Performers: Vytautas Kiminius (birbynė) & Čiurlionis Quartet (Lithuania)
Programme: Bach, Marcello, Crusell, Sibelius, Čiurlionis, Mikalauskas
Vytautas Kiminius is one of the most prominent birbynė player in Lithuania, graduated as an oboist from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. Currently Vytautas is an intern in Conservatiorio di Verona Evaristo Felice Dall’abaco, in Italy. Vytautas is the first and only Lithuanian birbynėprofessional, who is studying birbynė performance art outside Lithuania and is representing the instrument’s capabilities by performing classical worldwide know pieces. During his study years, Vitautas won Grand Prix in the international performers’ contest Renaissance in Armenia; is a three-time laureate of Jonas Švedas performers’ contest and has won the 1st prize in the contest of the international association Menas ir švietimas XXI amžiuje. In 2016, Vytautas graduated also as Master of symphony orchestra conducting in the class of Prof. Juozas Domarkas.
In 2015, Vytautas introduced birbyne to the whole world: he played during live broadcast of the project The Sound of Europe on Deutsche Welle.
Vytautas Kiminius is actively engaged in musical activity, constantly searches for further birbyne − the national instrument of Lithuania − capabilities, and, by using intricate and complex techniques, promotes innovative performance of professional music with birbynė.
Birbynė is a Lithuanian national wind istrument that can be either single or double-reeded. Birbynėcan be made of a variety of materials: wood, bark, horn, straw, goose feather, etc. The earliest and simplest examples were used by shepherds as a tool to control the herd. In the 19th century, influenced by classical instruments and especially the clarinet, the birbynė evolved into a serious musical instrument used in ensembles. Modern birbynės are made of wood with bells of horn and usually have ten holes.
Founded in 1968, the “historical” Čiurlionis Quartet has a reputation of an inventive and technically advanced collective. In 2004, the Quartet captured 2nd prize at the International Chamber Music Competition in Schweinfurt, Germany; the Lithuanian Musicians’ Union awarded it with the Gold Disc. In 2005, the Čiurlionis Quartet attracted much attention of the international audiences and media by giving concerts in the EXPO 2005 in Aichi, Japan, and the presentation of its VCD at the world’s music fair MIDEM 2005 in Cannes, France. The Quartet has performed nearly all across Europe: from Iceland to Russia and from Norway to Italy; it has also toured Canada, UAE, the USA, Mexico, Japan, China… The Quartet has appeared in such venues as Leipzig Gewandhaus, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Beethovenhaus Bonn, Schauspielhaus Berlin, Musée d’Orsay Paris, etc; also has been invited to perform at numerous prestigious festivals, including the Pražské Jaro, Berliner Festwochen, Festival van Vlaanderen, Schleswig-Holstein, Europamusikale… Following its debut at the Royal Festival Hall in London, the reviewer of Musical Opinion, the Britain’s oldest classical music magazine, wrote about the Quartet’s exquisite interpretation “proving to be a timely reminder to chamber music lovers in London of what genuine quartet playing should be.”