Lithuanian Culture Season in Bavaria Without Distance continues with the music programme: on 4 July, the contemporary music ensemble der / gelbe / klang (in German: yellow sound) held a special concert New Music from the Baltic States in the Munich performing arts space Schwere Reiter Musik. The ensemble, led by contemporary music conductor Armandas Merinas, performed works by composers representing different generations from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, conveying the uniqueness, vitality and diversity of each country’s music scene.
The pieces by composers Vykintas Baltakas and Justina Repečkaitė, performed in the programme, closer acquainted Bavarian music lovers with Lithuanian musical culture. This acquaintance began in March this year with the concert by conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tylos and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, which attracted great interest, and was continued by the successful collaboration between the composer Justė Janulytė and the Munich Chamber Orchestra, presenting Janulytė’s latest work Apnea in Würzburg and Munich.
Vykintas Baltakas, who presented the world premiere of his latest work, Cladi II, in Munich, is one of the first music composers from the Baltic States to have continued his studies in Germany after 1990. Having left for Karlsruhe in 1993, he trained under the German composer Wolfgang Rihm and conductor Andreas Weiss and later stayed in Germany to continue his career as a composer and conductor. According to Baltakas, although his musical compositions are often labelled as the new Baltic music, he feels more like someone between two worlds: “In the West, I am seen as a Lithuanian composer, and in Lithuania, they say that I write German music. I think that both opinions are off the mark. I also feel that the issue of the nationality of music is fundamentally wrong. Much more important is whether your work is authentic, coming from within.”
The composer believes that when presenting Lithuanian culture in Bavaria, the most important thing is to get to know each other and destroy the clichés about music from our countries: “I often come across the view that all contemporary Baltic music sounds like the work of Arvo Pärt but this is definitely not true! The Lithuanian cultural season in Bavaria is a great opportunity to present the diversity of Baltic music,” says Baltakas.
The prolific composer Justina Repečkaitė studied composition at the Paris Conservatory and IRCAM Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music (after completing his studies in Germany, Baltakas also perfected his skills at IRCAM). Like her colleague, Repečkaitė often raises the question of identity: “Roots are very important to me. Although I live in Paris, I believe I will never stop saying that I am a Lithuanian composer. I have a connection with the heritage of Lithuanian culture and music – the school of folklore and composition. French listeners find my music “very Lithuanian” or “Baltic-sounding” because it is slow, systematic and creates a certain atmosphere, while Lithuanians consider my work to be distinctly influenced by French culture,” says Repečkaitė.
The ensemble der / gelbe / klang performed Repečkaitė’s piece Pulsus Flatus Vox in Munich which the composer wrote in 2014 for the famous Ensemble Intercorporaine.
The concert was preceded by a discussion moderated by Sylvia Schreiber, the music editor of the BR-KLASSIK radio station, with the participation of Vykintas Baltakas, the Latvian composer Santa Bušs and the Estonian composer Erkki-Sven Tüür.
The project Without Distance: Lithuanian Culture in Bavaria 2021 (in German: Ohne Distanz: Litauische Kultur in Bayern 2021) continues in the summer and autumn with live, online and hybrid events. Its programme seeks to present music, literature, visual arts and performances by the most prominent Lithuanian artists and performers covering a wide range of genres, and hold artists’ residencies. The full programme of events is available at www.litaueninbayern.lt
The project is organised by the Lithuanian Culture Institute and the Lithuanian Cultural Attaché in Germany in cooperation with the Lithuanian Embassy in Germany and partners in Lithuania and Bavaria. The project is funded by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania.