Press release and interview with jury members:

The 2nd international Eduardas Balsys competition  of young composers will take place this autumn

The First International Eduardas Balsys Competition of Young Composers was organised two years ago to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the composer Eduardas Balsys.

More than half a hundred scores from all over the world proved a successful start of the new event. The Chairman of the Organising Committee, a composer Gintaras Samsonas noted how pleasantly unexpected it was to receive applications from almost all the continents. The laureates of the competition of 2019 were the composers from Iran, Taiwan, South Korea, Czech Republic and China. Their pieces were performed live during the final concert in Vilnius.

The 2nd Competition of Eduardas Balsys is going to take place this autumn and promises no less in variety, interest and intrigue. The selected members of this year’s Jury are well accomplished Lithuanian composers Algirdas Martinaitis and Loreta Narvilaitė, Latvian composer Eriks Ešenvalds, affiliated with the legendary music publisher Edition Peters, French violin virtuoso Philippe Graffin, famous for his interest in contemporary music and the Chairman of the Jury, Israeli composer Ayal Adler who has collaborated with Daniel Barenboim, Zubin Mehta and others. Compositions that are selected for the Final Round will be performed during the Gala Concert on the November 20th in Klaipėda’s City Concert Hall. Young composers up to the age of 35 are invited to participate in the competition with their pieces for chamber ensembles (string quartet, piano trio and quintet) as well as a string orchestra. This year there is also a new opportunity to compose for choir, as Chamber Choir “Polifonija” is one of the partners of the competition. In the final round, the orchestral compositions will be performed by Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Robertas Šervenikas.

When asked what motivated them to participate in the Balsys Competition this year, the members of the jury Algirdas Martinaitis and Ayal Adler responded with optimism and curiosity.

Ayal Adler: During the recent 5 years I have visited Lithuania as a guest composer or visiting lecturer at  Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. Each time I admired the experiences of creative collaboration and meetings with excellent musicians.  It was my pleasure to contribute organising the competition.

Algirdas Martinaitis: I am a student of Eduardas Balsys, so the competition named after him is extremely important for me personally. The second reason is a natural curiosity, a wish to get to know the young generation of composers. I am interested in the works of young Lithuanian composers’, like to read their scores, always try to attend premieres. This competition presents music from different parts of the world thus providing the possibility to broaden the sound horizons.

 

When asked what is special about this particular competition, both jury members shared their opinions.

A. A. I highly appreciate that this competition is dedicated for such an outstanding figure of Lithuania’s contemporary music scene and history. This is a good way to commemorate and publicise the name of Eduardas Balsys worldwide and the intriguing idea to find connections between Balsys creative tradition and the music of young composers.

A. M. I agree that Balsys creativity itself makes this competition special. Balsys wrote music of different genres and for different performers: from solo to orchestras, from songs to operas. Such versatility allows to design the competition in wide scope. Currently it is presented as an open area of unrestricted creative ideas providing the possibility to participate with instrumental or vocal, chamber or orchestral opus. However, in the future more specific theme could be formulated based on Balsys ideas e.g. the sea theme, cinema music or perhaps a song?

Describing the value of participation in such competitions for young composers, Algirdas Martinaitis and Ayal Adler highlighted several things.

A. A. It should be noted that the competition of November 2019 was unique as it offered the young composers a wide spectrum of performers:  from chamber ensembles to orchestra. This year it is enriched with vocal genres. Not to mention the Final Round in which the selected composers will work with the best professional performers and will be awarded the possibility to hear their music premieres prepared carefully   at the highest quality.

A. M. After the first competition two years ago I was impressed by the creativity and responsibility of participants. Creative production was evaluated anonymously, without knowing the authors’ names and nationalities. There were no carelessly written scores, amateur experiments. Creative production was very different, it implemented different compositional ideas, but general quality was very high no matter where the author was from – the East, the South or the North. Any competition is a kind of uncertainty. However, participation in a competition is the chance to feel one’s potential, in this case in the world context.

Prepared by Eglė Gudžinskaitė