Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre

NOMAZZ IP Professors

International relations
International Projects coordinated by LMTA

Artūras Anusauskas

One of the most distinguished Lithuanian jazz pianists, Artūras Anusauskas has been active as a soloist, composer and band leader. Sharing his sympathies between jazz and classical music, he is particularly nimble at combining the elements of both in his compositions. As a pianist, he has developed a remarkable sensitivity for the aesthetics of sound, as well as a technical finesse and an expertise in classical jazz piano styles. His playing characteristically involves polyphonic voice leading, governed by the influence of academic music. For almost two decades on Lithuanian jazz scene, the pianist currently performs solo and with his quartet. Besides composing and arranging, Artūras Anusauskas also teaches jazz improvisation at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. Some of his original compositions, such as the ballad Išgirsk mane (Hear Me) or Nuotaka upė (River Bride), are likely to become Lithuanian jazz standards.

The pianist, soloist and group leader, Head of jazz Department at Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, Artūras Anusauskas (b. 1964) stands out for a graceful blend of jazz and classical music idioms, special quality of sound close to the romantic and impressionist pianism, and polyphonic voice leading. The classically trained pianist discovered improvisation in his teen years, while studying at the M.K.Čiurlionis School of Arts. As he progressed in his studies at the Lithuanian Academy of Music, his interest in jazz increased. In 1983 he became a laureate of the International Student Piano Improvisation Festival held by the Academy of Music, and since then embarked on dynamic jazz musician's career. Later on he attended jazz improvisation courses in Denmark and Germany.

A virtuoso performer with a refined sound and command of classical jazz piano styles, Arturas Anusauskas made his debut as a group leader in 1990. In 1993 he founded a well acclaimed quintet With this quintet he toured Italy, Germany, Austria and Romania, and won, in 1994, the Birštonas Jazz Festival Grand Prix.

Artūras Anusauskas has appeared with different Lithuanian jazz musicians: Vytautas Labutis, Vladimir Chekasin,Neda Malūnavičiūtė, Darius Rudis,Vytis Nivinskas. He has also played with the Anne Kierulf,Steve Houghton, Jimmi Roger Pedersen, Marco Tamburini.

One of the highlights of the pianist's solo career was George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue which he performed with the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Gintaras Rinkevičius). In 1997 Anusauskas became a laureate of the International Leipzig Improvisation Competition where he also received special prize for polyphonic improvisation. To recognize his achievement, the Lithuanian Musicians' Union awarded him with the Gold Disc in 2005.

Over the past years he has mostly been heard as a solo pianist and with his quartet, which recorded the first full album of his music, Feast of Silence. In 2004 the quartet received the award of the Broadway Music Club as the best jazz group of the year.

Besides performing, Anusauskas is involved in composing and arranging. Currently he teaches jazz improvisation at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre.
© Jūratė Kučinskaitė

Ola Bengtsson

Born 1957 in Hässleholm Sweden.
Music Education:

  • Diploma in Professional Music 1980, Berklee College of Music, Boston, USA.
  • Professional teachertraining and exam 1988, Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden.

Author of the following books in jazztheory and improvisation:

  • Jazzharmony I-II (functional and modal harmony)
  • Jazz, rock and poparranging
  • Jazzarranging for large ensembles
  • Eartraining (Tonal and Modal melodies with movable Do-system)
  • Atonal eartraining (intervallic)

Present occupation:

  • Director of Jazz Studies at the Institution of Jazz at The Royal College – Kungliga Musikhögskolan in Stockholm, Sweden since 1993. A university level jazz-program with 50 teachers and 90 students in performance studies, theory, teacher-training and ensemble.
  • Teacher in jazzguitar, improvisation, ensemble, harmony, composition, arranging and eartraining at the Royal College since 1988.
  • Freelance musician as a guitarist in a wide variety of styles from duo to bigbands.

