BIRŠTONAS SUMMER ARTS ACADEMY 2019
The 7th Birštonas Summer Academy
July 27 – August 5, 2019
Singers, Pianists, Harpists and Chamber Ensembles masterclass
Birštonas is one of the oldest balneology resorts in Lithuania – it has been recorded from the Middle Ages. The combination of being in the exceptional inspiring environment of nature and sharing professional musical ideas brings wonderful results for the young musicians.
The 7th Summer Academy in Birštonas is a ten days international academy of music, accepting highly-gifted, young singers, pianists, harpists and chamber ensembles who aim to make music their profession. It is a place where the individual student comes first and is inspired and cared for both musically and personally in a friendly atmosphere of intense work and wholesome, beautiful surroundings. Everyday concerts are performed exclusively by the students and teachers.
The 2019 summer Birštonas Summer Art Academy has an innovation – a master class course for chamber ensembles.
Traditionally, singers and pianists have improved their skills since 2013 at the Academy.
In 2014we experimented: the focus was on art synthesis and the importance of the concept of concert programs. Besides singers and pianists, six chamber music ensembles of various instrumentalists that have won at the competition of the programme concept created independent stage productions. Thirty-six programmes took part in the competition.
Therefore, six new productions were created in 2014:
1. The performance "Vampire Women in… Opera?" presents women of a different character and temperament who are united by the feeling of love: gentle, loving with unrequited love Mikael, determined and strong Dalila, full of hope and faith in love, waiting for a response from the loved one Margarita I, joyful, loving and beloved Margarita II, seducer Carmen, and Toska devoted to love and art. The performance coquets with the mysterious essence of the opera genre: after all, the most beautiful opera arias are sung by women who are killing, dying, and sometimes even dying of love.
2. The scenario of the musical performance "Madrigal to Donelaitis" is a synthesis of music and literature. "The Seasons" ("Metai") of Kristijonas Donelaitis, who is one of the most original writers of the Lithuanian Enlightenment, is connected with Bach's works from the series "Art of Fugue". This attractive form reveals philosophy that is hidden in the depths of literature and classical music.
3. The musical program of the performance "War and Music" consists of illustrative and effective string quartets of Bela Bartok and Dmitry Shostakovich. This program aims to contemplate the music created during the war years and reveals the prevailing sentiment at the time. The performance invites you to look back and reflect on the absurdity of war and its consequences.
4. The musical performance "Passione Amorosa" ("Passions of Love") reveals diverse approaches to love and passion of composers from five countries (Turkey, USA, Italy, Russia and Lithuania). Passions and temptations of King Solomon and the young shepherd, keeper of the vineyards, immerses into the whirl of love (A. Shenderov’s "Songs of Sulamita"), the sad story of Romeo and Juliet is reminded by excerpts from Prokofiev's ballet "Romeo and Juliet", and intriguing melodies of G. Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess" appears; while G. Bottesini's "Passions of Love" allows to celebrate the virtuosity of a rarely heard double-bass.
5. The musical performance “Affetti Musicali” colourfully reveals Italian musical affections (affetti musicali) of the early to the late Baroque in the works of F. Caccini, B. Strozzi, D. Castello, G. F. Händel, A. Vivaldi and other composers. Plato and other philosophers argued that music is nothing other than the word followed by the rhythm, and finally, the sound. Only such a sequence is able to touch another person's soul and cause a remarkable effect. The program with playful and contrasting means of expression is performed playing historical Baroque instruments: nostalgic flute, sparkling and colourful Baroque vocals, and harpsichord, revealing various dynamics and delicate touch
6. The performance "Glissando of Harp" reveals the form of cold ice and crystal. Here colourful technical capabilities of a modern harp are demonstrated. Two hundred years old motifs of French harpists and composers are conveyed in a subtle and modern way. The music of French composers is extremely colourful, picturesque, and with a distinctive signature style. It is reflected by a majestic and royal harp, together with volatile and fragile flute, with a help of modern ballet, video art, and unexpected decisions of the director.
In 2015 we continued the experiment creating a new genre – media opera, which is a synthesis of art of image installation, theatre and animation. The media opera “Traviata” after Verdi is a unique anthology of interpretation that employs the best recordings of Lithuanian performers from 1931 to 2003.
Our experiments are particularly important for continuous education. They are productions for both children and adults. We are concerned with not only understanding information, but also with associative thinking, creativity and fantasy.
In the 2019 Birštonas Summer Art Academy we intend to link several trends of activities.
As we have been a member of ECMTA (European Chamber Music Teachers´Association) since 2012 we believe that time has come to include a course of chamber ensemble master classes on Birštonas Academy program. We came up with this idea following the 2018 Birštonas Academy where pianists, singers, harp players and cellists took part. Our young performers were so creative that spontaneously ensembles of various instrumentalists were formed enriching in this way concert programs. Traditionally, eighteen various concerts are held over ten days in Birštonas.
In 2019 we expect that string, wind and mixed ensembles with a piano will participate.
The greatest innovation we will try to implement in 2019 will be a joint orchestra of the Birštonas Summer Art Academy.
It has been shown in practice more than once that joint orchestra rehearsals are fruitful at ensemble camps, particularly so when they pursue an exciting goal.
Our latest plan is the media opera “Faust” by Radvila and Goethe. In Birštonas, we could implement the first stage – record the music for the opera.
The opera by Radvila and Goethe composed in 1835 is not widely known and seldom performed. Its greatest value is the fact that “Faust” is the only opera whose libretto was written by Goethe, who admired Duke Radvila’s opera sketches.
Antanas Henrikas Radvila (Pol. Antoni Henryk Radziwiłł, born in Vilnius on 13 June 1775, died on 7 April 1833 in Berlin) was a nobleman, composer, cellist, a statesman and military figure of the Poznan Grand Duchy. The duke was a descendant of the Radvila family of the Olyka - Nesvyžius line, Šidlava branch.
In 1808, Radvila read the newly published “Faust” by Goethe, admired its plot and began to write an opera based on it. Goethe, who was a great admirer of Mozart’s operas and had a dream that his “Faust” may sometime become an opera, was interested in the news. In 1814, Duke Radvila visited Weimar and played his music for the great poet. In his letter to Karl Ludwig von Knebel Goethe expressed his admiration writing that he, Radvila, was the first real troubadour he had ever met, talented, full of power and enthusiasm.
The opera was first staged at the Radvila house in Berlin in 1816: almost all first act of “Faust” and a small part of the second were performed.
August Goethe, the son of the drama author, Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm II, and the philosopher Hegel attended the performance.
The year 1835 saw the premiere of the opera “Faust” by Radvila and Goethe. Unfortunately both authors had passed away.
We believe that it is our duty to introduce the public to the values of the past and revive this unique opera. It would be still more significant to do this with young performers form various countries and to release a two-part CD.
The activities planned for the 2019 Birštonas Summer Art Academy will be various, exciting and intense.
Young creative people are invited to spend summer holidays in this wonderful Lithuanian spa..
Registration deadline: 1 March, 2019
Courses Price: 200 Eur
Accomodation Price: 120 - 200 Eur
Meal Price: 150 Eur
Address: Lithuanian Musicians’ Union
Gedimino pr. 32–2, LT-01104 Vilnius
Tel. +370 614 34 094
+ 370 686 14 066