History and Activity
The Department of Accompaniment at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre trains universally skilled professional piano accompanists in a comprehensive manner.
The department was founded in 1987; however, accompaniment as a study subject was offered to students on a systematic basis from 1957, at the Accompaniment Class which was then part of the Piano Department. There, a methodology for teaching accompaniment was developed.
New trends in the European performing arts, the divergence between solo and ensemble performance, the specifics of performing Lied and Melodie – German and French chamber vocal music – and the modernised repertoires of opera and ballet continue to pose new challenges for piano accompanists.
Outstanding Lithuanian artists teaching at the Department of Accompaniment — Prof. Chaimas Potašinskas (1924-2009), a pianist and conductor at the Opera and Ballet Theatre; Prof. Gražina Ručytė-Landsbergienė, a longtime accompanist at the Opera and Ballet Theatre; Assoc. Prof. Virginija Dabkutė, a performer of the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra; and Assoc. Prof. Erika Dineikaitė — have made a considerable impact on the development of the performing art of accompaniment. The development of a coherent three-cycle study programme created the basis for the purposeful training of professional piano accompanists.
Currently, the Department employs famous artists and piano accompanists who have gained recognition in Lithuania and abroad such as Prof. Irena Uss-Armonienė, Head of Department and a member of Armonas-Uss Duo and the piano trio The Armonai Trio; Prof. Nijolė Ralytė, stage partner with Prof. Vladimir Prudnikov, a distinguished Lithuanian opera singer, and other opera soloists; Prof. Audronė Kisieliūtė, an accompanist for soprano LMTA Prof. Asta Krikščiūnaitė; Assoc. Prof. Irena Markauskienė, Assoc. Prof. Eglė Perkumaitė-Vikšraitienė, and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Indrė Baikšytė, member of the piano trio FortVio; the lecturer Dr. Eglė Kižytė-Ramonienė and lecturer and Master of Arts Jonė Punytė, who are both laureates of international pianists and piano accompaniment competitions.
The Department of Accompaniment is an engaged participant of the European international exchange programs Erasmus + and Nordplus. The teachers develop their professional skills by participating in internships, run interpretation mastery courses and lead creative workshops for international higher education students.
The departments of Lied and Accompaniment at the higher music education institutions of Stuttgart, Mannheim, Leipzig and Hanover, Berlin University of the Arts, the Higher National Conservatory in Lyon, the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, the Giuseppe Verdi State Music Conservatory in Turin, the National University of Music Bucharest, the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, the Academy of Music in Krakow, the Karol Lipinski Music Academy in Wroclaw and other higher music education institutions are among the long-term partners of the LMTA Department of Accompaniment.
In 2012, together with six other European higher music education institutions, the LMTA Department of Accompaniment successfully participated in the ERASMUS intensive projects (IP) European Lied Forum 2012 in Berlin and the European Lied Forum 2013 in Vilnius.
You can find information and videos from both forums here:
Cooperation with colleagues from the Opera Studio at the Sibelius Music Academy in Helsinki has led to experience sharing for training opera coaches. In 2018, on the invitation of the Sibelius Music Academy, teachers and students from the LMTA Department of Accompaniment participated in the NordOpera project.
Prepared by Prof. Irena Uss-Armonienė, Head of the Department of Accompaniment