CD’s, tours or gigs with Stockholm Jazz Orchestra (guests: Toots Thielemans, Maria Schneider, Jens Winter, Carlos Franzetti, Jim McNeely), Mikael Råbergs Bigband, Tolvan Bigband, Pan Trio, Lill Babs, Claes Jansson, Esbjörn Svensson Trio, Nisse Landgren, Gunnar Siljablo, Peps Blodsband, Kjell Öman, The Swedish Radiojazzgroup (with different leaders as Lennart Åberg, George Russel), Norrbotten Big Band (leaders: Tim Hagans, Maria Schneider, Peter Erskine) and other small groups. Lecturer in jazzimprovisation, composition, harmony, arranging and guitar.

Søren Kjærgaard

His work as a pianist, composer and improviser encompasses a variety of settings ranging from his trans-Atlantic trio with drummer Andrew Cyrille and bassist Ben Street, to the duo collaboration with Torben Ulrich, the 82 year old legendary Danish tennis player and inter-disciplinary artist.
Most of SK’s activities in recent years have been exploring and interweaving different approaches to music and sound, converging elements of improvisation, composition, performativity and practice into one dynamic field of play. This has lead to a manifold of international exchanges, commissions and a growing discography of critically acclaimed albums.
SK graduated at the Rhtyhmic Music Conservatory in 2002, after having done his diploma in New York City. He has received numerous awards and grants, including 1st Prize in the Young Nordic Jazz Comets (’00), the Danish Radio Jazz Prize (’04), three Danish Music Award nominations (’06, ’09), a Danish Arts Council Prize Award (’10) for the album “Open Opus” with Kjærgaard/Street/Cyrille and most recently his third trio release “Femklang” with Street and Cyrille was selected as Album Of The Year 2011 in The New York Jazz Record followed by other “best of 2011″ selections.
SK has had a busy calendar in recent years, touring in Europe, Asia, Canada and the US with both his own projects and in various collaborations. Having released 10 albums as a leader and played on thirty-some albums as a sideman, SK is regarded one of the leading voices coming out of the vibrant Danish jazz- and improv scene today.

Sami Antero Linna

Guitarist Sami Linna has worked as a lecturer at the Sibelius Academy since 2011. As a musician he has performed/recorded with most of the top Finnish jazz musicians as well as in international collaborations and his own projects. Currently Sami is working on completing his doctor's degree on McCoy Tyner's style of combining tonal and modal approaches in jazz improvisation. "For me the most intriguing things in jazz are the details that escape the common theories on jazz."

Photo by Petra Cvelbar
Fredrik Ljungkvist

Born 1969 in Kristinehamn, Sweden, moved to Stockholm 1989. After completing his studies at the Royal Acedemy of Music in Stockholm in 1993, he rapidly was established as one of the most creative and saxophone players of the Swedish jazzscene. Through the years Fredrik has been performing at festivals and clubs all around the world and he has collaborated with groups and musicians as: Per Henrik Wallin, Axel Dörner, Ken Vandermark Territory Band, Bobo Stenson, Marylin Crispell, Mats Gustafsson, LSB, Atomic/Schooldays, Anders Jormin, Sten Sandell. He´s participated on over 60 jazzrecords.

His main thing is the work with Yun Kan 5 and Yun Kan 10 but also the Norwegian/Swedish group Atomic.

Fredrik is also teaching at the Conservatory of Music in Gothenburg and at the Royal Acedemy of Music in Stockholm. His main instruments are tenorsaxophone, Bb clarinet and barytonsaxophone. ”Ljungkvist is one of the best kept secrets of the European continent..”

All About Jazz ”...he explores the richness of his horn with an endless flow of ideas” (

Liudas Mockūnas

Liudas Mockunas has been active on European Jazz scene as solo performer and co-leader of bands Pasborg - Mockunas Toxikum, Saga Quartet, Red Planet, Kablys, duos with Marc Ducret, Ryoji Hojito and Vladimir Tarasov. He is a member of Pasborg’s Odessa 5, Vladimir Tarasov Trio, Copenhagen Art Ensemble, the Lithuanian New Music ensemble Gaida. He played with Piere Dorge’s New Jungle Orchestra, Andrew Hill's Jazz Par Octet, Mikko Innanen’s Inkvisitio, Ibrahim Electric, Trio VD, Mats Gustafsson, Burry Guy, Raymond Strid, Frank Gratkowski, Vladimir Chekasin, Jaak Sooaar, Jacob Anderskov, Marc Solborg, Jonas Westergaard, Mats Eilertsen, Nils Davidsen, Jakob Riis...

