Have you always dreamt of attending a carillon concert? That’s what Kaunas is all about on Sundays during the warm season! If you’re not exactly sure what we are talking about, here’s some background information.
Carillon is one of the most sophisticated musical instruments in the world. The history of the instrument, which consists of a set of chromatically coordinated bells, dates back 500 years. The quality of musical compositions played by carillon depend on the experience, professionalism and physical fitness of the carillonist.
The Kaunas carillon, one of three in Lithuania (the others are in Vilnius and Klaipėda) belongs to Vytautas the Great War Museum. The tower for it was built in 1937. Regular concerts for Kaunas carillon have been going on for over 60 years, with Viktoras Kuprevičius and his son Giedrius Kuprevičius being the first carillonists in Kaunas. The history of performing in Kaunas has been quite colourful. Here's what happened in 2001, for example.
Today Kaunas carillon has 49 bells and an updated keyboard, and its largest bell “Kaunas” is a gift from the Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus and his wife Alma Adamkienė (the Valdas Adamkus Presidential Library, one of the very few in Europe, is just a stone’s throw away from the Vytautas the Great War Museum – read more about it here and plan a visit).
During the warm season, on Sundays and public holidays, the concerts for Kaunas carillon are coordinated by Kaunas Artists’ House located a couple of hundred meters away on V. Putvinskio st. 56. In 2018, the concerts will be performed by local carillon virtuosos Austėja Staniunaitytė and Julius Vilnonis.
This year’s carillon program has been prepared after the completion of competition for selection of carillonists and their proposals. The aim of the program is to continue the tradition of carillon concerts in the city of Kaunas, to introduce its fans not only to the classical compositions of carillon music, but also to contemporary carillon-based pieces, to present carillon music to the younger generation of residents in Kaunas and the city's guests, as well as to foster the uniqueness of this instrument.
The first concert of the year took place on Jauary 12th and was dedicated to the Defenders of Freedom who died on January 13th, 1991 (more on January Events here). The upcoming concerts of the program are as following:
February 16th. Concert by Austėja Staniunaitytė on the 100th anniversary of the Restoration of Lithuanian Statehood in Vilnius.
March 11th. Concert by Julius Vilnonis on the occasion of the Day of Restoration of Independence of Lithuania.
April 15th. Concert by Austėja Staniunaitytė. The concert will be dedicated to the International day of Culture.