In its strive to foster creative efforts of the country’s composers, establish and develop international cooperation and promote modern art, the Lithuanian Composers’ Union organises and co-manages several festivals dedicated to new music.
Gaida is the largest festival of modern music in Lithuania. It was launched by the Lithuanian Composers’ Union in 1991 as an annual forum and was handed over to Vilniaus Festivaliai, a non-profit organisation in charge of some of the country’s top cultural events, in 2010. The LCU has remained a co-manager of the Gaida Festival which advocates openness to all new music, regardless of cultural tradition and geography. On the other hand, the festival offers stage to local composers by presenting their works and encouraging the birth of new pieces and projects, often together with world-class performers. The festival covers a vast palette of music, including symphonic, chamber, alternative, electronic, club dance, experimental, musical theatre, multimedia etc. The new initiatives suggested by the Gaida Festival often lead to considerable shifts in tradition – in Lithuania and beyond – as far as performance of new music is concerned.
The annual Gaida Festival is held at the end of October and in the first days of November in Vilnius. Please check online: www.vilniusfestivals.lt/LT/gaida/
The Iš Arti Festival, the name of which may be translated as a close-up, made its debut in 1997 in Kaunas as an attempt to inspire composers from the country’s second-largest city and bring closer musicians working in different regions of Lithuania. Since then, the festival has grown into an important event showcasing contemporary music. Today it focuses on the idea of a close-up look at new music from Lithuania and the world by analysing and comparing musical processes, trends and inspirations. The festival brings together a huge variety of local and foreign composers and performers representing several generations.
The festival has been carefully trying to avoid becoming an event of elite music aimed at a handful of specialists. Quite the contrary, it strives for an intimate interaction with its audiences, composers and performers. The festival works toward establishing new ties with listeners of different ages and social backgrounds and adds to forming and expanding the tastes of people interested in modern music. The festival is run by the Kaunas branch of the Lithuanian Composers’ Union and Iš Arti, a non-profit organisation.
The annual Iš Arti Festival is held at the beginning of November in Kaunas. Please check online: www.isarti.lt
The Jauna Muzika Festival, launched in 1992 by the Lithuanian Composers’ Union as a forum for the most innovative musical and interdisciplinary projects, has become a hospitable stage for electronic and electroacoustic music since 2002. The festival has welcomed composers and performers of electronic music from Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Ukraine, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, the United States, Japan and elsewhere. Among the festival’s prominent guests were Phill Niblock, Pita, Pure, Farmers Manual, Luc Houtcamp, Edwin van der Heide, Åke Parmerud, Petri Kuljuntausta, The Vegetable Orchestra, Alva Noto, Ryoji Ikeda, and Merzbow. The festival’s programme was expanded in 2016 by adding club dance music and education.
The annual Jauna Muzika Festival is held at the end of April in Vilnius. Please check online: www.jauna.org
Inaugurated as the Chamber Music Days for Youth in the southwestern resort town of Druskininkai in 1985, the festival was renamed Druskomanija in 2000 and is today one of the nation’s oldest festivals dedicated to modern music with a particular emphasis on young musicians. The festival has already seen the first steps of several generations of Lithuanian composers, musicologists and performers. Apart from offering a debut stage, the festival is an abundant source of creative impulses for young musicians, through discussions with their peers and learning from older generations. Every year the festival attracts scores of top-level Lithuanian performers, the factor particularly appreciated by young composers who expect their musical instructions to be followed with utmost precision. As Druskomanija is becoming an increasingly attractive forum for young musicians from far and wide, it opens up new channels for cultural exchange and international creative cooperation.
Every edition of the festival adds up something new to its programme. Today, Druskomanija accepts a wide variety of musical styles, from academic to electronic, experimental and pop. In addition to music, the festival hosts theatre and dance shows, poetry readings, interdisciplinary projects and even sports.
The annual festival is held at the end of May in Druskininkai, Liškiava and Vilnius. Please check online: http://druskomanija.lt
Muzikos Ruduo is a unique travelling festival dedicated to Lithuanian music. In line with the initial idea, it brings together the most recent works by Lithuanian composers and music representing other epochs and nations. Concerts are held throughout the country as the dissemination of diverse music has been considered one of the key objectives of the festival since its first edition back in 1972. After a decade-long pause in the late 20th century, the festival was revived in 2002 and has since been expanding in both musical and geographical terms. The festival is managed by Muzikos Ruduo, a non-profit organisation.
The Muzikos Ruduo Festival is held late in the autumn in different towns and cities across Lithuania. Please check online: http://muzikosruduo.lt