The creative interests of Mockūnas are focused on improvised music and experimental jazz stage. In 2004 Liudas Mockunas and Stefan Pasborg band Toxikum reiceved the "Danish Music Award' for there album "Toxikum", Mockunas also has reiceved "Vilnius Jazz Prize" 2006', Birstonas Jazz 2008, the Lithuanian Musicians Union prize "Golden Disc" 2008' and the “Golden Cross” for the best Lithuanian drama theatre composer 2011.

Mockunas plays new academic music of such composers as Anatolijus Senderovas, Alvydas Malcys, Dietrich Eichmann, Bronius Kutavicius, Giedrius Puskunigis, Vykintas Baltakas, Viacheslav Ganelin. As a soloist of new academic music he played with Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, Kralovy Hradec Symphony Orchestra, St. Christofer Chamber Orchestra, Klaipeda Chamber Orchestra and string quartet Chordos.

Artis Orubs

Born in 1983 in Riga, Latvia. Main influence and guide in his first musical steps lead by his father - drummer, Indris Orubs (Odis) who gave him possibility to develop his drum gene just being around good music and different musical circumstances: rehearsals, live concerts and studio recordings. Crusual impact was classical percussion (marimba, xylophone, vibraphone, snare drum, timpani) studies at special school of music in the name of E. Darzins (1991 - 2001) under the guidance of Dzintra Knābe. At age of 13 Artis starts to play in drum & percussion tandem together with his father in blues band (Dr Bormentol) and forms steady rock beatfoundation. From there on he gets involved in different professional musical activities: touring, live performances and studio recordings as sideman and leader, all around the Baltics for next several years. On 2002 moves to Amsterdam to expand his musical and topographical territory. In 2008 obtained bachelor studies in Conservatory van Amsterdam - Jazz department under the guidance of teachers Gherard Jeltes, Joost Lybart, Marcel Serierse, Lucas van Merwijk, Martijn Vink, Victor Oskam and Bart Fermie. Currently Artis lives in Riga and is being active in performing, session work, arranging, producing, concert organizing through all Europe and Middle East and holds on teaching position in Jazz department of Latvian Academy of Music.  Performed with Dr Borhmentol, Omi, Driving south, Dakota, Shake & Bake and Jānis Stībelis, Ingus Ulmanis & Aigars Voitišķis, Raimonds Macats,RM5, Olga Pirags, Autobuss debesīs, Pits Andersons, Ivars Petersons, Raimonds Pauls, Aparāts, Circus of Riga, Latvian National Theater, Latvian National Simphonic orchestra, Kaspars Dimiters, Deniss Paškevičs, Skygroove, Inga Bērziņa, Rīgas kamermūziķi and Normunds Šnē, Frans van der Hoeven, Japser Bloom, Marc van Roon, Janet Lawson, Boris Gammer, Eric Boeren, Wilbert de Jode, Franky Douglas, Paul Pallesen, Yasmin Kedar,MisBond, Cesar Latorre trio,Thomsen group,Hans Antehed, Desiderio Lazaro quintet, Margo Klerx, Andy Arnold trio, Sicilian clan, Thomas Bekhuis experience, The Cockatoos, Philharmonic funk foundation, Modest Midget, Lonny Ziblat, Martin Zand Scholten, Thys van Leer, Boele Weemhoff, Joy Wielkens, Arpi Farkas, SoulBrasileiro, Vladimir Spisiak quartet, Mariska de Wilde & Anke Timmer, Dimitar Bodurov, Margriet Sjoerdsma, Wauter Hammel, The History of Dynamite, Luidas Mockunas, Philip Walkate, David Uzhaki, Kobi Farhi, The TrueBaDoors, Wim Weinhof, Anthonio Hart, Michael Moosman, Jasper Bloom, David Marks, Steve Waitt, Liz Clark, Dimitris Pantelias, Petras Vysniauskas, Domynikas Vysniauskas, The Clipsters, Torben Pugard, Mogus Andersen, Raymond Munencomp, Ed Boekee, Wouter Penris Gravpop, Eline Gemerts, Lilian D. Jackson, Steef Cuipers, Bas van Lier, Christian Frank, Claus Kaarsgaard, Funk Theraphy, Dinamic, Jusstone, Sophie Bernado,The Hollgerson, Kjell Gunnar Hoff, Nikolaj Bentzon, Signe Juhl, Steef Cuipers, Bas van Lier, Dominique Eade, Raphael Wressing, Nils Wogram, Arturas Bumšteinas, Ilia Belorukov, Spiral Vortex, James Thomas, Vladimir Galaktionov, Laima Jansone, Alexey Liapko, The Hollgerson and many, many more.

