Thomas Mann Festival concerts: summer’s return and experiments

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2019-07-03

 

The 23rd Thomas Mann Festival to be held from 13 to 20 in Nida will traditionally delight music lovers with an exciting musical journey that will last eight evenings. It will be centered around the theme “Europe of Homelands”. During the events held at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Nida, visitors will be able to meet well-known Lithuanian musicians working abroad, enjoy several début performances by Lithuanian composers, discover the treasure trove of European classical music, and hear experiments specially developed for and inspired by this festival.

According to Dr. Vytautė Markeliūnienė, curator of the festival music programme, for artists, homeland does not always necessarily mean a specific country: sometimes it can simply be their art or a specific style of creating it. This idea is behind a series of concerts in this year’s festival which will be launched by an opening concert to be held on 13 July. During a recital, Austrian baritone Wolfgang Holzmair and Nida-born pianist Gaiva Bandzinaitė currently based in Austria will perform the works of Franz Schubert, pioneer of musical Romanticism, and Ernst Křenek, a 20th century composer of Czech origin and contemporary of Thomas Mann.

One more recital will be held on 14 July by tenor Edgaras Montvidas who is celebrating the 20th year anniversary of his creative career this year. One of the most famous Lithuanian operatic singers who is most often seen on foreign stages, Montvidas, will be joined by British pianist Simon Lepper. The programme will include the pieces of classical music of the 19th–20th centuries including those by Richard Strauss, Claude Debussy, Giacomo Puccini, Kazimieras Viktoras Banaitis and others.

Half-way into the festival, on 16 July, visitors will be able to enjoy an evening performance of the grand piano trio and quartet of Thomas Mann’s contemporaries, Bohuslav Martinů and Gabriel Fauré, played by FortVio, one of the most famous Lithuanian chamber music ensembles which has a wide repertoire and has earned numerous awards over its long history.

The second half of the series of concerts will showcase a number débuts and new collaborations. The festival’s début concert which will take place on 17 July will feature the first performance by St. Christopher Wind Quartet, and will include a wide-ranging programme of new pieces or those that have never been previously played at the festival including the compositions of Luciano Berio and Lithuanian composers Onutė Narbutaitė and Teisutis Makačinas who created a piece specifically for the festival.

On 19 July, visitors will be offered an evening performance of the small orchestra created specifically for the event and consisting of the members of St. Christopher Wind Quintet, Kaunas String Quartet and the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra who will perform Franz Schubert’s Octet F-dur, D. 803 which is comparable to a symphony and is rarely played in Lithuania.

On 20 July, the festival will culminate with a closing concert, this time resembling a small song festival. It will be led by young Lithuanian conductors who will participate in the festival’s creative workshops, among them Izabelė Jankauskaitė, Jurgita Česonytė and Martynas Stakionis who are studying in Austria, Switzerland and Germany. The festival will end with the pieces by Swiss, Austrian and German composers.

The programme spanning eight evenings will offer a traditional hour of Lithuanian music dedicated to the works of composer Eduardas Balsys whose 100th year birth anniversary is celebrated this year, and composer Vytautas Barkauskas. It will be performed by Kaunas Quartet, solo singers and the chamber choir Aidija. Violinist Ingrida Armonaitė who will be among the performers at this concert, will also be performing one more programme: a concert of the pieces by composers Nicolay Medtner and Ferenc Liszt together with another long-time festival friend, pianist Daumantas Kirilauskas.

All concerts of the Thomas Mann Festival will take place in Evangelical Lutheran Church of Nida. Full festival programme and tickets are available at www.mann.lt.