BALTIC CENTENNIAL OPENING CONCERT


BOSTON SYMPHONY HALL

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2018 7:00PM

  • Vilnius City Municipality St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra from Lithuania
  • Estonian Pianist Hando Nahkur
  • North American Latvian Quartet

Sponsored by

  • Lithuanian Council for Culture, Vilnius, LTU
  • Lithuanian American Community, Inc.
  • Lithuanian Foundation Inc.
  • Lithuanian Credit Union "Taupa"
  • Baltic American Society of New England, Inc.
  • Latvian Ministry of Culture
  • Mrs. Epp Karike Sonin

Baltic Choir and Folk Dance Concert


COPLEY MARRIOTT HOTEL

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2018 2:00PM

Performers representing each Baltic nation will join forces to present a concert exhibiting the depth and breadth of Baltic traditional and contemporary performing arts. School children, choirs, folk ensembles, and dance troupes will participate in creating a joyful and diverse program. The concert finale will include a massed choir of all performers singing in all three Baltic languages.

Biru Bar


COPLEY MARRIOTT HOTEL

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2018 5pm -6pm

Biru Bar is a traditional Lithuanian folk music ensemble that has travelled all over the United States keeping Lithuania alive in all of our hearts... Find Out More




THE VILNIUS CITY MUNICIPALITY ST. CHRISTOPHER CHAMBER ORCHESTRA


Sponsored by: Lithuanian Council for Culture, Lithuanian Foundation Inc., Lithuanian American Community Inc., Lithuanian Federal Credit Union "Taupa".

The Vilnius City Municipality St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra (artistic director and chief conductor – Modestas Barkauskas, conductor emeritus – Donatas Katkus) is a collective widely known for its universality, professionalism, and artistic imagination. The orchestra is an eagerly awaited guest not just in prestigious concert halls in Lithuania and abroad, such as the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, the Harpa in Reikjavik, the Berwaldhallen in Stockholm, at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, or the Royal Palace in Warsaw, St. Petersburg’s M. Glinka Hall, or Moscow’s P. Tchaikovsky’s Conservatory, but also in less predictable places like outdoor stages or even sand quarries…

The orchestra was formed in 1994 by the initiative of professor Donatas Katkus, who at first envisaged creating a baroque orchestra. At the time there were few ensembles in Lithuania who were dedicated to performing music of this era, and the director was guided by the principles of the Russian romantic school for its interpretation. Talented, young Vilnius musicians from various orchestras in Vilnius gathered at the first rehearsals of this new collective and held their first concerts in February of that same year. In 1995 they took the name of St. Christopher – the patron saint of Vilnius and travelers; Monsieur Kazimieras Vasiliauskas blessed the orchestra at the Vilnius Arch cathedral. At first playing music by Italians A. Corelli, A. Vivaldi, T. Albinoni and other baroque composers, the orchestra soon took to interpreting the music of contemporary Lithuanian composers. Many have noted that the St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra stands out from other collectives in Lithuania for its special stylistic universality. Having earned the reputation of a “baroque orchestra” and the reviver of rare partitures, musicologists have termed the orchestra “an excellent base for all of Lithuania’s composers’ conceptions”. Today its repertoire boasts over thirty opuses by Lithuanian authors: from early music to works by students from the Lithuanian Academy of Music. The orchestra has performed almost all of the string pieces by F. Bajoras, B. Kutavičius and O. Balakauskas. It gives no less attention to the music of contemporary foreign composers, playing works by P. Vasks, E.-S. Tüür, J. McCabe, Shin, A. Ruoff, R. Sierra and other composers. The orchestra is open to all kinds of initiatives and unconventional projects, it also gladly performs rock, pop, jazz music.

From its very inception, the intensive work schedule of the St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra has led to its wide recognition as much in Lithuania as abroad. The collective has successfully represented Lithuania at international events, such as the festivals Strefa Ciszy, Ogrody Muzyczne, Probaltica and Wratislavia Cantans (Poland), Tubin (Finland), Pärnu (Estonia), Europäisches Musikfest Münsterland, Kaskados, Mystik und Maschine, Berlin Jazz, Hermann Hesse (Germany), Berlioz (France), Reykholt (Iceland), and elsewhere.

