THE VOICE OF INTERNATIONAL LITHUANIA
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Text: Algis Ratnikas
Martynas Levickis (20), Lithuanian born classical accordionist, arrived in the US in the summer of 2010 to compete at the International Accordion competition, July 21-25 in Santa Clara, Ca., an event sponsored by the Accordionists and Teachers Guild (ATG). This was the focus of his US tour that included performances in St. Louis, Chicago, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Santa Clara. There was already quite of a bit of a buzz regarding his talent and videos of his recent performances were already available on the Internet. A number of people later commented on the Santa Clara competition saying they were at wits end to figure out how the judges would be able to choose a winner from the extraordinary talent that was present. The local Bay Area Lithuanian community with the assistance of Esti Fernandez, ML’s US-based assistant for his 2010 tour, organized a local concert. It was held one day after Martynas won 2nd place and $3000 in the 3rd edition of the Anthony Galla-Rini International Competition for Classical Accordion. First prize and $5000 went to Gao Yi Cheng, a performer from China.
The Bay Area Sunday concert was held just hours before ML was scheduled to leave the area. Martynas displayed a level of talent and virtuosity on the accordion well beyond what anybody in the audience had ever witnessed. He presented the Partita from "Also sprach Zarathustra" by Sergei Berinski; Prelude and Fugue in G sharp minor by J.S. Bach; “Fantasy’84” by Jurgen Ganzer; Sonata in D major by D.Scarlatti; “Flashing” by Arne Nordheim, a cadenza from the concerto for accordion ‘Spur’ and “Soliloque from Concert Suite” by Franck Angelis. Our local audience was enthralled. We had never seen or heard classical music played on the accordion with such brilliance and verve. One and all jumped to their feet in ovation. To top off the afternoon Martynas added three Lithuanian folk songs and his voice, which again brought the audience to its feet.
Martynas Levickis has been playing accordion since the age of 3 and started serious study at the age of 8. He studied at the Saulius Sondeckis Conservatoire in Siauliai (Lithuania), under the direction of Mrs. Maryte Markeviciene. At the age of 12, Martynas began participating in national and international accordion festivals and competitions. He has entered accordion festivals in Lithuania, Italy, France, Netherlands, the USA, Poland, Estonia and Belarus, winning awards in all of the competitions. In 2004, he was the first accordionist to be awarded Lithuanian Queen Morta prize. He was given an honorable mention and prizes by Lithuanian President and the head of Parliament. In 2005, he won the young artist scholarship presented by Siauliai city municipality. In 2006, the Siauliai authorities awarded him a new accordion for his achievements.
In 2008 Martynas entered the Royal Academy of Music. He has since performed in master classes with prof. Friedrich Lips, Prof. Matti Rantanen, Claudio Jacomucci, Nikolaj Sevriukov, Dr. Raimondas Sviackevičius and others. Martynas is currently studying his third year at the Royal Academy of Music in London under the direction of Prof. Owen Murray. In the summer 2009 he toured Chicago, St. Louis and Memphis where he won multiple first prizes at the 71st Annual American Accordionist Association festival. His composition “The Quiver” won 1st prize and established him as a composer. In June 2010, at the Kings Place in London he presented a piece “Double” (by composer E.Medeksaite) for accordion and electronics. Most recently, Martynas won the first prize in the well regarded world accordion competition “Coupe Mondiale 2010”, Piano-Accordion category in Croatia.
While in London Martynas continues to teach on Saturdays at a Music Academy for young pupils and to actively perform for the Lithuanian Community in London and for Music Halls, such us the Queen Elizabeth Music Hall.
On Jan 16, 2011, Martynas appeared on TV in the Lithuanian "Lietuvos Talentas" TV show (TV3) and won the grand finals with a cash prize of 10K Euros.
Martynas is an active member of the Lithuanian Accordionists’ Association by establishing new ideas and creating better opportunities for young accordionists in the country.
The following links provide access to some videos of Martynas in performance:
For more information and to download Martynas on iTunes, please visit www.levickis.com
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