Lithuania Meets Ukraine

June 9, Sunday

Lithuanian National Philharmonic Concert Hall, 19:00




BORIS LYATOSHINSKY – String quartet No. 2, Op. 4, in A major
OSVALDAS BALAKAUSKAS – String quartet No. 3
FELIX MENDELSSOHN – String octet, Op. 20, in E flat major

This concert reflects the sincere ties and creative relationship between Lithuanian and Ukrainian musicians. One of the most striking examples of this is the famous composer Osvaldas Balakauskas. “He came to Vilnius after graduating not from the Moscow or Leningrad Conservatoire, but from the Kiev Conservatoire, where he studied under Prof. Lyatoshinsky. He did not return to his homeland immediately, but lived in Kiev for a while, because from the very first year of his studies he developed a kinship with the Ukrainian modernist underground, i.e. the informal, dissident composers. This was not only a group of great talents, but also a kind of aesthetic community that categorically broke all ties with Soviet aesthetics and turned for inspiration to Western modern music”, Donatas Katkus has written. Balakauskas mentions his esteemed professor Lyatoshinsky in an interview as one of the most tolerant of all composition teachers of the time.

The concert therefore features works by both Lyatoshinsky, considered the father of modern Ukrainian music, and Balakauskas. The two opuses are separated by more than 70 years: Lyatoshinsky’s classical, melodic, dramatic Second String Quartet, decorated with oriental motifs and impressionistic colours, and Balakauskas’ Third String Quartet, the constructive logic of which is elegantly overshadowed by the rhythms, harmony and improvisation element characteristic of jazz.

The final highlight of the evening, the String Octet of the romantic composer Felix Mendelssohn, symbolises the communion between the musicians of two nations. It will feature the Vilnius String Quartet, winner of the Lithuanian National Prize and the Baltic Assembly Prize, and guests from Ukraine. They are laureates of prestigious competitions, talented performers who perform as soloists all over the world: Dmytro Udovychenko, whose numerous achievements include the title of the laureate of the 5th Yascha Heifetz Competition in Lithuania (2017), concerts with the Ukrainian orchestras, as well as with the Brandenburger Symphoniker, the Slovak Sinfonietta, the Sønderiyllands Symphoniker, the Radiophilarmonie of the NDR, etc.; Valeriy Sokolov, a prize winner of George Enescu Competition in Bucharest, has collaborated with such symphony orchestras as Berlin’s Konzerthausorchester, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Cleveland, BBC, City of Birmingham, Tokyo, Seoul, Monte Carlo, Istanbul, etc., formerly an Artist-in-Residence with the Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini; Nataliia Kuleba, a winner of the 21st Century Art Competition and J. Stankovich Competition among others, principal viola of the National Academic Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, now residing in Vienna (Austria) and being a guest member of the Vienna Radio (RSO), Tonkünstler and Vienna State Opera orchestras; cellist Oleksiy Shadrin, who has already played chamber music in Vilnius, is a winner of the 4th Prize at the prestigious Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, as well as a finalist and prize-winner of the competitions in Kiev, Prague and Budapest, has performed with various orchestras of Ukraine, the Montpellier National Opera, the Südwestdeutsche Philharmonie in Constance, the Berliner Philharmoniker, the NDR Radiophilharmonie and others.