The competition is organised in commemoration of one of the most prominent 20th century composers of Lithuania, Professor Eduardas Balsys (1919-1984). The 1st Competition was held to commemorate the centenary of Eduardas Balsys’ birth and has become a tradition.
Eduardas Balsys is a highly significant figure in the history of Lithuanian professional music; a composer, whose artistic value earned him the title of the 20th century classic. The musician made his debut during the most dramatic time for the state, i.e. after the II World War. His talent and diligence contributed immensely to the healing of the wounds caused by the war and Stalinism within the community of musicians. Having acquired substantial education in the conservatories of Lithuania and Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), Balsys soon became an authoritative professor of composition and one of the most productive composers of Lithuania, whose monumental stage and concert works have already been promoted by several generations of performers. It would be impossible to overestimate his merits as a pedagogue as he educated several generations of composers and musicologists.
Strong dramatism, emotionality as well as the synthesis of neoclassical, modern and avant-garde tools of music are typical of the works by Balsys. His symphonic compositions stand out for their expressive, rich and effective orchestration. Balsys was the first to start using the rhythms of the popular music in his concert music and he also paid great attention to the composition of stage songs and film music; he encouraged other composers – especially his students – to contribute professionally to the development of the culture of popular music.