22 mixed ensembles (duos to septets) of children from children’s music schools across Lithuania gathered at the V. Jakubenas music school in Birzhai for an intensive chamber music workshop and festival September 6-8, 2012. The workshop/festival included teachers not only from important music schools in Lithuania, but also included representatives from Latvia and the United Kingdom. The project received support from the Lithuanian Musicians’ Union, which was represented by its dynamic and creative President, the composer Audronė ŽIGAITYTĖ-NEKROŠIENĖ. The Musicians’ Union presented gifts to participating ensembles and their teachers, and demonstrated the commitment of musicians to the development of a love of chamber music in young people. The significance of the event was also underlined by the presence of local and national television filming both recorded and live interviews and lessons during the weekend.
Student ensembles played both original classical works and arrangements, in every possible style, demonstrating the remarkable creativity and originality of their teachers, able to adapt almost any repertoire to suit the instrumentation and student levels available. While the masterclasses were organized in order to encourage the highest performance level possible, emphasis was clearly put on the joy of the processes of chamber music collaboration, and the overall spirit of the event was lively, supportive, and friendly.
The project also received recognition from the ECMTA, of which many of the participating Lithuanian schools are members thanks to the leadership of Professor Petras Kunca, member of the ECMTA board and artistic mentor of the festival.
The final concert in the lovely Birzhai Castle featured excellent performances of a broad range of repertoire, from Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet to an arrangement of Claude Bollings’ Jazz Sonata for Flute which included traditional Lithuanian instruments such as the birbynė and the kanklės. The final concert featured as well speeches from Petras Kunca, Gunta Melbarde, Audronė ŽIGAITYTĖ-NEKROŠIENĖ, and Evan Rothstein.
The weekend was also an occasion for warm collaboration between Lithuanian professors and their guests, between the masterclass teachers and those professors who accompanied their students to the workshop. There were many memorable shared meals during which new friendships were forged and highly engaging conversations lasted into the night. It was a testament to the importance of remaining open and curious about the musical life created by colleagues across all borders. Masterclass professors included Petras KUNCA, Gunta MELBARDE, Ramutė KALNĖNAITĖ, Dalia ŠEŠELGIENĖ, Remigijus VITKAUSKAS, Antanas LADYGA, and ECMTA Chairman Dr Evan ROTHSTEIN.
Every aspect of the event was perfectly coordinated; many sincere congratulations to organizers of the event, V. Jakubenas music school Director Rima ZUOZIENĖ and Deputy Director Ramutė PETRONYTĖ.
ECMTA Chairman Dr Evan Rothstein