19 events this week
Quote of the Week
“A festival is a unique occasion for meeting different people and different cultures. Together with artists who are real masters of communication through art, a festival is a strong builder of bridges between different cultures - and even between civilizations."
Ján Figel’, former European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture, and Youth
Vilnius Festival celebrates EFA's Diamond Jubilee: from modern dance performance to world premiere
Gent, Thursday, 14-06-2012
Founded in 1997 by Lithuania’s largest concert organisation – the National Philharmonic Society – the Vilnius Festival has become one of the country’s most significant music events. Each year the festival presents programmes of large-scale orchestral and chamber works interpreted by accomplished Lithuanian and foreign performers, as well as premieres by contemporary Lithuanian composers, along with the works commissioned by the festival. It has continued to collaborate with other European festivals as member of the European Festivals Association (EFA) since 1999. The 2012 edition of the Vilnius Festival paid tribute to the 60th anniversary of EFA, with a world premier dedicated to the Diamond Jubilee.
“From the artistic perspective, the 16th edition of the festival was fairly intense, although it presented fewer events than previous editions. Nevertheless, I believe that each and every visitor of the Festival has found something of interest for him or her,” said Gintautas Kėvišas, the Festival’s Artistic Director.
This year’s Vilnius Festival opened on 1 June at the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre with the performance of Ailey II from New York – one of the world’s most famous Afro-American modern dance companies.
“This company was formed around the tradition of Afro-American dance and now gives over 100 performances each year: every other day they appear at a different state in America or in another country. The modern dance programme presented in Lithuania featured pieces by America’s most coveted choreographers which represented new trends in American choreography,” commented Rūta Prusevičienė, Director General of the National Philharmonic Society and Executive Director of the Vilnius Festival.
At the initiative of pianist Mūza Rubackytė, the festival audiences had a unique opportunity to attend the appearance of one of the oldest Russian collectives – the Moscow Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra – on its first visit in Lithuania on 2 June. Together with maestro Vladimir Fedoseyev and Rubackytė the orchestra performed selected works from Tchaikovsky’s musical treasury.
On 3 June, the jazz ensemble Brazz Brothers (already familiar to Lithuanian audience) captivated the listeners with their Norwegian humour and improvisation. The ensemble shared the stage with the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra and conductor Martynas Staškus.
On 4 June, Vilnius Festival presented the world premiere of “Notturno Passacaglia” by famous Italian composer Ennio Morricone. The new work was performed by the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra under its Artistic Director Sergei Krylov and together with Italian flutist Massimo Mercelli.
“We would like to express our special gratitude to Mr. Mercelli, who used his personal relations and not only persuaded Morricone to compose a piece dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the European Festivals Association, but also arranged the world premiere of the piece to be performed in Vilnius,” said Rūta Prusevičienė.
“The evening of the virtuosi opened with a world premiere of ‘Notturno Passacaglia’ for flute and orchestra – a new opus by famous composer Ennio Morricone (b. 1928), who has written music to hundreds of films. It is a picturesque, quietly waving music of transparent texture. The orchestra accompanied the wistful melodies of the flute, interlaced with clarinet and violin passages. The performers played the piece subtly and vivaciously,” wrote music critic Živilė Ramoškaitė in the 7 meno dienos weekly.
On 5 June, the French early music ensemble Venance Fortunat presented a programme of 12th–16th plainsong at St. Johns’ Church.
“While preparing the very first Vilnius Festival, certain conceptual pillars were formed upon which the entire programme was resting. In recent years, the whole structure became somewhat slanted, as the position of early music had disappeared from the programme. This year we have managed to restore the balance: Venance Fortunat from France is a brilliant vocal ensemble, which performs the pieces from the old manuscripts,” Kėvišas stressed.
The Vilnius Festival recital was performed by a Lithuanian singer Almas Švilpa, currently residing in Germany. During a concert at the National Philharmonic Hall on 7 June, he performed the works by seven composers.
“Many consider the bass-baritone Almas Švilpa to be a discovery of this festival. He astounded the listeners with his vocal capabilities and a talent of impersonation. Accompanied by the pianist Audronė Juozauskaitė, the singer performed an extraordinarily demanding programme,” wrote Asta Andrikonytė, a reviewer of Lietuvos rytas, the country’s largest daily.
The Festival closed on 8 June, with a spectacular concert at the National Philharmonic Hall, featuring the cellist Mischa Maisky and the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Robertas Šervenikas.
“This concert revealed the excellent technique of the musicians, and the diverse pieces were united by the quest for the meaning of music,” said the Executive Director of the Festival.
According to her, the planning of next year’s Festival programme has already begun. Among the expected participants are the long-term friends of the festival: violinist Julian Rachlin and two artists who are to celebrate their anniversaries in 2013 – conductor and composer Krzysztof Penderecki and violist Yuri Bashmet. “This is going to be a Festival of great comebacks,” Rūta Prusevičienė reveals.
• EFA Jubilee Film “EFA 60 Years On” featuring Ennio Morrcione’s “Notturno Passacaglia”
• Website Vilnius Festival