Lithuanian-born pianist Evelina Puzaite, recently profiled by Picture This Post, marks 1991 as a the time when Lithuania dramatically changed. The daughter of a one-time concert pianist whose career was hindered by the conditions in the Soviet dominated Lithuania of the prior generation, Puzaite reports, “Since 1991 so many things have changed. The doors are now open to an international music audience.
“Lithuanian concert goers are educated and very knowledgeable about what they are listening to and seeing.
“Vilnius has many beautiful concert halls and festivals—my favorite is the Philharmonic Hall, where I have played since childhood, and where they have very good pianos and many attendees of concert performances.”
Intrigued to learn more, Picture This Post caught up with Gerda Butkuvienė of Lithuanian Tourism to learn more about the music scene in Lithuania. Here is an abbreviated list of the music festivals she suggests you shortlist for possible attendance———
The GAIDA Festival that takes place in Vilnius since 1991 is the main, the largest and the most prominent festival of modern music in Lithuania and in all Baltic countries. This is one of the most important music forums in Central and Eastern Europe. GAIDA festival is open to music and innovative art of all different traditions and all geographical sources. The festival reflects and presents a broad sweep of the latest creative processes and newest musical tendencies in Europe and the world. GAIDA introduces Vilnius audiences to the finest achievements of world contemporary music, the most famous musicians are invited to the festival and the most impressive works are performed. GAIDA presents creations from many different genres, from symphonic orchestra concerts to electronic music, innovative multimedia projects, music theatre, sound installations and club events.
The events of GAIDA Festival take place in the main concert halls of Vilnius: the National Philharmonic, National Opera and Ballet Theatre, Congress Concert Hall, National Drama Theatre, Arts Printing House, Contemporary Art Centre a. o.
- BANCHETTO MUSICALE
Devoted to the medieval, Renaissance and Baroque music, dance and theatre.
- VILNIUS FESTIVAL
The Vilnius Festival is one of the most prestigious, solid and versatile classical music events in Lithuania and a major summer destination for music-lovers during the hottest tourist season. With primary interest in presenting classical music, performed by the established soloists, ensembles and symphony orchestras from all over the world, the Vilnius Festival also continues to promote contemporary Lithuanian music by commissioning new large-scale works, and offers a platform for jazz and musical theatre.
Since the first Vilnius Festival in 1997 its primary idea has been to promote the historical and modern assets of world culture in society. Cooperation between Lithuanian and foreign musicians has fostered the creation of a multicultural music scene in Lithuania, as well as mutual tolerance and trust, and the discovery and support of new artistic forces. The organizers of Vilnius Festival seek to reflect the cultural experiences of different nations and eras in the festival program.
Young music professionals, educated in foreign countries, are invited to perform in native country
- INTERNATIONAL M.K.CIURLIONIS MUSIC FESTIVAL
Lithuanian artist and composer Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis (1875-1911), a unique figure in the history of European arts, has left a profound imprint on Lithuanian culture. Judging by the breath of his artistic activities and diverse interests, Čiurlionis can be seen as a truly Renaissance individual. Over a short, mere decade-long career, he composed nearly four hundred musical compositions, including two large-scale symphonic poems, an overture, two piano sonatas, a string quartet, and a cantata for chorus and orchestra.
- VILNIUS MAMA JAZZ
The International Jazz Festival Vilnius Mama Jazz was launched in 2002. The festival takes place in the second half of November every year. Due to its readiness to feature all styles and trends of jazz music with the emphasis on quality, individuality, and relevance of the music, the festival is a singular celebration. The Vilnius Mama Jazz Festival has over the years become one of the largest events in the capital. The festival programme features the music of world famous performers, Lithuanian jazz maestros, and joint international projects.
PAZAISLIS MUSIC FESTIVAL
One of the most significant cultural events in Lithuania, the Pažaislis Music Festival has been held every year since 1996. The main purpose of the festival is to popularise classical music, to enrich the cultural life of Kaunas in the summer, to present the best ensembles, soloists and conductors from Lithuania and other countries, and to promote the international dialogue and cultural collaboration. The concerts take place in old monastery.
CLASSICAL MUSIC EVENINGS IN UZUTRAKIS MANOR
Best national and international musicians perform in XIX century manor. It is one of the brightest and most representative classical musical events in Lithuania.
KAUNAS JAZZ kaunasjazz.lt
BIRSTONAS JAZZ birstonasjazz.lt
STREET MUSICIANS DAY
Unique event, when professional and not professional musicians gather in the streets and perform.
The Street Musician’s Day has become one of the largest events that takes place simultaneously in a number of Lithuanian cities. The SMD is the day when going out to the city one can find new impressions and musical discoveries around each corner, each street or yard.
During seven years of the existence of this festival, approximately 50 Lithuanian towns, and in the long run, also Lithuanian neighbours – the city of Latvia Riga and the capital of Belarus Minsk – joined the Street Musician’s Day. The capital of Georgia Tbilisi joined Lithuania with great enthusiasm in 2012, and since 2013, the SMD will also be joined by Kiev (Ukraine). In 2012, the SMD was celebrated by the Lithuanian world communities in Paris, Copenhagen, York, Nottingham, Punsk, and Tallinn.
Evelina Puzaite of Lithuania has performed throughout Europe and on Lithuanian TV, among many venues. To hear her perform click here for her music video encores.
Photos of Lithuania courtesy of Lithuania Tourism; photo of Puzaite courtesy of Puzaite