The Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra (LNSO), one of the most refined and well-known Lithuanian orchestras, was established in 1940 by the composer, conductor and pianist Balys Dvarionas. From 1964 to 2015 it was led by Juozas Domarkas, and since the autumn of 2015, Modestas Pitrėnas has served as its artistic director and principal conductor. Robertas Šervenikas is the orchestra’s second conductor, while Juozas Domarkas is the honorary conductor.
The orchestra presents annually around 50 concerts in the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Hall and on other stages in Lithuania, extensively tours abroad. It has visited many European countries, Japan, South America and South Korea, and has given concerts in some of the most prominent concert venues of the world, such as Musikverein in Vienna, the philharmonic halls of Cologne and Berlin, the Barbican Centre in London, Alte Oper in Frankfurt, the Berwaldhallen and Town Hall in Stockholm, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Metropolitan and Suntory Hall in Tokyo, the Festival Hall in Osaka, the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Mumbai, the Cultural Centre of Thailand, and many others. The LNSO has also performed at prestigious festivals, such as the Schleswig-Holstein, Musica Romantica in Switzerland, the Moscow Stars, the Russian Winter, the Warsaw Autumn, the Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival in Warsaw, the Prague Spring, and festivals in Stresa, Merano, Rheingau, Ludwigsburg, Riga, Gstaad, and elsewhere.
The LNSO frequently goes on concert tours, among which the most noteworthy were the appearances in Thailand and India in 2017. In 2018, the orchestra embarked on its Tour of the Centenary, performing in the Great Guild Hall in Riga, concert halls in Poland, the Janáček
Festival in the Czech Republic, and the Baltic Sea Festival in Stockholm. In 2019, the LNSO gave concerts in Latvia, and in the beginning of 2020 – in Poland.
The orchestra has been conducted by important historical personalities and world-famous masters of the baton, such as B. Dvarionas, S. Sondeckis, J. Aleksa, V. Fedoseyev, M. Rostropovich, K. Penderecki, K. Masur, J. Frantz, Ch. Diederich, N. Järvi, Ch. Spering, R. Hickox, Ch. Eschenbach, O. Grangean and M. Gražinytė-Tyla among others. The LNSO has collaborated with many famous performers, instrumentalists and vocalists of different generations and nationalities, including the singers M. Caballé, J. Norman, S. Larin, V. Urmana and V. Noreika, the pianists E. Gilels, D. Bashkirov, D. Pollack, S. Tiempo, F. Kempf, M. Rubackytė and P. Geniušas, the violinists G. Kremer, L. Kogan, V. Spivakov, J. Rachlin, S. Krylov, Ph. Graffin, A. Steinbacher and V. Čepinskis, the cellists M. Maisky, I. Monighetti, D. Geringas, D. Ishizaka and M. Rostropovich, and the viola player Y. Bashmet.
The basis of the LNSO’s rich repertoire consists of oratorios and symphonies from various epochs, as well as modern contemporary music, with an emphasis on well-known works by Lithuanian composers, from the symphonic poems by M.K. Čiurlionis to works by B. Dvarionas, E. Balsys, J. Juzeliūnas, A. Rekašius, F. Bajoras, V. Barkauskas, O. Balakauskas, V. Bartulis, O. Narbutaitė, R. Šerkšnytė, A. Malcys, A. Šenderovas and V. Germanavičius, as well as first symphonies by many young composers. Since 1991, the LNSO has regularly participated in the Gaida contemporary music festival. The orchestra also presents music by Lithuanian composers on Euroradio broadcasts.
The LNSO’s recordings have been released in Lithuania and abroad (Melodiya, Marco Polo, Col legno, Ella Records, Naxos, Avie Records). The list of the latest audio recordings includes a CD of works by Ukrainian composer Valentyn Silvestrov, released by Naxos in August 2020 and featuring the LNSO, conductor Christopher Lyndon-Gee, singer Inna Galatenko and pianist Oleg Bezborodko. In the autumn of 2020, Arvo Pärt’s CD Lamentate with pianist Onutė Gražinytė, cellist Edward King, the LNSO and conductor M. Pitrėnas was recorded at the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Hall and Vilnius Record Studio and released by the German record label Accentus Music. Critics of the famous German music magazine Fono Forum gave this sound recording the highest 5-star rating. At the beginning of the 2021, the prestigious Finnish record company Ondine released Ž. Martinaitytė’s CD Saudade with the LNSO, the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra (LCO), conductor Giedrė Šlekytė and pianist Gabrielius Alekna.
