Annual Festivals

KAUNAS JAZZ

Kaunas Jazz festival in Kaunas, Lithuania

 

The first international Kaunas Jazz Festival (Lithuania) took place under trying circumstances. On March the 11th , 1990, Lithuania declared the restoration of its independence and as an immediate result of this the former Soviet Union placed Lithuania under strict economic embargo. There was a shortage of fuel and other victuals. Even some of the most basic groceries were available only on a ration basis. The Lithuanian border and customs were still under control by the former Soviet officials. Lithuania did not even have its national currency.

The first Festival took place on April 19th - 21st despite all of these difficult circumstances. The first Festival was organised by a small group of enthusiasts gathered by Jonas Jucas. The music agency Litus, led by music producer Antanas Gustys together with the Kaunas Philharmonic Society's chairman Justinas Krepsta helped make the first Kaunas Jazz Festival become reality. The festival was also supported by the Department of Culture and Education of the City of Kaunas.

During the course of three days, five concerts were held in the Concert Hall of Vytautas Magnus University. Two jam sessions took place in the restaurant Neris. Musicians from Lithuania and from seven European countries: Denmark, Germany, Poland, Latvia, Switzerland, Russia, and Estonia participated in the festival. Among these were six Lithuanian jazz ensembles. Two projects were performed by musicians from Kaunas: Arina, K.Lusas and the Kaunas Big Band. The sound service company was BUL Sound Service (Ryga), the stage designer was Linas Piksrys and the emblem of the festival was designed by Egidijus Turevicius.

The audience joyfully greeted the guitartist Heinz Affolter with ovations. Together with his international group he performed a cheerful program called Acoustic Adventure. This project was performed not only in Kaunas, but also in Klaipeda, Taurage and Siauliai. This first festival showed the organizers' ambition to widen the geography of Kaunas Jazz, so that in future Kaunas Jazz Festivals the concerts held in other Lithuanian cities have become an inseperable tradition of this yearly event.

 

KAUNAS CITY DAY

 

Kaunas city day in Kaunas, Lithuania

Kaunas City Day is celebrated on the 20th of May because Kazimieras Jogailaitis renewed and expanded the privileges of the city in 1463. The oldest original privilege is kept in St. Petersburg archives and its copy is kept in Kaunas City Hall.
The main events of Kaunas City Day take place in the streets and squares of the Old Town on 18th, 19th and 20th of May.
Annually, objects of historical value are created for this event, for example an anthology of verse about Kaunas Coti, the symbol of the festival "Kaunutis" or a coin of Taurus.
Each year the city revives in spring. Townspeople and guests crowd in folk art fairs, concerts that demonstrate both the achievement of professionals and amateur artists, and represents the artistic life of Kaunas City.

 

PAŽAISLIS MUSIC FESTIVAL

Pažaislis music festival in Kaunas, Lithuania

Closely connected with the Kaunas summer life, the Pažaislis Music Festival has welcomed its faithful listeners for the sixteenth year in a row.

 
As every year, the festival combines novelties and surprises with the long-established traditions. A wide spectrum of styles and genres has already become a distinctive feature of the Pažaislis Music Festival, so this year’s programme is also sure to satisfy the listeners of different tastes. Compositions by authors of the Baroque and classical periods will be played alongside works by contemporary composers; large-scale concert compositions will be counterbalanced by chamber music; light genres will provide a contrast to majestic academic opuses.
 
However, a distinctive feature of the sixteenth festival is the age of Romanticism. The major part of the festival events will feature music from this colourful and romantic period. And, of course, this is no coincidence. This feature of the festival has been determined by great composers’ anniversaries, which are marked in2011: the 200th anniversary of the Hungarian genius Franz Liszt, the 100th anniversary of the death of the Austrian composer Gustav Mahler, the anniversary year of Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis.