JONAS TANKEVIČIUS (1st violin) | DARIUS DIKŠAITIS (2nd violin)
GEDIMINAS DAČINSKAS (viola) | GLEB PYŠNIAK (cello)
Founded in 1968 and having marked its 50th creative anniversary in 2018, THE ČIURLIONIS QUARTET has a reputation of an inventive and technically advanced collective. In 1990, the ensemble was among the first to receive the prestigious Lithuanian National Arts and Culture Prize, the highest award in Lithuania. In 2004, the Quartet captured second prize in the International Chamber Music Competition in Schweinfurt, Germany. In 2005, the Čiurlionis Quartet attracted much attention of the international audiences and media by giving concerts in the EXPO Aichi (Japan), and the presentation of its VCD at the world’s music fair MIDEM 2005 (France). The Čiurlionis Quartet has performed all across Europe: from Iceland to Russia and from Norway to Italy; it has also toured Canada, UAE, the USA, Mexico, Japan and China. The collective has appeared in such venues as Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Beethovenhaus in Bonn, Schauspielhaus in Berlin, Musée d’Orsay in Paris and many others; has performed at numerous prestigious festivals, including the Pražské Jaro, Berliner Festwochen, Festival van Vlaanderen, Janačkuv Mai, Moravian Autumn, Schleswig-Holstein, Meranofest, Europamusikale and Amadeo in Zagreb. Following its debut at the renowned Royal Festival Hall in London, the reviewer of Musical Opinion, the Britain’s oldest classical music magazine, wrote about the Quartet’s exquisite interpretation “proving to be a timely reminder to chamber music lovers in London of what genuine quartet playing should be.” The Čiurlionis Quartet regularly brings back home rave press reviews from its international tours (Magyar Hírlap (Hungary), Schwarzwälder Bote (Germany), Bergens Tidende (Norway), etc.)
The repertoire of the Čiurlionis Quartet embraces classical, romantic, 20th and 21st century works. It has presented many innovative concert series dedicated to Brahms and Bartók, as well as portrait concerts devoted to Mozart, Shostakovich, Schubert, Schumann and Latin American composers. In 2015, marked with Michał Kleofas Ogiński’s 250th birth anniversary, the Čiurlionis Quartet performed a special programme not only in Lithuania, but also Italy – Florence, L‘Aquila and Rome. In recent years, the Quartet together with Francesco Mammola (mandolin, Italy) and Nijolė Dorotėja Beniušytė (harpsichord, Italy/Lithuania) presented baroque music programmes in Lithuania and Italy, initiated original classical and jazz music projects in Lithuania, participated in different multi-genre concerts from e/q, electronics for quartet to tango with Tania Naranjo and Minna Weurlander international duo.
The Čiurlionis Quartet is an ardent promulgator of Lithuanian music. It has premiered works by Feliksas Bajoras, Vytautas Barkauskas, Jurgis Juozapaitis, Diana Čemerytė and many other Lithuanian composers. In 2014, the Čiurlionis Quartet opened Kristijonas Donelaitis’ year with premieres of Lithuanian works. It is a regular participant of Gaida Contemporary Music Festival. The Quartet feels that its foremost mission is to promote the name of Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis. During 2011 concert season, dedicated to the death centenary of Čiurlionis, the Quartet gave 100 concerts (featuring works by Čiurlionis) throughout Lithuania and abroad completing the tour at the UNESCO hall in Paris. The Quartet regularly performs Čiurlionis’ opuses in Lithuania and abroad.
In recent years the collective represented Lithuanian culture in the USA, UAE, Silk Road festival in China, St Magnus International Festival in Scotland, Pražské Jaro in Czech Republic, as well as at the Lithuanian culture season opening events in Cracow. It took active part in the events of the Centennial of the Restored State of Lithuania at home and abroad – Aalborg (Denmark) and Antwerp (Belgium), as well as international festivals Curonian Spit, Druskininkai Summer with M. K. Čiurlionis, ArsSummerfest, Music in Jašiūnai Manor and many others.
In March 2018, the Quartet’s founding cellist Saulius Lipčius handed over his position to Gleb Pyšniak, a younger generation cellist back to Lithuania from Austria.
The major part of the Quartet’s extensive repertoire has been recorded by the national and international radio stations and recording studios and released as LP’s and CD’s. Noteworthy are the recordings with a well-known pianist Lev Natochenny, the CD of works by Flemish composer Koos de Muinck (recorded in the Netherlands), the VCD release, etc.
The list of its stage partners includes various renowned musicians such as singers Asta Krikščiūnaitė, Edmundas Seilius, Judita Leitaitė and Dovilė Kazonaitė, French harpist Florence Sitruk, Belgian clarinettist Eddy Vanoosthuyse, pianists Jurgis Karnavičius, Gabrielius Alekna, Petras Geniušas, Gytis Cinauskas, Lev Natochenny, Tania Naranjo, Ralf Taal and Anastasia Injushina, accordionists Minna Weurlander, Martynas Levickis and Aurelija Matulevičiūtė, folksinger Veronika Povilionienė, saxophonist Petras Vyšniauskas, trumpeter Dovas Lietuvninkas, Baltic Guitar Quartet and Jazz Island vocal ensemble to name but a few.
Members of the Čiurlionis Quartet also appear as soloists, collaborate in various ensembles and creative projects. The musicians play unique instruments produced by the 18th century Italian masters.