Inundated with music
Lithuanian musicians are known all over the world and it is clear why - music flows through our veins. It spills forth in forms that remain just as varied nowadays as they were in times of old, when Lithuanians would harmonise their voices and sing a cappella to make the days pass more easily. In ancient times, we had our war songs and our mourning songs for funerals: one type of song was heard in the fall and another during long winter evenings, while still another would float through the fields in the summer. Today, Lithuanian a cappella songs (known as “sutartinė”) are studied in different universities throughout the world and UNESCO has declared our song festivals to be masterpieces of humanity’s verbal and non-material cultural heritage. Our jazz musicians are welcome in the world’s most famous concert halls, as are our classical musicians in the most renowned orchestras or our opera singers on the most prestigious stages. If you listen carefully, you can even make out a melody in our spoken language.
A master of emotion; a Lithuanian who has scaled the heights in her career; head of the Birmingham City Symphony Orchestra in the UK; and the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Music award at the University of Birmingham. In 2019, the biggest classical music radio station in the world "Classic FM" announced Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla as the greatest female orchestral leader in the world.
In 2017, US organisation "Politico" named Mirga Grazinytė-Tyla as the most influential foreign talent in the area of symphony orchestras, as someone whose personality had shaken Europe. A documentary has been created about the conductor, who was born and grew up in Lithuania, titled “Going for the Impossible – The Conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla”.
A talent who has graced the most prominent operas worldwide, such as La Scala, Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan; a woman who has heard “bravo” at operas in Vienna, Paris, Barcelona and London; and a winner of the Lithuanian National Prize for Culture and Arts who never forgets Marijampolė, the small city where she spent her childhood. Violeta Urmana talks a lot about the responsibilities of a creative artist; in 2016, the opera soloist was named a UNESCO Artist for Peace.
“Violeta’s voice is among those of the most beautiful mezzo-sopranos in the world, with an extraordinary glamour and possibilities, and she has an extraordinary talent for singing.” Conductor Riccardo Muti
A musician who spreads the message of the Baltic identity to the world. His improvisations combine past traditions with avant-garde jazz. He was the first National Prize for Culture and Arts winner for jazz. This musician has participated in prestigious jazz festivals in New York, Detroit, Berlin, Zurich, Geneva and other cities of the world. The saxophone of Petras Vyšniauskas can be heard on the jazz, folk and classical music scenes. A professor at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, he has unleashed a great number of students on the jazz world, some of whose names are no less famous today than that of their teacher.
“Petras’s imagination is akin to a fountainhead that never runs out. I never cease to be amazed at his ability to dive in and out of a variety of styles and to remain interesting and creative, to feel comfortable anywhere.”
Musician and conductor Donatas Katkus
You could go deaf from the storms of applause that she evokes. Stunning. Charming. And conquering the world with her voice. Lithuania’s leading soprano, Asmik Grigorian performs at the world’s top opera houses, from Milan’s Teatro alla Scala to New York’s Lincoln Center, home of the Metropolitan Opera. The opera singer, who was recognised as the best young female soloist in the world, overcame a long and difficult road to the big stage. The daughter of two famous opera singers –Gegham Grigoryan and Irena Milkevičiūtė – she always knew how much work and effort you need to achieve glory. Today, Asmik’s voice in the world speaks about Lithuania and its culture.
“Asmik Grigorian’s voice is by nature quite harsh, but it emits such a force that the listener is left blown away.” Der Tagesspiegel
A maestro who receives standing ovations, the charming motions of this conductor’s wand enchant and entice the audience. A winner of the National Prize for Culture and Arts, he is one of the most celebrated conductors in the Lithuania of today. Gintaras Rinkevičius has been invited to lead some of the most renowned European orchestras and has held several performances in prestigious concert halls along with world-class musicians. The maestro’s greatest merit for Lithuania was the founding of the State Symphony Orchestra, which not only grew along with the independent country, but also introduced a Lithuanian audience to compositions they had never heard before. The orchestra is based in the Vilnius Congress Hall, one of Lithuania’s largest centres for classical and popular music.
“I adore maestro Gintaras Rinkevičius. Over the course of my career I have played with a great number of conductors and orchestras, but I have to admit that nothing was remotely as good as playing while led by a maestro.” Pianist Alexander Paley