The orchestra regularly collaborates with well-known Lithuanian and foreign collectives and soloists. We can mention the singers Kerstin Avemo (soprano), Charles Castronovo (tenor), Violeta Urmana (soprano), Alfredo Nigro (tenor), Virgilijus Noreika (tenor), the violinists Maksim Vengerov, Alexander Rybak, Anton Barakhovsky, Jacques Israelievitch, Moti Shmidt, the pianists Maria João Pires, Leonid Chizhik, Konstantin Lifschitz, Tamami Honma, Petras Geniušas, Julian Joseph, the cellists David Geringas, Dominique de Williencourt, Marko Ylönen and Maria Kliegel, as well as Camilla Hoitenga (flute), Petras Vyšniauskas (saxophone), Linda Maxey (marimba), Martynas Levickis (accordion), Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla (conductor), indie rock band „Colors of Bubbles“, famous Australian beatboxer Tom Thum, plus many others.

While being Vilnius Municipality orchestra, the collective constantly takes part in charity events meant for the wellbeing of the city. Social risk groups are integrated by inviting people to the concerts for free, attention and appreciation is also shown to volunteers of such organizations as National Blood Centre, Lithuanian Riflemen‘s Union, Lithuanian National Defense Volunteer Forces. The orchestra together with such organizations as Lithuanian Caritas, M. Rostropovich Charity and Support Foundation, Children‘s Hospital, Lithuanian Jewish Community, public and concert institutions in Lithuania and abroad, embassies organize charitable events.

Mentioning the most recent project of the orchestra, March 8-16, 2018, with the help of the embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in Ukraine, Lithuanian Council for Culture, and Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania among other partners from Lithuania and Ukraine, the orchestra took a tour to Ukraine, specifically visiting the frontline zone of the East Ukraine. During the tour the orchestra not only gave free concerts and led educational events, but brought the support collected together with Lithuanian Caritas to the people of Ukraine.

Conductors

Modestas Barkauskas – new Art Director and Conductor of St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra (from 2018)

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Modestas Barkauskas

– artistic director and chief conductor of St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra.

In 1997-2001 he studied choral conducting at Šiauliai Music Conservatory. In 2001-2005 he successfully continued his BA studies at Lithuanian Academy of Music (with professor J. Aleksa and associate professor D. Puišys). In 2006-2007 he gained his MA degree at choral conducting. In 2006-2013 he studied orchestral conducting with professor Juozas Domarkas and gained his MA in orchestral conducting. In 2009 the conductor had his debut in Klaipėda State Musical Theater. He conducts there G.Verdi "Traviata", G. Rossini "The Barber of Seville", J.Strauss operetta "The Bat", ballet "Straussiana" and etc. In 2012, M. Barkauskas had his debut at the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre. He conducts such ballets as "Tristan and Iseult" (music by R. Wagner), S. Prokofiev "Romeo and Juliet", P. Tchaikovsky "The Nutcracker", G. Donizetti opera "The Elixir of Love". He is also the artistic director and conductor of new spectacles – ballets "Carmen" (to the music of G. Bizet) and "Bolero +".

As a conductor of symphony orchestra he has prepared concerts with Lithuanian National Symphony, Lithuanian Chamber, Kaunas City Symphony, Klaipėda Musical Theater, Klaipėda Chamber, Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater and other orchestras. In the upcoming season Modestas is invited to lead orchestras in Slovakia, Germany, France, Poland, Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

From 2008 M. Barkauskas is the artistic director and conductor of Vilnius B. Dvarionas 10 Year Music School Youth Symphony Orchestra. From 2013 he teaches at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater in Conducting, Singing and Choral Conducting Departments.

In 2016 Modestas Barkauskas was acknowledged as the best young artist and awarded with a Golden Stage Cross. In November of 2017 in Katowice (Poland) he won the 3rd Prize, bronze baton and the prize of 15 000 € in a prestigious the 10th Grzegorz Fitelberg International Competition for Conductors.

Professor Donatas Katkus – Honorary Art Director and Conductor of St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra

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Professor Donatas Katkus

– founder and conductor emeritus of St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra.