Competitions: Sinepes un medus 1998 (Omi - best debute), Sinepes un medus 1999 (Driving south - best guitar player), Liepājas dzintars 2001 (Driving south - grand prix), Holland casino award 2007 (Vladimir Spisiak quatret - 1'st place ), YPF 2007 ( Cesar Latorre trio 2'nd place), Hoeilaart international jazz competition 2008 (Cesar Latorre trio -2'nd place)

Festivals: Sinepes un medus (LV), Liepājas dzintars (LV), Jhonnie Walker blues festival (LV), Pelican blues festival (LV), Sigulda Jazz (LV), Rigas Ritmi (LV), Saxaphonia (LV), Saulkrasti jazz (LV), Bildes (LV), NEU/NOW Live (EST), Tallin blues festival (EST), JazzOn (EST), Bluiza naktys (LT), Notodden blues festival (NO), Tudengi jazz festival (EST), Den Hague jazz (NL), Bingen swingt (DE), Jazz fiets tour (NL), Zante jazz (GR).
Performed in Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Slovakia, Belgium, Holland, Greece, Israel.

Selected discography: Hap cats lives nine lives - Dr Borhmentol (1998) ; ZZZ – Aparāts (2000.); Vēl tuvāk - Ingus Ulmanis & Aigars Voitišķis and Domā par mani - Autobus debesis (2002); 4 am – Skygroove and Lielgabals un zvirbulis – Aparāts (2004); Day's delight - Margo Klerx and Bloom - Margriet Sjoerdsma (2008); The History of Dynamite (2009), The book of Revelation – DPTrio and Fast forward - Cesar Latorre trio (2010), Islands - Raimonds Tigulis (2011),Pag Pag - Mona de Bo. Riga - Pekina - Ilona Balode, Rolands Ūdris, Outlook - Frank/Pashkevich quartet (2012).

Jaak Sooäär

(b. 1972) was born in Tallinn, Estonia. In 1994, he graduated from the Music College in Tallinn and, in 2001, from the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen. Since 2001, he has taught guitar at the Jazz Music Department of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, since 2004 acted as the head of the department and in 2010 was elected to work as a professor .

Sooäär's first concerts (all over the Soviet Union) took place as a member of the Estonian Boys' Choir in which he started singing at the age of seven. Since 1989, he has been active on the Estonian jazz and pop scene, playing guitar literally with everybody of note.

Since the late 1990s, Sooäär has performed with many internationally known jazz musicians, including Tony Allen, Conny Bauer, Han Bennink, Raoul Björkenheim, Eric Brochard, Gavin Bryars, Kent Carter, Pierre Dørge, Arkady Gotesman, Mikko Innanen, Aske Jacoby, Anders Jormin, Andrei Kondakov, Dave Kikoski, Alexey Kruglov, Dave Liebman, Joe Lovano, Ramon Lopez, Ron McClure, Karlheinz Miklin, Liudas Mockunas, Jari Perkiomäki, Etienne Rolin, John Schröder, Harri Sjöström and Petras Vyšniauskas, and has been active in several international bands, including The Dynamite Vikings, Erdmann/Sooäär Dessert Time (1st prize at international Peer Gynt Improvisation Contest in Pärnu, Estonia, in 2001), Mockunas-Pasborg Project, Free Tallinn Trio, Tuule Kann-Jaak Sooäär andAlmost Zebra (3rd place at the 5th European Improvisation Tournament in Poitiers, France, in 2001). In May 2006 Sooäär performed as guest soloist with WDR Big Band (Germany).