Music of Lithuanian composer of young generation Gediminas Gelgotas is performed by Kristjan Järvi, David Geringas, Daniel Hope, Lidia Baich, Roman Patkoló, Sergey Nakariakov, amongst others in such concert halls, as Gewandhaus (Leipzig), Konzerthaus (Berlin), Tonhalle (Zurich), Mariinsky Theatre (St. Petersburg), Theatre de Champs Elysees (Paris), programmed in Schleswig-Holstein, Beethovenfest, Kissinger Sommer, Merano, Young Euro Classics, Odessa Classics and other famous festivals, broadcasted and covered by Mezzo TV, Arte TV, BR Klassik, Classic FM, covered by The Violin Channel, The Strad and The Gramophone. His original works and arrangements are released by Naïve Classique and Deutsche Gramophone labels, scores published by Peermusic - and all that is just a tip of the iceberg of the achievements that he, being only 34 years old, can list today.
When Gelgotas was nineteen he founded his own ensemble - the New Ideas Chamber Orchestra NICO - with which he performs his own music regularly in a prestigious festivals and concert halls all over the Europe, also in United States and Asia.
Today critics point to his “breadth of views, depth, freedom, courage and, most importantly, openess” (N. Rogozhina, russculture.ru) as well as his unique and highly attractive musical language which is based on modern, multi-stylistic influences that combine austere, melodic beauty with a stunning rhythmic drive. His music is also often regarded as captivating for a new and younger audiences of classical music.
Since 2020 G. Gelgotas is also an associate professor of composition at the Lithuanian Music and Theatre Academy (Vilnius).
It was back in 2006 when the 19-year-old Lithuanian composer Gediminas Gelgotas came up with an idea to found an ensemble that would perform his music and translate his artistic visions into reality. Now, around 15 years later, this embodiment of 'one-artist-vision', called the New Ideas Chamber Orchestra NICO, constantly brings composer's music to the leading classical and contemporary music venues and reaches new and young audiences of classical music with their highly attractive, captivating, and original music performances.
The uniqueness of NICO concept is highly determined by Gelgotas' musical language itself, in which the classical music idiom is mixed with light hints and influences of popular music. Composer's vision of integrating minimalistic choreographic details into performances while the musicians play music by heart, using non-traditional string instrument techniques and voice, all of it combined is what creates the exciting concert experiences, that are reinventing the borders between experimental, minimal, contemporary art and more popular, mainstream music forms. Their shows also often incorporate stunning transcriptions of most beloved classical works by Bach, Vivaldi and Mozart, as well as new music of other minimalists such as Riley, Glass, Tavener, Pärt and others. When listening to NICO, you may want to turn inward and meditate, or just get up and dance - the effect is mesmerizing, and the result is inspiring to all ages.
NICO is making their appearances at the prestigious concert venues and festivals, including Leipzig Gewandhaus, St Martin-in-the-Fields and Roundhouse in London, Odessa and St Petersburg Philharmonic Halls, Usedomer (Germany), Toulon (France), Odessa Classics (Ukraine), Ventura (USA) music festivals. NICO is also capturing attention of international press – Classic FM radio station with 5.5 million listeners have presented NICO live from their studios, whilst BBC World Service named NICO "truly worth attention" during a 10-minute special on Gelgotas and his ensemble. Besides their appearances across Europe, Asia and the United States NICO have performed for His Holiness Dalai Lama and Pope Francis. Their latest recording session took place at the prestigious Real World Studios in United Kingdom, with previous albums recorded at Paramount (Los Angeles), Metropolis (London), Peermusic Classical (Hamburg) studios and released by Peermusic Classical. NICO collaborates with such performers as Kristjan Järvi, David Geringas, Roman Patkoló, Mari Samuelsen, Avi Avital, Ksenija Sidorova, Kiril Troussov, Ole Edvard Antonsen among others.