In 1960 he finished Kaunas Secondary Music School (now – J. Naujalis Music School), the viola specialty with E. Satkevičius. In 1960 he entered the Lithuanian Conservatoire, the class of professor J. Fledžinskas. In 1963 he founded the Section of Young Musicians at the Artists’ Palace, the Lithuanian Theatrical Society. In 1965 he launched a string quartet later named the Vilnius String Quartet. In 1968 he became a post-graduate student of philosophy at Vilnius University. In 1968 together with the Vilnius String Quartet he entered the post-graduate courses of Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatoire, the class of Prof. A. G. Grigoryan, where he studied with V. N. Gvozdecki.

As a member of the quartet he took part in a number of competitions and in 1972 the quartet was awarded the right to participate in the International Liege (Belgium) Quartet Competition where they earned the first prize. This was the beginning of very intense concert activities-as a member of the quartet he performed in the whole of Europe, prestigious international festivals in Asia, South America and Africa. The quartet has amassed a considerable repertoire, was constantly engaged in premiering works of Lithuanian composers as well as presenting foreign composers to the Lithuanian audience. Katkus has also launched festivals of chamber and quartet music in Vilnius and concert cycles in other Lithuanian towns.

For example, in a 17-concert cycle the quartet has played all quartets by Haydn (according to the opinion of that time, there were 83 compositions, not 76). Together with the Vilnius Quartet Katkus gave over 1500 concerts, made 20 discs as well as recordings in Moscow, Stockholm, Linz, Helsinki, Hilversum etc. radio studios.

In 1994 Katkus founded the St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra under the aegis of Vilnius Municipality. The orchestra is noted for its enormous stylistic universality; it has premiered over 100 Lithuanian and a great number of foreign compositions. The orchestra has won an impressive foreign acclaim, appeared in the best concert halls of the world. The CDs of the orchestra (over 45) are released by Naxos (US), Dutton (UK), BIS (Sweden), EA (France), Ambitus (Germany) etc.

Katkus embarked upon his pedagogical career when a student. In 1964 he was invited to join Vilnius Children Music School No. 1 (now B. Dvarionas 10 Year Music School) as head of the orchestra division, and in 1968 he offered chamber ensemble and quartet courses at the Lithuanian Conservatoire (now the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre). In 1983 he became an associate professor, and in 1996, professor. Katkus has given master classes in Finland, Spain, and Denmark. In 1994-99 he was professor at the Collegium Musicum Summer Academy in Pommersfelden, Germany. A number of outstanding musicians have studied with Katkus; his students play in all Lithuanian orchestras, as well as in the orchestras of Canada, USA, Israel, Germany, Sweden and etc.

Katkus has prepared and presented four theoretical courses: "Introduction to Musical Semiotics " (at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater), "The History of Music against the Background of Other Arts" (at the Faculty of History, Vilnius University), "The Theory of Interpretation of Music and the Comprehensive History of Performance" (at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater), and "Conscious Approach in the Self-preparation of a Musician" (at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater). Katkus has authored several books: "The Lithuanian Quartet", "The Performance of Music" (went into two editions), as well as a book of conversations "Lithuania has Gone out of Fashion". Katkus has written over 400 articles; the realm of his interests include the aesthetics of music, semiotics, the theory of interpretation and the history of Lithuanian music.

Donatas Katkus is the winner of the National Award of Culture and Arts in 1986, and of the Lithuanian National Award of Culture and Arts in 2001. In 2003 he was awarded the Officer‘s Cross of the Gediminas Order; in 2012, the Cross of the Commander of the Order "For Services Rendered to Lithuania"; the WIPO Creativity Award in 2003; in 2012, the honorary insignia of the Ministry of Culture "Carry your Light and Believe"; in 2012, the Čiurlionis Prize, the Lithuanian Composers Union; in 2013, the medal for the services rendered to the City of Vilnius, and in 2014, the Concord prize.

