Vilnius Festival 2019
Founded in 1997 by the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Society, the largest concert organisation in Lithuania, the Vilnius Festival has become one of the most notable music events in Lithuania. With primary focus on symphonic and chamber music programmes, performed by established Lithuanian and international musicians, it also promotes contemporary Lithuanian music by presenting premieres as well as commissioning new large-scale works. The Festival also collaborates with other European festivals.
The 23rd Vilnius Festival is getting closer. This year this traditional festival will be held on 3–21 June, and its program foresees nine concerts. They will take place in various venues of our capital – Compensa Concert Hall, the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, Vilnius University St. Johns’ Church and Church of St. Casimir, as well as the Russian Drama Theatre of Lithuania. The original and intriguing programmes range from colourful opening concert of Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder’ songs to grandioso dramatic concert for soloists, choir and orchestra after Grieg’s music.
Madeline Bell, the megastar of soul music and the owner of a voice of unbelievably wide range, and the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw from the Netherlands will open the Festival in Compensa Concert Hallon June 3rd. Kęstutis Vaiginis, one of the leading Lithuanian saxophonists, participant of international formations and festivals, will join the jazz masters tonight. The musicians will present a unique programme in Vilnius – songs by the legendary Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder. Having collaborated with these personalities on concert stage and in recording studios, Madeline Bell now pays tribute to her idols. However, she herself is an object of adoration of music aficionados and other performers around the world. The Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw is a unique assembly of musicians who are also composers and arrangers. The orchestra’s programs captivate the audiences regardless of age. Wide range of their repertoire and stylistic vocabulary spans from Duke Ellington Orchestra to different combinations of jazz and funk, soul and Rhythm&Blues.
On June 5th Vilnius University St. Johns’ Church will host an exotic programme Sounds of China for Strings and the Erhu Virtuoso Guo Gan. Tonight the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra will share the stage with Guo Gan, the pundit of Chinese instrument erhu. The concert programme will feature works by the soloist and his compatriot Ye Xiaogang. In addition, the audience will be feted with the Festival’s Premiere – Lithuanian composer Ramūnas Motiekaitis’ Cinema for erhu and chamber orchestra.
The Festival’s traditional baroque concert position will be entrusted to the International Baroque Orchestra Il Pomo d’Oro and French cellist Edgar Moreau. On June 8th atthe Great Renaissance Hall of the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania the guests will offer works by Johann Adolf Hasse, Giovanni Benedetto Platti, Francesco Durante, Antonio Vivaldi, Georg Philipp Telemann and Luigi Boccherini.
Recital of Lithuanian performers has always been one of the highlights of the Festival. This year the audience again won’t be disappointed. On June 9th at the Events Hall of the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania the Festival’s devotees will meet Synaesthesis Ensemble led by Karolis Variakojis. In their programme On Both Sides of the Iron Curtain critically acclaimed collective will program works by Pierre Boulez, Morton Feldman, György Ligeti, Bronius Kutavičius and Alfred Schnittke.
Sergej Krylov and Friends on June 11th at Vilnius University St. Johns’ Church will feature the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra and its artistic director, violinist and conductor Sergej Krylov’s collaboration with their faithful stage partners – violin soloists Pavel Vernikov and Svetlana Makarova. The performing forces will also include Italian pianist Gloria Campaner and cello soloist Elena Daunytė. The musicians will present works by Lithuanian peer composers Vidmantas Bartulis and Algirdas Martinaitis, as well as their senior colleagues – Alfred Schnittke and Giya Kancheli.
June 14th concert is dedicated to Polish composer Stanisław Moniuszko’s 200th birth anniversary. Closely associated with Lithuanian capital, the 19th-century composer Moniuszko wrote his most significant works in Vilnius, where he settled after marrying Aleksandra Müller. It was in Vilnius Town Hall in 1848 that he staged and conducted the first performance of his most famous opera Halka (Warsaw produced his opera ten years later, in 1858). It is rather symbolic and meaningful that this year’s Vilnius Festival presents Moniuszko’s Four Litanies of Ostra Brama under the domes of St. Johns’ Church, where the composer served as an organist in 1840–1842. This fragile music on the Day of Mourning and Hope will unite the Lithuanian, Latvian and Polish performers: soloists Vera Talerko, Ewa Wolak, Rafał Bartmiński and Liudas Mikalauskas, Kaunas State Choir and the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra (LNSO). Polish Maestro Antoni Wit will lead this magnificent assembly of performers.
June 17th concert at the Church of St. Casimir will be free of charge. It will introduce Schola Cantorum Riga, founded more than 20 years ago. Led by Guntars Prānis, this unique men vocal ensemble from Latvia focuses on authentic interpretation of early music, in particular Gregorian and other medieval chants. Tonight’s programme revolves around the juncture of two centuries-apart epochs and styles. Gregorian, medieval chants and early polyphony, such as sacred Spanish chants, represent the old epoch. Yet the other half of the programme featuring percussion improvisations (marimba, drums, bells, etc.) symbolises a bridge connecting past and present. Such a synthesis of sound creates an original musical dialogue, based on meditative and colourful sound world.
A visit of a foreign orchestra has always been one of the Festival’s most fervent intrigues. Who is coming this year? Basel Chamber Orchestra! And Andrius Žlabys will share the stage with the Swiss musicians in Mozart’s Piano Concertos (No 12 in A major, KV 414 and No 9 in E flat Major, KV 271 Jenamy). In addition, the orchestra will offer works by Frank Martin and Heinz Holliger. The concert will take place at the Great Renaissance Hall of the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania on June 19th.
And on June 21st the Festival will close with Waiting (Venter), the hottest news in the vocal music repertoire. The production was initiated by an international network of music institutions – three festivals (Bergen Festival, Tivoli Festival “Summer Classical” and Vilnius Festival), Teatro Arriaga de Bilbao, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. Dramatic concerto for soloists, choir and orchestra Waiting is also described as opera. It will receive the world premiere at the gala opening of the Bergen Festival on May 22, 2019, and in a month this monumental composition will come to Lithuania.
Generated by Catalan director Calixto Bieito and Norwegian novelist and librettist Karl Ove Knausgård, Waiting is an attempt at new approach to Norwegian epic hero Peer Gynt, namely from Solveig’s point of view. At the same time it is a testimony to relentless passion for Norwegian composer Grieg’s music. Knausgård has created a modern Solveig in his poetic novella, and this forms a backdrop for the performance. The inescapable loneliness of the human being is the theme of Waiting. Featuring soloists Mari Eriksmoen (soprano), Stein Skjervold (baritone), Vilnius Choir, the LNSO and conductor Eivind Gullberg Jensen, Waiting will be performed on June 21st at the Russian Drama Theatre of Lithuania.
Tickets are already on sale. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Society Box Office and viawww.nationalphilharmonic.eu (to the concerts on June 5th, 8th, 9th, 11th, 14th and 19th) and www.bilietai.lt (to the concerts on June 3rd and 21st).
Tickets to the concerts on June 5, 8, 9, 11, 14 and 19 can be purchased in person at the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Society Box Office (Aušros Vartų g. 5, Vilnius) and viawww.nationalphilharmonic.eu
Tickets to the concerts on June 3 and 21 canbe obtained viawww.bilietai.lt
Information regarding tickets to the concerts on June 3 and 21 via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; short code 118 – information on the events; telephone +370 673 25153 – information for ticket holders; via: www.bilietai.lt