In 1999, Sooäär toured with The European Jazz Youth Orchestra and, in 2003, took part in the EBU Big Band in Istanbul, Turkey. One of his Estonian groups, Eesti Keeled, was given the Estonian Music Award as the best etno/folk artist both in 2003 and in 2005. In 2007 Sooäär was the first jazz musician to get Estonian Annual Jazz Prize and the same year he also recieved annual prize of Estonian Culture Endownment (Eesti Kultuurkapital). Jaak Sooäär appears on around 25 jazz CD-s.

Vladimir Tarasov

Nat Hentoff (Wall Street Journal) describes Vladimir Tarasov as a master of decorative brushwork, “a drummer of rare subtlety and cunning, who takes sensual delight in the very touch of his extensive array of instruments, from finger chimes to cymbals.”

From 1971 to 1986, Tarasov was a member of the well-known contemporary jazz trio – GTC/The Ganelin Trio. With the Trio and many other artists and orchestras he has recorded more than 100 records and CDs including numerous solo performances. He has written music for orchestras, film, and theatre: Staatstheater, Stuttgart – 1995, Majestic Theater at The Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York – 1995; Josef Nadj Centre Choreographique National Orleans, Orleans – 1998, 2004; Theatre Vidy-Lausanne, Meierhold Centre, Moskow – 2003, Arte France, Paris – 2006, Eudeka Media, Poland, Yleisradio, Finland – 2009, etc.

Vladimir Tarasov has performed with such musicians as Andrew Cyrille, the Rova Saxophone Quartet, Anthony Braxton, Lauren Newton, Butch Morris, Thomas Stanko, Gyorgy Szabados, Masahiko Satoh, among others.
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Petras Vyšniauskas
He is a leading figure of the new Lithuanian jazz scene ranked as a multi-instrumentalist, who plays soprano saxophone and saxophone alto, clarinet and bass clarinet. P. Vyšniauskas represents Lithuania around the world: he toured all the Europe, United States, Japan and Australia.

He played with Steve Lacy, Han Bennink, Vladimir Volkov, Jon Christensen, Tomasz Stanko, Art Baron, Kent Carter, Horace Tapscott, John Lindberg, Theo Jörgensmann, Jimmy Owens, Elliot Sharp, Paul Jeffrey, the "Rova Saxophone Quartet", Ganelin Trio Priority, On Davis, Charly Mariano, Karl Berger, Ingrid Sertso, Steven Bernstainer, Marc Abrams, Bill Elgart, Herb Robertson, Marc Feldman, Vladimir Chekasin BigBand, Klaus Kugel, Bobo Stenson, Reiner Winterschladen, Vijay Iyer, and many others. Performed at over a hundred musical and jazz festivals worldwide: VISION Festival XII NYC 2007, London Jazz Festival, Pori, Zagreb, Tokio, Moscow, Perth.

Petras‘ performed in occasional gigs with Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra, Kaunas Chamber Orchestra, and organists. On 2007 he has been invited to perform in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, NYC and Paris UNESCO house with Orchestra of St. Luke’s NYC, Metropolitan Opera Choir, Philharmonic Orchestra of Prague and Radio France Choir. He has recorded music to about 40 plays, composed several film scores, released over 60 CDs.

Inspired by his playing, several composers of symphonic or chamber music composed pieces for him. He is creative, versatile and has an extraordinary virtuosity, and is able to incorporate differing styles of jazz as well as contemporary concert music in his playing without losing his links with his personal roots - the spirit and profundity of Lithuanian folk-music.

Since 1988 P. Vyšniauskas lectures course of saxophone and improvisation at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. He conducted master- classes in Lithuania, Germany, France, Australia, Sweden, Estonia.

Petras Vyšniauskas has been conferred Lithuanian state decorations, Lithuanian National Prize of Culture and Art. From 2013 he is Artistic Director of the Lithuanian State wind band “ Trimitas “.

‘‘Vysniauskas" tone is sometimes reminescent of John Surman in his most ambient voyages, or Paul Dunmall in his most muscular playing; but he remains a higly original player ‘‘, wrote Eyal Hareuveni (, 2005).