AUGUSTA JUSIONYTĖ (violin, concertmaster)
DALIA SIMAŠKAITĖ (violin)
JULIJA IVANOVAITĖ (violin, viola)
LIUDVIKAS SILICKAS (cello)
AUGUSTINAS SOKALSKI (cello)
VINCAS BAČIUS (double bass)
GEDIMINAS GELGOTAS (founder | artistic director | composer)
Alexey Botvinov is an exceptional pianist in our time. The most famous Ukrainian pianist, Botvinov is one of the best specialists in Rachmaninoff music worldwide. But his deeply expressed, suggestive artistic interpretations of all major piano styles make him extraordinary performer whatever he plays. He is the only current pianist who performed Bach masterpiece “Goldberg Variations” more than 300 times live on stage.
Alexey Botvinov performed in over 40 countries. People's Artist of Ukraine, in his country’s press he enjoys such words like “symbol of high spirit” or “true mark for authentic sense of music”. His concert in Kiev Philharmony Hall was acclaimed in 2006 by Ukrainian press like the best music event of the year.
Alexey Botvinov was born in all-musicians family in Odessa, where he studied with Prof. Mogilewskaja and later at the Conservatory of Odessa with Prof. Kardaschew. 1987-89 he was a student at the Moscow Conservatory with famous Prof. Gornostayeva. He is a prize-winner of such important piano competitions as the 1st Rachmaninoff-Competition in Moscow, the 8th International Bach-Competition in Leipzig and the 1st Clara-Schumann-Competition in Düsseldorf. In 1993 he played Tchaikovsky's First piano concerto for the opening of the concert season at the Tonhalle Zürich with the Radio Symphony Orchestra Moscow under the baton of Vladimir Fedoseyev, which was highly acclaimed by the press and by the audience.
During the years 1994-96 Alexey Botvinov lived in Düsseldorf (Germany), where he was asked to perform Bach's "Goldberg-Variations" and Schumann's "Kinderszenen" with the ballet productions by the famous choreographer Heinz Spoerli. Meanwhile artistic cooperation with Heinz Spoerli continued in Zurich from 1996 to 2012 with over 20 different ballet productions at music by Bach, Mozart, Schumann, Brahms, Chopin, Schnittke, Stravinsky etc. with great acclaim. Pianist was on many tours with the Zurich Balett in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain, Great Britain, Russia, Japan, Canada, South Africa, China etc. with huge success.
For his breathtaking performance of "Goldberg-Variations" ballet in June 2001 at the Deutsche Oper Berlin the press wrote: “a real firework at the piano” (“Berliner Kurier”). “Le Figaro” wrote about pianist’s CD of “Goldberg-Variations” - “Superbe!” . This recording landed on 2nd place in Swiss music-charts. Next recording- “Botvinov plays Rachmaninoff” (2002 ) was acclaimed as “ the best classical recording of the month” in Switzerland.
The recitals he played in such festivals as Chopin Festival in Poland or Züricher Festspiele were given standing ovations and enthusiastic acclaims by the press. In summer 2003 Alexey Botvinov was nominated Artist in Residence at the Murten Classics Festival (Switzerland) with 8 different concerts. In 2005 he played his debut recital at the Wigmore Hall London and in 2006 – at the Berlin Philharmony.
During 2006 he was on long tours in China with Zurich Chamber Orchestra and with Koenigliche Philharmonie Flandern in Belgium and Germany. Every concert of Asian tour in October 2007 (Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Taiwan) was finishing with standing ovation.
2009-2010 Botvinov was Artistic Director of Odessa National Opera Theater. During that time he initiated two very successful new productions – opera “Turandot” - director C.Von Goetz (Germany); and ballett “Nureyev forever” with solo piano by A.Botvinov. They were very first modern-concept productions for Opera Theaters in Ukraine at all.
