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90th LMTA Anniversary Celebration at the Philharmonic Society

This year, the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (LMTA) is celebrating its 90th anniversary. On March 29, the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Society hold a celebratory event to commemorate the special date in the history of the LMTA, the largest higher education institution in the Baltic States providing studies in music, theater, cinema, and dance. The celebration concert featured the Academy’s students – from performances by the LMTA Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Choir, chamber ensembles and soloists, to the premiere of a new piece by LMTA doctoral students Raminta Naujanytė-Bjelle and Matas Samulionis. The LMTA Rector, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Judita Žukienė greeted the audience with a celebration speech.

LMTA Rector Assoc. Prof. Dr. Judita Žukienė (c) G. Matkutė

On the occasion of the anniversary, the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre received congratulations from President of the Republic of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda, Speaker of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, and Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania Ingrida Šimonytė. During the ceremony held before the concert, special guests – Minister of Education, Science and Sports Jurgita Šiugždinienė, Minister of Culture Simonas Kairys, Chairman of the Committee on Culture of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania Prof. Vytautas Juozapaitis, Mayor-Elect of Vilnius Valdas Benkunskas, Chairman of the Research Council of Lithuania Prof. Dr. Gintaras Valinčius, Rector of Mykolas Romeris University Prof. Dr. Inga Žalėnienė, Rector of the Lithuanian Sports University Prof. Dr. Diana Rėklaitienė, Vice-Rectors of Vilnius Academy of Arts Dr. Ieva Pleikienė and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Marius Iršėnas, and members of the Association of Specialised Music Education in Lithuania, among others – expressed their congratulations.

The two-part concert featured the young LMTA talents who impressed the audience with their imposing interpretations: the remarkable performing skills of the aspiring musicians were not left unnoticed. The concert was opened by the LMTA Chamber Choir performing Gaudeamus, an anthem of the academic community, under the baton of Prof. Gintautas Venislovas, the artistic director of the choir. Linas Rimša’s Sanctus from Missa lituana continued the programme. It was followed Vytautas Germanavičius’ Aismarės, a piece for folk chamber ensemble performed by students of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Aistė Bružaitė, Assoc. Prof. Jolanta Babaliauskienė, Assoc. Prof. Egidijus Ališauskas, and lecturer Kęstutis Lipeika: Jokūbas Vaitelė (birbynė), Tomas Nedzinskas (birbynė), Saulė Zadesenec (kanklės), Ūla Paliokaitė (kanklės), Gabija Tatlauskaitė (kanklės), Viktorija Gečaitė (kanklės), and Aušrine Ulinskaitė (bass kanklės).

LMTA Chamber Choir (c) G. Matkutė

Students of Prof. Dr. Indrė Baikštytė’s chamber ensemble class – Jonas Benjaminas Balsys (piano), Paulina Jankovskytė (violin), and Ludvikas Silickas (cello)– performed a stylish interpretation of Eduardas Balsys’ Habanera. Also, the audience could enjoy Anatoly Shenderov’s arrangement for piano trio.

Pianist Arminas Suchovas’ (Prof. Zbignevas Ibelgauptas’ class) rendering of Ballade in G minor by Frédéric Chopin was compelling. György Ligeti Bagatelles No. 1, 3, and 4, performed by students of Assoc. Prof. Julius Černius’ quintet class Ainė Kaziukonytė (flute), Valerija Vitkauskaitė (oboe), Morta Jurkėnaitė (clarinet), Lukas Grinkas (bassoon) and Gediminas Abaris (French horn), represented the 20th-century classical music.

A playful interpretation by marimba virtuosos Lukas Budzinauskas, Karolis Jurgaitis and Džiugas Daugirda, students of Sigitas Gailius and Tomas Kulikauskas, thrilled the audience. The young musicians performed AftaStuba!, a song by Mark Ford, in an incredibly elegant manner, while the whole performance even became a small mise-en-scène.

The premiere of Spaces by Raminta Naujanytė-Bjelle and Matas Samulionis, LMTA doctoral students, was particularly awaited by the listeners. The intrigue was not merely the new piece, but the ways of its performing that had to reveal technological potential of today’s process of creating music: Bjelle (Prof. Dr. Mārtiņš Viļums’ class), apart from performing the vocals, used interactive music gloves, while Matas Samulionis (Assoc. Prof. Mantas Krukauskas class) played synthesizers and effects chains.

The second part of the concert saw an impressive performance by the LMTA Symphony Orchestra. Conducted by the artistic director Assoc. Prof. Martynas Staškus, the orchestra continued inspiring the audience with renderings of European and Lithuanian classics. The fifth fragment The Manor of Eglė’s Parents of Eduardas Balsys’ ballet Eglė the Queen of Serpents was followed by the second movement of Julius Juzeliūnas’ Concerto for clarinet and strings Allegretto con brio, soloist Rapolas Bartulis, Assoc. Prof. Rimvydas Savickas’ student. Violinist Kristijonas Pūtys (a student of Prof. Dr. Rūta Lipinaitytė) – the Grand Prix winner of the 2nd Baltic Strings competition – performed Camille Saint-Saëns’ Etude in the Form of a Waltz Op. 52 No. 6 (arranged by Eugène Ysaÿe) with incredible enthusiasm.

The audience then admired marvellous sounds of solo tuba performance by Eglė Liutkauskaitė’s (a student of Assoc. Prof. Laimonas Masevičius) rendering of Romanza, the second movement of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Concerto in F minor for bass tuba and orchestra.

Many listeners couldn’t help smiling when listening to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Finale from the opera The Marriage of Figaro. A pleasantly invigorating and uplifting, the finale was performed by students of the Department of Vocal Performance: Sopranos Austėja Zinkevičiūtė (Prof. Irena Milkevičiūtė’s class), Beata Kučinskaitė (Prof. Sigutė Stonytė’s class), Emilė Elena Dačinskaitė (Prof. Asta Krikščiūnaitė’s class), Viktorija Jakštienė (Prof. Deividas Staponkus’ class), Giedrė Kisieliūtė (lecturer Saulė Šerytė’s class), and Eglė Klimašauskaitė (Assoc. Prof. Aušra Stasiūnaitė’s class); tenor Dominykas Urba (Prof. Algirdas Janutas’ class); baritones Deividas Bartkus (Assoc. Prof. Liudas Norvaišas’s class) and Regimantas Gabšys (Prof. Vladimiras Prudnikovas’ class); bass-baritone Jevgenijus Kovalčiukas (Assoc. Prof. Liudas Norvaišas’ class), and bass Alfredas Miniotas (Prof. Vladimiras Prudnikovas’ class).

The concert was closed by Johannes Brahms’s Academic Festival Overture in C minor. In the finale of the piece, the Gaudeamus anthem sounded once again: and, at that moment, the conductor Martynas Staškus turned to the audience inviting the academic community and all guests of the event to join the choir. The evening ended on an upbeat note. The events celebrating the Academy’s anniversary are to continue throughout the year and will take place on the premises of the LMTA Vilnius and Klaipėda faculties and beyond them, in various venues of the cities.

Beata Baublinskienė 
English translation by Viltė Gridasova
31 March 2023