Monday, July 28, 2008

Capital of Culture

2008-09 promises to be an eventful time in Vilnius. Along with Linz, Austria, the city has been designated the 2009 European Capital of Culture, a title which has been passed among EU cities every year since 1985. This title will enable Vilnius to host an extraordinary number of events, including concerts, festivals, exhibits, etc. Here is the link to the main music events, which include the Vilnius Opera Festival as well as festivals dedicated to electronic music, jazz, and chamber music (in addition to all the regular concert seasons in Vilnius).

And from October 24 to November 8, Vilnius will host the 2008 ISCM World Music Days, which will feature dozens of concerts, discussions, and other events, including several premieres by important composers and performers. The full program is available at the above link.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

An Inaugural Post

There.... the ribbon has been cut. I'll go ahead and fill everyone in with a little more details. I am an American composer of contemporary classical music and for the next year, I will be living in Vilnius, Lithuania, where I've been awarded a 2008-09 U.S. Fulbright grant to compose an opera. The story will be based on my family's experience in Lithuanian Displaced Persons Camps during and after World War II and the music based on the Lithuanian songs of my late grandfather. The title of this blog, meaning "I sing a song," is taken from the first line of one of these songs.

I'll be arriving in Vilnius on August 30 and should be there through the end of May, 2009. I'll be working primarily with Lithuanian composer Osvaldas Balakauskas, but will also be receiving help from composers Feliksas Bajoras, Rytis Mažulis, and possibly others. You can check out their works and bios on the major Lithuanian music promotion site, Music Export Lithuania, which has information on artists from all genres of Lithuanian music.

Before my departure to Vilnius, I'll be doing research related to my family's time in Lithuanian DP camps from 1941-51. This research includes reading literature and articles on the subject, but also (and more importantly) interviews with family members. My plan is to arrive in Vilnius with a fairly well-developed story to present to a Lithuanian librettist (TBA) interested in working with me.

I probably won't post again until the day of my departure draws closer, but feel free to send me your comments or stop by to hear some of my music. I'm looking forward to sharing my experiences with all of you.