartet (Germany):
BLAŽ KEMPERLE (soprano saxophone)
HAYRAPET ARAKELYAN (alto saxophone)
ALAN LUŽAR (tenor saxophone)
GUERINO BELLAROSA (baritone saxophone)

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH – Orchestral suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067 (accordion and saxophone quartet arrangement by Signum)
RICHARD GALLIANO Opale Concerto (saxophone quartet arrangement by Signum)
ALEXANDER SHMYKOV – Jazz-Rock Partita No. 2 for solo accordion
ALBERTO GINASTERA Três danzas argentinas, Op. 2 (saxophone quartet arrangement by Signum)
ÁSTOR PIAZZOLLA Solitude (baritone saxophone and accordion arrangement by Signum); Escualo (accordion and saxophone arrangement by Izidor Leitinger)
MICHEL CAMILO Caribe (accordion and saxophone quartet arrangement by Izidor Leitinger)

Ticket prices – 20, 30, 40, 50 Eur
Project organised in cooperation with “ProArte” (Hamburg)

Ástor Piazzolla’s (1921–1992), the famous pioneer of tango nuevo, compositions based on jazz and classical forms created not only completely new harmonic and rhythmic vocabulary, but also a universe of vivid musical emotions, and transferred passionate dance from parties or clubs to concert halls. This music does not lack sharp dissonances or sudden changes in tempo and meter. Its development often consists of both fragmentary presentation and continuous improvisation, inviting the listener to immerse him/herself in passionate and nostalgic sonorities.

Although 100 years have passed, Piazzolla’s music has not lost the relevance to each of us. Piazzolla was once presented to Lithuania by Gidon Kremer, an enthusiastic tango fan, and his Kremerata Baltica. “Is there anything more significant than that emotionally charged music?”, Kremer once said.

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth, his music is performed at the Vilnius Festival. Timbre of accordion is irreplaceable in tango, thus the concert will feature accordionist Martynas Levickis, a passionate fan of Piazzolla and champion of his music. The performer is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music in London, and the Spanish Musikene (Higher School of Music), an associate member of the Royal Academy of Music in London (ARAM), laureate and prize-winner of more than 30 competitions. Among his most notable achievements were the 1st prize in the Coupe Mondiale International Accordion Competition (2010, Croatia), five 1st prizes in different genre categories in the American Accordionists’ Association (AAA) Competition (2009, USA).

In 2011–2012, Levickis was selected to take part in the Park Lane Group concert series and also won a prize set up by the Martin Musical Scholarship Fund of the London Philharmonic. In Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, one of Germany’s largest classical music festivals, he won the Audience Award (2014) and became the festival’s Prize-winner in Residence (2020; the first time an accordionist has won this prestigious award). The performer gives concerts all over the world, organizes events that enjoy great popularity.

Levickis’ partners at the Vilnius Festival are “four saxophonists who manage to sway buildings”, Hamburger Abendblatt wrote about the charismatic Signum musicians. Having formed in Cologne in 2006, the quartet won several competitions, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York. The European Concert Hall Organization’s (ECHO) Rising Stars Award (2014–2015) paved the way to many other prestigious stages: the Barbican Centre in London, the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, the Konzerthaus Dortmund, the Cologne Philharmonic and much more.

Recently, Signum received an award as the best ensemble at the prestigious German festival Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The saxophone quartet is constantly in quest for new ideas and innovative artistic encounters. Their experimental versatility is reflected in intriguing programmes and unique arrangements. The ensemble’s idiosyncratic timbral arrangements enhance this programme ranging from Bach to Piazzolla.


June 22, Tuesday, 19.00
Lithuanian National Philharmonic Concert Hall

Closing of the Vilnius Festival
Symphony of Fate.
Beethoven interpreted by LNSO, M. Pitrėnas and M. Rubackytė

(artistic director and principal conductor Modestas Pitrėnas)
Soloist MŪZA RUBACKYTĖ (piano; Lithuania, France, Switzerland)

ARVYDAS MALCYS – Message for symphony orchestra (premiere, 2021. Dedicated to Ludwig van Beethoven)
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN – Concerto for piano and orchestra No. 5 in E flat major (Emperor), Op. 73; Symphony No. 5 in C minor (Fate), Op. 67

Ticket prices 15, 20, 30, 40 Eur
Concert moved from 19 December 2020 and 24 April 2021, the tickets remain valid

The programme of the closing concert of this year’s Vilnius Festival symbolically reminds that in 2020 the whole world celebrated the 250th birth anniversary of Viennese classicist Ludwig van Beethoven. Tonight’s programme offers two monumental musical peaks of this composer: his last piano concerto, entitled Emperor, and the Fifth Symphony, which has left a strong impression on almost everyone, and is often referred to as the Fate Symphony. The programme also features  Message, the symphonic opus by Lithuanian contemporary composer Arvydas Malcys.

“While composing this work, I always had the thought of the fateful circumstances of Beethoven’s life in my head. His personal life, character, actions were contradictory and unpredictable. Beethoven’s letter to brothers Carl and Johann, in which he responds to the brothers’ reproaches for his rudeness and stubbornness – “the brothers, you do not know the secret cause of my pain and despair – my progressing deafness” ... In this letter written in 1802, Ludwig mentioned suicide attempt due to increasing deafness. The letter was never sent, and was found among the composer’s documents after his death. This letter to his brothers will later be called the Heiligenstadt Testament.

The form of the work is akin to a spiralling metaphor epitomizing Beethoven’s suffering and greatness. In the musical fabric, several segments from Beethoven’s symphonies are interwoven”,  the composer Arvydas Malcys says about his new opus Message for symphony orchestra.

This evening, the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by maestro Modestas Pitrėnas, collaborates with Maestra Mūza Rubackytė, a Lithuanian pianist who has gained probably the widest international recognition. “From Liszt’s 24 Etudes to the cycle Années de pèlerinage”, “From Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues to Čiurlionis’ works” – these descriptions only partially summarise the pianist’s extremely rich and varied repertoire. Not to mention many other activities of the musician!

As a versatile cultural figure, Rubackytė has played an important role in promulgation of Lithuania’s image. She serves as a jury member in major international competitions (Pretoria, Cleveland, Utrecht, Parma, F. Liszt in Weimar, B. Bartok in Budapest, etc.), teaches at world universities and conservatories, leads international master classes, is the founder and artistic director of the Vilnius Piano Music Festival.

The pianist has recorded more than 30 CDs released on Marco Polo, Naxos, Lyrinx, Ligia, Warner Classics, Opera Omnia, Brilliant Classics, Doron (the latter issued 6 CD series Great Lithuanian Live Recordings featuring concerti with the orchestra). The pianist returns to Lithuania regularly, performing as a soloist with orchestras or giving complex recitals.

Download: VF 2021 programme


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