The cellist Mindaugas Bačkus (born 1973) is a superb soloist, organiser and repertoire visionary. As a talented graduate of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, and a laureate of several international competitions, he was invited to be the leader of the cellists with the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra in 1998. However, he soon left the orchestra in order to develop ambitious creative projects. He later enrolled at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, organised a number of solo recitals in Scotland and England, and played concerts with Kremerata Baltica and Chordos. In 2009, this passionate and experienced cellist accepted an offer to become head of the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra. He sees working with an orchestra as a ‘lifestyle, a philosophy of relating to music, and a creative kindredship’. Over the last few years, his visionary ideas have inspired the collective to make noticeable changes. The Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra have been studying the interpretation of Baroque music more consistently, participating in master-class seminars with specialists in ancient music, and using historical instruments in their concerts. Alongside this, the orchestra further their in-depth interest in performing contemporary music, and are particularly interested in works by Lithuanian composers. As their repertoire expands, so does the range of their concerts: they have played in Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia, Italy and Switzerland, and in other countries. In May 2017, Bačkus initiated an international cello festival, which was well received. Klaipėda saw over 300 practitioners of dance, theatre, film and fine art from 21 countries come together; and 22 concert halls hosted more than 50 events to celebrate the cello.