From November 10th to 19th, Kaunas will be once again full of contemporary academic music. The cult classics of Lithuanian (foreign, too!) contemporary music together with premieres of pieces written for the event make up one of the most awaited festivals of the year - “Iš arti” (Literally "From up close”).
As it’s stated on the festival’s website, the event was born in 1997 out of the desire to promote the work of Kaunas-based composers and encourage relationships between Lithuanian musicians from different regions. Gradually, the modest event grew into a solid annual showcase of modern music, featuring more or less new symphonies, dances, psalms, concertos, rhapsodies, suites, conversations and lectures.
The main venue of the festival is the Kaunas State Philharmonic. This is where the opening concert called “Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra From Up Close" will be held this year - on November 10th, the orchestra and soloists will perform key pieces in the history of Lithuanian contemporary music, including works by Bronius Kutavičius and Osvaldas Balakauskas, as well as a premiere by Zita Bružaitė.
On November 11th, one of the most dedicated and focused composers and audio artists of current times, Arturas Bumšteinas, will perform his sound installation “Clay throats” at the Kaunas picture gallery where it’s currently exhibited. We strongly suggest you visit the exhibitions of Kaunas biennial while at the gallery!
An intense showcase of Lithuanian music gems spanning the last 100+ years will be performed on November 12th. “Window To Lithuania” has travelled the world a few years ago when Lithuania was celebrating the 25 years of restored independency and features music by Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis, Stasys Vainiūnas, Vidmantas Bartulis, Anatolijus Šenderovas and Loreta Narvilaitė.
A great chance to search for similarities and differences in Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian contemporary music will be the concert of November 14th. In the Small Hall of Kaunas State Philharmonic, music from all of the Baltic countries will be performed.
One of the most unexpected performances of the festival this year is scheduled for November 16th in Žalgirio arena. Yurgaki Sextet (its members come from Colombia, Venezuela, Cuba and Ecuador) will present a show of original Latin music that takes breath in rhythms as salsa, afrocolombian music and contemporary urban improvisation with a multicultural point of view from Barcelona.
In the past, the festival has hosted such performers as the Tallinn String Quartet (Estonia), Antyphodes (Switzerland), the Stockholm Saxophone Quartet (Sweden), the Penderecki String Quartet and the Ergo Ensemble (Canada), Harmonies of the World (Ukraine), the Ebony Quartet (Belgium), the Amstel Quartet (Holland), and the Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble (Russia). The festival has featured many foreign composers, including Peter Vasks (Latvia), the multi-instrumentalist Klaus Burger (Germany), the composer of electronic music Alvi Curran (USA), Bernd Franke (Germany), Oleg Paiberdin (Russia), Paul Dirmeikis (France), the creator of sound sculptures Hans van Koolwijk (Holland), the Slovenski tolkani project (Slovenia), and the KamerYouth Choir (Latvia).
The festival is organized by “Iš arti” public institution founded in 2009 on the initiative of Zita Bružaitė, the head of the Kaunas Branch of the Lithuanian Composers Union, and a dedicated group of Kaunas-based composers and musicologists.
For more information, tickets and detailed programme of this year’s “Iš arti", head to the website of the festival. Have a great one!