Gediminas Gelgotas‘ music is captivating a new and younger audience of classical music. Critics point to a unique and highly attractive musical language based on modern, multi-stylistic influences that combine austere, melodic beauty with a stunning rhythmic drive. In his 2009 personal letter to Gelgotas, Terry Riley wrote: “ Gelgotas has a very unique and compelling compositional voice.”
Gelgotas’ symphonic music premieres take place at the leading European concert halls and music festivals. The latest premiere of his first Violin Concerto commissioned by the young Swiss violin virtuoso David Nebel was premiered at the Kissinger Sommer Festival on 7th of July 2018, played together with Kristjan Järvi and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic. The work received high interest prior an after the premiere, including broadcasts and interviews by BR Klassik, as well as publications including the Violin Channel and German press. German newspaper Main Post wrote: “The Lithuanian Gelgotas unfolds wide spaces in the large orchestra, densely woven from tight intervals. Staggered slight changes in the often blocky, fine-rhythmic, even static events achieve delicate, sometimes even dramatic reverb effects. <…> Striking colour and idyll <…> as if the composer had overheard nature <…>.”
Gelgotas’ works have been recently performed by conductors Kristjan Järvi and Martynas Stakionis, violinists Mari Samuelsen, Lidia Baich, Kristīne Balanas, David Nebel, cellist Vytautas Sondeckis, double-bassist Roman Patkoló, trumpeter Ole Edvard Antonsen, soprano Asmik Grigorian. His music has been presented by main broadcasters in the US, Europe and Asia, including Mezzo TV, Classic FM, BBC, Radio France, WQXR, BR Klassik and etc.
The latest symphonic premieres mark an ongoing history of the artistic tandem between Gelgotas and Järvi. Exclusively Järvi has conducted almost all large-scale symphonic premieres. Gelgotas’ previous work Mountains. Water. (Freedom) was commissioned by the Swiss Orpheus Foundation and presented at the prestigious Zurich Tonhalle concert hall by Kristjan Järvi conducting Baltic Sea Philharmonic. Järvi also premiered Gelgotas’ Never Ignore the Cosmic Ocean at the Berlin Konzerthaus in 2012, which was described as “sensation“ (Neue Musikzeitung). This particular opus soon started to migrate throughout European festivals and turned out to be a reference point for the international career of Gelgotas. On 1st September 2013, the work was broadcast widely on German radio stations, and since September 2015 it is aired regularly on Mezzo TV in Europe and Asia. Never Ignore the Cosmic Ocean is also released by independent French music label Naïve. From February 2017 Mezzo TV also regularly broadcasts a recording of Mountains. Waters. (Freedom).
The first symphony by G. Gelgotas titled Extracultural was premiered in January 2015 at the legendary Leipzig Gewandhaus concert hall by the New Ideas Chamber Orchestra NICO and the MDR Symphony Orchestra led by Maestro Järvi. It was a joint commission between the Mid-Germany Radio Symphony Orchestra and Vilnius Festival, later in the same year presented at the Lithuanian National Philharmonic in Vilnius and performed by NICO, Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, also conducted by Kristjan Järvi.
Recent collaborations with violinist Lidia Bach and double bassist Roman Patkoló have enlightened Gelgotas symphonic music to new worlds of chamber music to a wider audience. Sanctifaction is Gelgotas’s new arrangement of the fourth movement from his symphony Extracultural for the double bass. The work vividly explores both the aggressive and lyrical capabilities of double bass and piano. It was recorded at PowerPlay Studios near Zurich and premiered with high acclaim by the Gramophone Magazine online. Meanwhile, Austrian-Russian violinist Lidia Baich recorded a chamber version of one of Gelgotas‘ best recognised symphonic works Never Ignore the Cosmic Ocean in Vienna. Later in June 2018 Sanctifaction was presented live with Roman Patkoló on BR Klassik radio.
To date, Gelgotas‘ music has been presented at many prestigious classical music festivals and concerts halls across Europe including the Beethovenfest, Schleswig-Holstein, Young Euro Classics, Usedom, Merano, Kissinger Sommer festivals, as well as Théâtre des Champs-Élysées Paris, Berlin Konzerthaus, Zurich Tonhalle, Helsinki Music Centre, Mariinski Theatre in St. Petersurg and Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow amongst others. Gelgotas was the composer in residence at Verbier Festival in 2014 where he was presented with Neva Foundation Prize.
Gediminas Gelgotas’ musical language is based on a refined aesthetic that is flavoured with sometimes sharp, sometimes gentle hints of (post)minimalism involving the frequent appearance of broken melodic segments, short, angular sections, occasional rigid ‘roboticisms’ in rhythm, melody and musical temperament. Though aggressive, unconventional string techniques are often employed, a sensuous nucleus remains intact. Universally important ideas are expressed in the titles of his works (What’s Unrobotizable, Never Ignore the Cosmic Ocean, Extracultural).
To implement his unique creative vision, in 2006 Gediminas Gelgotas established his own ensemble – the New Ideas Chamber Orchestra NICO, a string ensemble that he continues to lead today. NICO has presented Gelgotas’ music at a wide range of European and American concert venues, including the prestigious St Martin-in-the-Fields and Roundhouse in London, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Classic FM and BBC World Service radio stations. The ensemble frequently performs in Europe, Asia and the United States.
During 2012-2017 Gediminas Gegotas was the artistic director of Kintai Music Festival. Throughout the time of his directorship KMF received EFFE (Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe) label recognising it’s exceptional artistic value and mission. G. Gelgotas was invited as the keynote speaker at the NordicBaltic Festival Platform in 2016 in Vilnius to talk on importance of creative programming and solutions. As an active cultural figure in the Baltics, Gelgotas was invited to hold composition masterclasses to young composers during Baltic Academies session in Estonia and Lithuania in February 2018.
Gediminas Gelgotas (b. 1986) studied piano, trumpet and composition from 1993 to 2005 at the National M. K. Čiurlionis School of Art (Vilnius, Lithuania). In 2011 he graduated from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, where he studied composition and orchestral conducting. He later continued his academic career at the Hochschule for Music and Theater Hamburg, where he studied composition with Peter Michael Hamel (2009–2010).
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