In 2011 Patriarch of All Ukraine Vladimir presented to Alexey Botvinov The Orden of Saint Dimitry for “his great achievements for Culture in Ukraine”.
Recently Botvinov explores new ways of presenting classical music. Among his new innovative projects “Visual Reality of Music”, where music and visual effects have converted a traditional concert into an amazing multimedia mystery.
Project was presented 2009 in Moscow, Kiev ,Odessa and other cities with over 10.000 spectators . All the major outlets were raving about magnificence of “Visual Reality of Music”.
2010 Botvinov started unique “Goldberg Reloaded” –project, where Bach masterpiece combines with oriental rhythms by world star-percussionist Burhan Ocal. Concerts in Moscow, Paris, Istanbul and at Montreux Jazz-Festival became sensational success by audience and specialists.
2011 Botvinov created another highly innovative project – synthesis of Drama Theater and classical concert. Basing on new novel of a leading modern Russian writer M.Shishkin “The Light and the Dark”, Botvinov made his debut as a theater director in art-project, where his solo performance harmonizes on stage with two drama actors. Highly successful in Russia and Ukraine project coming soon at Europe stages. Premiere of German-speaking version went with great success in Zurich, December 2012.
AUGUSTA JUSIONYTĖ is a violinist and a founding member of the Lithuanian based string ensemble NICO (the New Ideas Chamber Orchestra). Swedish magazine ‘’Blekinge läns Tidning’’ described her solo performance as “a very impressive and world-class’’ (E. Norden, 2016). Augusta was studying with professor Boris Kuschnir at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz (Austria) and with prof. Helmut Zehetmair Mozarteum - University of Salzburg (Austria). In 2012 Augusta Jusionytė debuted at Graz Philharmonic, where she was introduced by Austrian violinist Lidia Baich. In 2013, at 20th International Johannes Brahms Chamber Music Competition she received a Special Jury Prize for the outstanding performance of contemporary composition (G. Gelgotas “Never Ignore the Cosmic Ocean”). In 2020 she performed Gediminas Gelgotas Violin Concerto No. 1 with Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra and the performance was recorded and produced by Grammy nominee “Baltic Mobile Recordings”, aired by Lithuanian National TV and radio, broadcasted at LRT and Lithuanian “National Philharmonic TV”. “This sincerity and strength, both physical and emotional, that she’s blessed with serves Augusta so beautifully in her music performance. It allows her to immerse strongly into the musical material, it seems as if she gradually distances herself from all the physical reality when playing, she almost disappears. It’s such a compelling experience to witness and it is exactly how she’s able to provoke that intense alertness of the listener and bring with herself every member of the audience to that precious musical world” - composer Gediminas Gelgotas after A. Jusionyte's performance of his Violin Concerto. Augusta Jusionyte has collaborated with acclaimed musicians: violinists Kristine Balanas, Mari Samuelsen, Mikhail Simonyan, Vilhelmas Čepinskis, trumpeter Ole Edward Antonsen, cellist Vytautas Sondeckis, pianist Per Lundberg. Since 2001 A. Jusionytė has received numerous awards in several international competitions.
Vytautas Sondeckis was born in 1972 in Vilnius, Lithuania, into a musical family (his father Saulius Sondeckis is a renowned conductor and former pupil of Mstislav Rostropovich). At the age of five he began studies on the piano and received his first cello lessons at the age of six. At the age of sixteen he was accepted into the Special Music School of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, where he studied with Anatoli Nikitin.
In 1993, Sondeckis won first prize in the International Cello Competition in Murcia, Spain, and received an Honorary Special Prize at the Virtuoso 2000 festival in St. Petersburg, Russia. Subsequently he was invited by various prestigious orchestras including the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra and the Symphony Orchestra of St. Petersburg. Concert tours have taken Sondeckis to countries throughout Kurope to critical acclaim. Since the autumn of 1996, Vytautas Sondeckis has been a student of David Geringas at the Musikhochschule Lubeck. In the same year he was appointed Assistant Principal Cello of the NDR Symphony Orchestra, of which Christoph Eschenbach is music director.