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CELEBRATED CONCERT PIANIST GABRIELIUS ALEKNA PERFORMS WORKS BY LITHUANIA’S MOST-IMPORTANT COMPOSER IN TEN-CITY COMMEMORATIVE RECITAL TOUR WITH LECTURES BY NOTED CRITIC STASYS GOŠTAUTAS
In celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the art and life of Lithuania’s world-renown composer Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis (1875-1911), a concert tour of 10 U.S. and Canadian cities will bring his unique late-Romantic compositions to life in world-class piano performances by Gabrielius Alekna. Audiences in Washington D.C. (9/24), Philadelphia (9/25), Atlanta (10/1), Orlando (10/2), St Petersburg, (10/09), Toronto (10/15), Detroit (10/16), Cleveland (10/22), New Haven (10/29), and Boston (10/30) will have the opportunity to not only hear these important compositions performed by one of the world’s most accomplished interpreters of this composer, but also listen to a lecture in English and Lithuanian on the life, art, and music of Čiurlionis by noted critic and Wellesley College professor Stasys Gostautas. This fall concert tour is made possible through the support of the Lithuanian-American Community, a nonprofit organization providing educational, cultural, and social services to over 1 million Americans of Lithuanian heritage, and the Lithuanian Foundation, Inc., an independent, Illinois-based, not-for-profit corporation with a mission to foster, preserve and celebrate the Lithuanian language, culture, and traditions in the U.S. and abroad.
GABRIELIUS ALEKNA took second place at the 2005 International Beethoven Piano Competition in Vienna, Austria. He has appeared as a soloist in Vienna’s Musikverein with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra (RSO Wien) under the baton of Bertrand de Billy; been featured as a soloist with the Juilliard Orchestra and New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra in New York, and with the Belarus State Symphony Orchestra in Minsk. In his native country of Lithuania, Mr. Alekna appears regularly with the National Symphony, the State Symphony, the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, and the Christopher Chamber Orchestra. Daniel Barenboim called him “a highly gifted pianist and musician.” Mr. Alekna has garnered more than a dozen top prizes in competitions on both sides of the Atlantic, such as Hilton Head (United States), Maria Canals (Spain), and Čiurlionis (Lithuania) International Piano Competitions. His forthcoming recording of complete Mots (Toccata Classics) by the Lithuanian composer Vytautas Bacevičius, was done in collaboration with the two-time Grammy-winning producer Judith Sherman and the three-time Grammy-nominated pianist Ursula Oppens. Born in Vilnius, Lithuania, Alekna began his music studies at the age of five. After graduation from the M. K. Čiurlionis Arts Gymnasium in Vilnius, he continued his studies at the Lithuanian Music Academy. In 1996, he was invited to attend the Juilliard School, where he studied with Jerome Lowenthal, receiving Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees in music.
STASYS GOŠTAUTAS, a critic and university professor, was born in Kaunas, Lithuania in 1939. He left Lithuania at the age of five, lived in Germany and Colombia, South America, before emigrating to the United States in 1962 and studied at Fordham University (BA, 1966) and New York University (M.A. 1967), where he acquired his Ph.D.in 1971. He was also a post-graduate fellow at Harvard University He was professor of Latin American Literature at Wellesley College, Boston University, and University of Texas (Dallas). He is the author of numerous books on art and culture including Čiurlionis: Painter and Composer: Collected Essays and Notes. He is a prolific essayist on art, literature, and culture in Lithuanian, English and Spanish.
MIKALOJUS KONSTANTINAS ČIURLIONIS (1875-1911) composed nearly 400 musical compositions, including two large- scale symphonic poems, an overture, numerous preludes and other pieces for piano, a string quartet, and a cantata for chorus and orchestra, all within his short, 10-year career. Influenced in his early compositions by romanticism and nationalism, Čiurlionis developed a thoroughly modern, expressionist, and symbolist musical language in his mature compositions. Čiurlionis also created over 200 paintings and 700 etchings, etchings on glass, and monotypes, as well as several literary works and poems. He was the first Lithuanian composer to take an interest in Lithuanian folk songs, which he collected and published. There was a close relationship between his art and music. Influenced by the European symbolist movement, Čiurlionis explored musical form in his two-dimensional artworks using shadings of light and color that reflected the major and minor keys in his musical compositions. In fact, many of his works reference musical compositions in their titles.
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