Kaunas State Philharmonic Orchestra and Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022 present to the public an exclusive international project with the famous Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is the national symphony orchestra of Great Britain and from 2021 will be led by the charismatic and internationally acclaimed conductor Vasily Petrenko, 46 years old. The orchestra, visiting Kaunas for the first time, will present a special programme for the European Capital of Culture audience, together with the Kaunas State Choir and piano virtuoso Simon Trpčeski.
The first piece will be Sergei Prokofiev’s “Classical Symphony”, created as a musical joke. When his contemporaries were already used to his “hooligan” style, he composed a symphony based on the styles of Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This is Prokofiev’s first work to be composed without the piano. Speaking about the title of the work, the composer said: “First of all, it’s simpler. Secondly, my mischievous way is to blame, I wanted to annoy the geese. And then there’s the secret hope that in the end I’ll be right – that the symphony will indeed become a classical work.”
A genius improviser, a creator of perfect musical castles in front of the audience, and a demanding artist in his own right – all these epithets applied to Ludwig van Beethoven fit perfectly into one work – Fantasia for piano, choir and orchestra, which the guests from London will perform with the Kaunas State Choir and pianist Simon Trpčeský. This soaring hymn to the spirits of creation has become a veritable herald of van Beethoven’s legendary Symphony No. 9, which the audience will realise immediately after the winged melody of the piano solo.
The concert will culminate with the Second Symphony by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, a work whose birth the composer said: “It seems that the Most High Himself is throwing the pebbles of the mosaic from the vault of heaven and letting me put them together into one whole.” The symphony, which quickly captured the hearts of the audience, is a majestic and weighty mosaic of sounds, ending with an apotheosis that glorifies the work.
Celebrating its 76th birthday, the ROYAL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA (RPO) is at the forefront of musical life in the United Kingdom (UK), with a mission to enrich the lives of its audiences with the perfect and immersive experience of orchestral music. The orchestra performs around 200 concerts each season and has more than half a million fans worldwide. The RPO’s extensive repertoire allows it to reach a wide variety of audiences. The RPO keeps pace with the trends of modern life by collaborating with popular music artists, and has recorded soundtracks for video games, films and television programmes. The orchestra is a respected cultural ambassador, actively performing abroad, appearing in the world’s largest concert halls and prestigious international festivals. The RPO strives to make orchestral music a cornerstone of contemporary society and accessible to the widest and most diverse audiences possible. To this end, in 1993 the orchestra launched RPO Resound, an innovative and award-winning community education programme. The RPO was the first UK orchestra to set up its own record label, which today uses advanced digital technology and sees the number of downloads of their recorded music reach around 30 million each year. The orchestra is increasingly active online and on social media, giving audiences the opportunity to interact with the RPO and enjoy behind-the-scenes footage.
Pianist SIMONAS TRPČESKIS is praised not only for his unforgettable virtuosity and extraordinary expression, but also for his charismatic performances on stage. Twenty years ago, he appeared on the international stage as a BBC New Generation Artist, and has enjoyed an incredible career trajectory. The highly sought-after pianist has already collaborated with more than 100 orchestras on four continents and has worked with world-renowned conductors. Trpčeski has given solo recitals in the great halls of New York, San Francisco, Washington DC, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Milan, Munich, Prague, Hamburg, Bilbao, Istanbul, Dublin and Tokyo. Since his debut at the Wigmore Hall in 2001, he has remained a regular guest at this prestigious venue. As a chamber musician, he performs regularly with cellist Daniel Müller-Schott at festivals in Aspen, Verbier, Rissiore, Bergen, the Baltic Sea and elsewhere. Trpčeski has collaborated with EMI Classics, Avie Records, Wigmore Hall Live, Onyx Classics and currently Linn Records. His CDs have won Gramophone Awards in 2002, 2010 and 2011.
The concert will be conducted by RPO Music Director VASILIJ PETRENKO. He is also Principal Conductor of the European Union Youth Orchestra, has served as Principal Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (2006-2021), the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra (2013-2020), the British National Youth Orchestra (2009-2013) and has been a guest conductor with many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras. V. Petrenko has conducted the Berlin Philharmonic, the Bavarian Radio Symphony, the Leipzig Concert Hall Orchestra, the National Academy of Saint Cecilia in Rome, the French National Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic, the NHK Japan Symphony and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, In North America, he has led the Philadelphia, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and Montreal Symphony Orchestras, participated in the Edinburgh and Grafenegg Festivals and appeared frequently at the BBC Proms. He has also conducted at the Glyndebourne Opera Festival, the Paris National Opera, the Zurich Opera, the Bavarian State Opera and the Metropolitan Opera in New York. His biography includes recordings of symphonic cycles by Dmitri Shostakovich, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Edward Elgar with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, which have received worldwide acclaim, as well as recordings with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Kaunas State Choir (KVCH) began its professional artistic activity in 1969 and from the very first days it was directed by the Lithuanian National Prize laureate Professor Petras Bingelis. In 2021, Professor Robertas Šervenikas, Lithuanian National Prize Laureate, became the Choir’s Artistic Director and Principal Conductor. The choir has composed some 250 large-scale vocal instrumental works from the Middle Ages to modern music, belonging to the world’s classical treasure trove. The ensemble has given more than 3000 performances in Lithuania and abroad. Over 75,000 people have listened to its performance of Carl Orff’s cantata Carmina Burana at the Berlin Stadium; the choir has performed George Frideric Handel’s oratorio Messiah more than 80 times. KVCH is known in Lithuanian concert halls as a performer of premieres of works by foreign and Lithuanian composers.
ROYAL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA (Great Britain)
Music Director Vasily Petrenko
KAUNO STATE CHOIR
Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Robertas Šervenikas
SIMON TRPČESKI (piano, Macedonia)
VASILY PETRENKO (Great Britain)
Sergei Prokofiev – “Classical Symphony” No. 1 in D major, Op. 25
Ludwig van Beethoven – “Choral Fantasy” for piano, choir and orchestra in C minor, Op. 80
Jean Sibelius – Symphony No 2 in D major, Op. 43