30 July 2015

Why the hell did you go to Lithuania?

As the opening post of this blog, it is only sensible to answer this question. The Baltic state is a small one, with a modest stamp on global history. Despite the modesty of the nation's stature, the music has a wonderfully curious and unique sound. 

My discoveries of this beautiful world came from multiple sources. The first major encounter that came about for me when I attended Sounds New Music Festival in 2011. The festival's theme was Baltic Plus, it included works by many leading composers from Denmark, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland. The Kaunas quartet performed works by Lithuanian composers like Bronius Kutavicius, Juste Janulyte, and Rytis Mazulis. After this encounter, I had the personal pleasure being able to work with the wonderful Martynas Levickis (Check him out here). Over the years, me and Martynas worked on many projects including a  concerto for the instrument  as well as a monstrous work for four accordions, string quartet, percussion, and voice. Martynas is a keen advocate for the music of his native country and he was enthusiastic to introduce me to Jonas Tamulionis and the folk tradition of Sutartines (this is a topic that needs its own dedicated post, watch this space). Then in 2013 the Vale of Glamorgan Festival in Wales performed a large number of Lithuanian composers, including Algirdas Martinaitis, Vidmantas Bartulis, Vykintas Baltakas, Bronius Kutavicius, Juste Janulyte, and many more. This week and a half long festival was the moment I really knew I had to find out more about these composers and the world they inhabit. 

From the 1st September of this year, I will be commencing my studies in the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. As I learn more and get absorbed by the world around me, I shall be adding new posts covering new composers, singular works, and reviews of concerts.

ačiū labai and speak soon!