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LMTA to Hold Long-Established Competitions for Singers

LMTA Honorary Doctor Stasys Baras Foundation Award Competition for Singers and the 21st Vincė Jonuškaitė-Zaunienė Competition for Female Singers: these competitions organised by the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre have already become a tradition and are to take place on 19-20 April, 2021.

Stasys Baras

The events will be held online. While the singers will be performing on the stage of the LMTA Great Hall, the audience can enjoy their performances in real time via tv.lmta.lt platform.

The competitions are open to the LMTA students only.

In 2020, the music community celebrated the birth centenary of Lithuanian tenor Stasys Baras, an acclaimed opera singer, a famous member of the Lithuanian community in the USA, and Honorary Doctor of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. LMTA Honorary Doctor Stasys Baras Award Competition for Singers is held to commemorate the 100th birth anniversary of Stasys Baras. First taking place in 1997 and having been held since then, this competition is one of the oldest not only among the contests held at the Academy but among those organised for Lithuanian male singers, in general. Its most famous laureates are Edgaras Montvidas, Kostas Smoriginas, Tadas Girininkas, Eugenijus Chrebtovas, Merūnas Vitulskis and many other experienced and young singers of Lithuania.

Lithuanian opera soloist, tenor Stasys Baranauskas-Baras was born in 1920 in a small village of Mierčiai, Vilkaviškis district (the south-west of Lithuania). He entered the Kaunas Conservatory to study vocal performance and also attended classes of Lithuanian baritone Jonas Būtėnas. Stasys Baranauskas-Baras made his debut in 1943 in Kaunas; however, a year later, left Lithuania and continued mastering his vocal skills as well as performing in Germany, Vienna (Austria), Rome (Italy) and Chicago (the USA). In 1949, Chicago became his second home; yet, he continued giving performances all around the world: in Europe, Australia, and across the United States. The tenor also performed in the Lithuanian opera of Chicago and made vinyl recordings.

Vincė Jonuškaitė-Zaunienė in opera “Aida”. Source: www.lnb.lt

In 1958, Stasys Baranauskas-Baras started a career at the Standard Federal Bank of Chicago; from 1983 to 1998, was a member of the Board of Directors of the bank. In 1991, he organised a two-week Lithuanian music festival in Chicago: this event also hosted the 7th Lithuanian Song Celebration of the Lithuanians of the USA and Canada.

Juozas Janužas – winner of the previous Stasys Baras Foundation Award Competition in 2017, accompanist Raminta Gocentienė

In 1977, Stasys Baranauskas-Baras joined of the Lithuanian Foundation; later – acted as its Board member; and for six times (1982–1985; 1988–1991) was elected the Lithuanian Foundation Board Chairman.

In 1997, Stasys Baranauskas-Baras established Stasys Baras Foundation Award for Young Lithuanian Singers. In 2000, he was awarded the degree of Honorary Doctor of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. Singer and patron Stasys Baranauskas-Baras died in Oak Brook, the suburbs of Chicago in 2006.

Stasys Baras Foundation Award Competition is held not only to commemorate the famous tenor: it also makes his life meaningful and relevant nowadays. This year, the total fund of USD 2.250 will be divided among the three best male singers.

As for female singers, they are invited to participate in the Vincė Jonuškaitė-Zaunienė Competition that has been organised by the LMTA since 2000. This year, we will be able to enjoy the event for the twenty-first time. The Vydūnas Youth Foundation, the sponsor of the event, has assigned EUR2.000 for the prizes. Vincė Jonuškaitė-Zaunienė (1901–1997) was the most expressive Carmen of the interwar opera and a most memorable performer of other mezzo-soprano roles. After the WWII, she moved to the USA becoming an active member of the musical world of the American Lithuanians.

Austėja Zinkevičiūtė – winner of the previous Vincė Jonuškaitė-Zaunienė Competition, 2019, accompanist Raminta Gocentienė

For over twenty years, the laureates of the Vincė Jonuškaitė-Zaunienė Competition for Female Singers have made a successful career both in Lithuania and abroad. These are, among others, Asmik Grigorian, Jurgita Adamonytė, Raminta Vaicekauskaitė, Viktorija Miškūnaitė, and Lina Dambrauskaitė.

Each year, the two competitions bring up more and more new names that deserve the attention of the audience, and, naturally, young singers find these competitions a valuable event, worth taking part in.  

LMTA Honorary Doctor Stasys Baras Foundation Award Competition for Singers take place on 19 April, 2021 from 12 amThe 21st Vincė Jonuškaitė-Zaunienė Competition for Female Singers take place on 20 April, 2021 from 12 am

LMTA information 
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