History and Activity
The origins of the Department of String Instruments go back to the Kaunas Conservatoire (established in 1933, the predecessor of the LMTA) of the interwar period where subjects related to string instruments were mainly taught by the Lithuanian performers of Jewish origin Ruvinas Robertas Stenderis (killed during WWII), Adolfas Metzas, the cellist Povilas Berkavičius and others. In 1949, the Department of String Instruments at the Vilnius-based Lithuanian State Conservatoire had a group of local teachers — the violinist Kornelija Kalinauskaitė, the double bassist Povilas Bekeris and others, joined by the violinist Yakov Targonski (who became the first head of department), the violinist Aleksandr Livont, and the cellist Lev Seidel who had all come from Moscow. Throughout the Department’s history, it has always had the most significant Lithuanian performers, among them the conductor and violinist Saulius Sondeckis, the violinist Raimundas Katilius and others, in its teaching team.
The Department’s teachers are also famous Lithuanian artists. The task of training high-level performers is ensured by the teachers’ competence and professionalism, intensive work and the wide range of repertoire covered.
The Department prepares violin, viola, cello and double bass players, guitarists and harpists. In addition to the instrument of specialisation, the students study orchestral parts, practice sight-reading and are introduced to the basics of teaching methodology. Chamber Ensemble, String Quartet (at the Chamber Ensemble Department), and Music Performance in a Symphony Orchestra are among the key subjects taught.
The teachers and students of the Department participate in the ERASMUS and Nordplius programmes. The Department cooperates with other European higher education institutions and educators whose string instrument performance schools are close to the one applied at the Department. Boris Garlitsky (violin), Pierre-Henri Xuereb (viola) and Philippe Muller (cello) — professors of the Paris Conservatoire (CNSMD) — have run masterclasses for the LMTA students on several occasions. The world-famous artists Mstislav Rostropovich, Yo-Yo Ma, Nobuko Imai, Yuri Bashmet and Sergey Krylov as well as professors from Austria, the Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Sweden and other European countries, have also organised masterclasses at the Academy.
Every year, students at the Department of String Instruments, selected on the basis of competition, participate in international youth orchestra programmes such as Gustav Mahler (GMJO), European Union (EUYO), ANIMATO, the Baltic Youth Philharmonic, (Orkester Norden), the World Youth Orchestra and the Baltic Academies Orchestra.
The LMTA Department of String Instruments is one of the organisers of the International Jascha Heifetz Competition for Violinists. In addition, the Department organises the Raimundas Katilius Competition for Young Lithuanian Performers, supervises the International Balys Dvarionas Competition for Young Pianists and Violinists, and organises scientific methodological conferences. In addition to the concerts by the students of the Department, creative evenings by individual student groups and student recitals take place in Vilnius and other cities around Lithuania.