THE VOICE OF INTERNATIONAL LITHUANIA
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Text: Indrė Lauciutė
“I see the entire world as a symphony, people – as music…and the most beautiful melodies are the distant Druskininkai…The steps insensibly turn to the street with plenty of aged trees and old houses. I feel like stopping at one house and pondering, leaning against the gates…” (M.K.Čiurlionis)
Few people in the world know of our Lithuanian national painter and composer, Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis. Even today 100 years after his death. Was he less good than other painters or composers of that time? Probably not. He was, most likely, better than most of them. But he was not the son of a rich country or community. No one was there to help, support and promote him when he needed them most. No one, but he didn’t care. The only task he took care of was creating. I start to believe that the main reason that makes the world to turn is the reason of the people who just follow their heart. Really!
M.K.Čiurlionis is one of them, one of the artists I found for myself and who makes me inspired. I used to think that M.K.Čiurlionis is just one of these “must know” personalities. And, in fact, everyone knows the name of M.K. Čiurlionis in Lithuania. His painting and musical prodigy is a national pride, but there’s a difference in knowing and understanding. I’ll explain. Knowing that Čiurlionis is credited to be the most famous Lithuanian artist that ever walked the earth is different than understanding why he’s credited to be like this.
Čiurlionis “Creation of the World” cycle 5
Čiurlionis “Creation of the World” cycle 10
You don’t need to read about Čiurlionis to know him. It’s just better to look at his paintings or listen to his music. When I see Čiurlionis’ art, I feel like I'm in one of those surrealistic fantasy dreams I occasionally have. I could stare for hours at these paintings, especially at the one from the serious “Creation of the world”. This small world from the forest painted in velvet blue and bright cream white colours makes my mind to change. I see a symbol of faith, hope and sacrifice in it which sometimes is the last thing left to us. Čiurlionis is known for symbolism. All of his paintings take you to the fantastic land, cosmic journey, to the fairytale. It does not matter if it is the "The Zodiac" or "Sonata of the Summer", everything is out of this world that helps you to warm up inside.
Čiurlionis “Sonata of the Summer” – Finale
Čiurlionis “The Zodiac” – Sagittarius
To me, art is one of the ways to understand life. What comes out of M.K.Čiurlionis’ works is pure experience pasted together on canvas; a glimpse of what one sees and feels, a rumble of something behind and beyond the image. His mind is his instrument as much as his brush. It seams that he’s playing with vision, intuition, motion, stillness. He can see the canvas as a window through which he can play with reality. That’s extraordinary.
M.K.Čiurlionis is also praised for the ability to depict music in his paintings by giving musical elements a visual form and imitating the rhythm and other components of the music. His music is catchy. The early preludes of Čiurlionis are attractive because of sincereness, the pure melody, temperance, complete form. You can feel that the music is full of harmony, constructive logic goes along with the graceful imagination, improvisation. His music is not for every day. At least this is what I feel listening to his music. It’s special. Čiurlionis painted the series of paintings, some of them to express the cycle or triptych, prelude and fugue or sonatas, divided into allegros, andantes, scherzos and finales. There’s always difficulty to find words for describing the music but it’s for such evenings when you’re longing for something and don’t know for what.
He composed over 250 pieces of music and created some 300 paintings. Most of his works are now housed in M.K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art in Kaunas, but there are some that you can enjoy watching in a small museum in Druskininkai where the artist used to live. You can feel the authentic environment the artist was surrounded by at the end of the 19th Century. I’d like to go there.
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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