In March 2021, the Lithuanian cultural season will start in Munich and then travel to Augsburg, Blaibach, Ingolstadt, Nuremberg and Würzburg. Depending on the current possibility, as a live stream or hybrid, events of various genres are planned: Concerts of classical and experimental music, jazz and pop, literary evenings and poetry readings, visual art installations, performances and theatre shows as well as artist-in-residence programmes.
In times of distance and isolation, the Lithuanian Culture Institute and numerous Lithuanian artists want to offer a “cultural inoculation against distance” by bringing a kaleidoscope of their country’s vibrant cultural scene to Germany and sparking creative dialogues between Balts and Bavarians: “The experiences of the global pandemic have made us aware of the special role of culture as a constantly renewing inoculation against distance and alienation,” says Aušrinė Žilinskienė, director of the Lithuanian Culture Institute. “Where isolation is required, there culture creates an enriching shared experience, and the forced pause we are all subjected to fills with new forms of artistic creation.” Impressive examples of this are promised by: the internationally acclaimed conductor and music director of the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, the ensemble for contemporary experimental music and winner of the 2020/21 sponsorship award of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation Synaesthesis, the performance artist Lina Lapelytė, who won the Golden Lion at the 58th Venice Biennale in 2019 with her team. The world-renowned poet and civil rights activist Tomas Venclova and the best-selling Lithuanian author Rimantas Kmita, who wrote about youth in Lithuania like no other, are expected to attend. The “world champion of the accordion” Martynas Levickis will come, as will the experimental sound artist Arturas Bumšteinas, who designed an “organ safari” for the Lithuanian guest country appearance at the Leipzig Book Fair 2017.
Lithuanian Year of Culture in Bavaria 2021 – the programme
The Lithuanian Year of Culture in Bavaria kicks off on 26 March with a concert by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Lithuanian conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla. Works by Mieczysław Weinberg, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven will be performed. At 8.30 pm the concert will be broadcast live as a video stream (please click here) and also on the radio on BR-Klassik (please click here).
A second musical highlight can be experienced on 16 and 17 June: The Munich Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Clemens Schuldt, will premiere an orchestral work by one of the most amazing Lithuanian composers – Justė Janulytė – commissioned by mucica femina münchen. Performances are planned on 16 June as part of the 100th Mozart Festival in Würzburg and on 17 June at the Prinzregententheater in Munich.
A special honour for contemporary Lithuanian music is the award of the Ensemble Promotion Prize 2020/21 of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation to Synaesthesis, scheduled for 15 June. The young ambitious ensemble, which has already conquered many international stages, is considered a pioneer of new musical forms and combines traditional segments with modern electronic acoustics. The ensemble will perform live at the Lithuanian Weekend, 19 to 21 November, at the Blaibach Concert Hall.
July also rings in musically with the themed concert “New Music from the Baltic States” by the Munich-based ensemble for contemporary music der/gelbe/klang. The concert is scheduled to mark the anniversary of “30 years of Lithuania’s recognition of its independence from the Soviet Union” on 4 July at the venue schwere-reiter. Under the direction of Armando Merino, a commissioned work by the multi-award-winning composer Vykintas Baltakas, who sees himself as a “musical Scheherazade”, will be performed.
After the summer holidays, the autumn of the Lithuanian Year of Culture opens at the Haus der Kunst and in the framework of Various Others with experimental Lithuanian sound art: on show from 8 to 12 September are the installations “Bad Weather” by composer and sound artist Arturas Bumšteinas and “Eye Gymnastics” by the artist duo Viktorija Damerell and Gailė Griciūtė. In addition, the Golden Lion award-winning composer and performance artist Lina Lapelytė will present herself.
The Literaturhaus München invites you to the “Night of Lithuanian Literature” on 23 September. The bestselling author Rimantas Kmita and the multi-award-winning fiction writer Rasa Aškinytė will be among the guests, accompanied by Lithuanian jazz. The Poetry Cabinet on 7 October is dedicated to Lithuanian poetry: with the grand seigneur of Lithuanian poetry and Petrarca Prize winner Tomas Venclova as well as poets of the younger generation.
Musically, the Lithuanian Autumn in Bavaria offers jazz, pop and experimental music: The world-famous Lithuanian jazz will be celebrated by the traditional Jazzclub Unterfahrt over an entire weekend, from 24 to 26 September. Lithuanian pop music will be performed at the Nuremberg Pop Festival on 8 and 9 October. And at the 20th Augsburg Media Art Festival LAB30 (28-31 October), Arturas Bumšteinas will present a piece for organ, flute and electronics composed especially for the occasion.
Lithuanian culture is also a guest in the theatre: the Residenztheater invites a Lithuanian playwright to Munich for three months to work on a play as part of the international playwright support programme “Welt/Bühne, Plattform für internationale zeitgenössische Dramatik”. The play will be presented to the audience in a staged reading at the end of the season and, if necessary, performed in a production one season later.
The Konzerthaus Blaibach celebrates the end of the Lithuanian Year of Culture in Bavaria with musical fireworks: the world-famous chamber choir Aidija, the accordion virtuoso Martynas Levickis and the award-winning ensemble Synaesthesis will perform at the Lithuanian Culture Weekend, 19-21 November. Residencies of two artists from the fields of composition and visual arts are also planned.
The project “Without Distance: Lithuanian Culture in Bavaria 2021” is organised by the Lithuanian Culture Institute (LCI) and the Cultural Attachée of the Republic of Lithuania in Germany, in cooperation with the Lithuanian Embassy and numerous cooperation partners in Bavaria and Lithuania, with the kind support of the Ministry of Culture Lithuania.
The cooperation partners in Bavaria are: Augsburg Art Lab LAB30, der/gelbe/klang. ensemble für aktuelle musik, Haus der Kunst, Jazzclub Unterfahrt, Konzerthaus Blaibach, 100th Mozart Festival Würzburg, Munich Chamber Orchestra, musica femina münchen, Nuremberg Pop Festival, Residenztheater, Stiftung Literaturhaus München, Stiftung Lyrik Kabinett, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Various Others and many more.
The planning of the Lithuanian Year of Culture took place under the condition of the Corona pandemic, which will also determine the implementation in 2021. It is therefore based on the hygiene regulations currently in force. If travel regulations permit, the Lithuanian artists will all come to Bavaria and perform there, depending on the possibility, as part of a live stream, a hybrid and/or pure presence event.