I violin:

  • Giedrė Žarėnaitė
  • Miglė Dikšaitienė
  • Jevgenija Budzila
  • Vilija Bogušaitė
  • Laura Staponkutė

II violin:

  • Aidas Jurgaitis
  • Jurgita Gaubytė
  • Ieva Daugirdaitė
  • Rusnė Kiškytė
  • Irena Milošaitė

Cello:

  • Domas Jakštas
  • Vaidas Tamošiūnas
  • Ignė Pikalavičiūtė

Viola:

  • Birutė Bagdonienė
  • Vytenis Lisauskas
  • Mintautas Kriščiūnas

Double-bass:

  • Rokas Stunžėnas
  • Oliveris Ramonas

Hando Nahkur

Estonian Pianist


Hando Nahkur is one of the leading pianists of his generation. He has won many top prizes in international piano competitions in Italy, Greece, Russia, USA and Canada. He has received numerous prestigious awards, including the Golden Medal of Merit for promoting Estonian cultural life and music (Canada), Harold von Mickwitz Prize (USA) and the Diplomat of the Nation Certificate of Merit by the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Estonia). He has performed in Italy, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Greece, Denmark, Finland, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, Costa Rica, Canada, Israel and Russia. In the United States he has performed in more than twenty states. His CDs have won awards globally: “DeusExClavier” was named “Record of the Year” in Germany. He has appeared with many orchestras in Canada, USA, Costa Rica and Europe. He holds five degrees from four American universities: Yale University, New England Conservatory, Texas Christian University and Southern Methodist University. He is a frequent guest at international music festivals.

More info: www.handonahkur.com

Photo by Kaupo Kikkas

North American Latvian Quartet


Ilona Kudiņa

Flute

Before moving to Boston, MA in 2001, Ilona Kudiņa was orchestra artist in the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra. Following her previous CDs On the Bridge (2006) and Amber Flute Quartet (2010), Ilona's third and latest CD Nothing but Illusion (2011) showcases her jazz flute style. Ilona's academic credentials include a Professional Diploma in Music Performance from Berklee College of Music and a Master of Arts in Music Performance from Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music. As a performer, composer, arranger, and professional musician, Ilona has taken part in hundreds of performances in all genres. She has been an advocate for music for flute by Baltic composers. In 2016, she received the American Latvian Association's Lifetime Achievement Award for success in the music field and for promoting Latvian music and culture in the USA.

More at: www.ilonakudina.com

Silvia Padegs Grendze

Violin

Silvia Padegs Grendze is a freelance violinist from the NY tri-state area. As a freelance violinist Silvia has played nationally and internationally in major music venues such as Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. She received her bachelor of music degree from Manhattan School of Music, studying with Erick Friedman and Burton Kaplan. Silvia Padegs Grendze plays an 1864 Samuel Nemessanyi violin.

Andra Voldins Dix

Viola

Violist Andra Voldins Dix is an active chamber and orchestral musician in the Boston area.  Equally passionate about teaching, Andra serves on the faculty at Phillips Academy in Andover and Noble and Greenough School.  She received a Bachelor of Arts in music from Harvard University and a Master of Music in viola performance from Boston University's School of Fine Arts.  She resides in Newton with her husband and three children.

George Juris Ķeniņš

Violoncello

Born in 1952 in Toronto, George Juris Kenins has been an active musician, teacher and lecturer among Canadians and North American Latvians. A graduate of the University of Toronto’s music and education faculties, he worked as a music teacher in Toronto schools for over 30 years, while maintaining a career as a cellist, conductor, composer and arranger, writer and lecturer, and music administrator. For the past three Latvian Song Festivals in Canada, he has been chair of the music committee, and currently is chair of the Latvian Song Festival Association in Canada. For the XV Latvian Festival of Song and Dance in Canada (Toronto, 2019) he is chair of the organizing committee. His choral and chamber music compositions have recently received premieres in Canada, the United States and Latvia. The Latvian State Choir recently premiered his song "Es gribētu!" (I wish) and commissioned a new sacred work for August 2017 “Missa brevis latviensis”. He is vicechair of the Latvian National Federation in Canada and chair of the World Federation of Free Latvians Cultural Foundation. Currently, he conducts the Toronto choir “Ziemelis”, is the cellist for Toronto’s „Empire Trio”, plays with the Canadian folk ensemble "Poor Tom", often performs as a duo with Toronto violist Artur Jansons.