“Consistently exciting music which sets out on its own path. Here is a composer who understands how to sound subtle while thrillingly transforming the familiar into the foreign.” Süddeutsche Zeitung
Dramatic foresight, imagination and humour – these are three qualities which distinguish Vykintas Baltakas not only as a composer but also as a conductor. Indeed, conductors and composers make up two sides of the coin for the busiest of musicians. “One composes through playing, one plays through composing,“ he says – an attitude shared by Peter Eötvös who was his teacher between 1994 and 1997.
Following this, Vykintas Baltakas has in recent years conducted renowned orchestras such as the RSO and DSO Berlin, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and the WDR Symphony Orchestra as well as ensembles including Ensemble Resonanz, the Ensemble Modern and Scharoun Ensemble. He has also collaborated with composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen, Georg Friedrich Haas and Dieter Schnebel. In 2009 he took over the direction of the leading Lithuanian ensemble for new music, GAIDA. In the same year he founded the Lithuanian Ensemble Network (LEN) together with Mindaugas Piečaitis as a platform for Lithuanian ensembles, soloists, conductors and composers.
Born in Vilnius in 1972, Vykintas Baltakas already caught his native country’s attention as a musician and leader of two vocal ensembles, as well as a competition award winner, before studying composition with Wolfgang Rihm and conducting with Andreas Weiss in Karlsruhe from 1993 to 1997. He subsequently studied in Paris at the Conservatoire National Supérieur and took a one year course at IRCAM. At the same time he travelled to numerous international master classes and started to make a name for himself as a conductor and composer.
In the meantime he is a regular guest at festivals and with ensembles throughout Europe. Institutions that have commissioned works by Baltakas include the WDR Symphony Orchestra (Poussla, 2002), the Munich Biennale (anderes Lied. Double, 2001; chamber opera Cantio, 2004), the Wiener Festwochen/Klangforum Wien (about to drink dense clouds, 2003), North German Broadcasting Hamburg ((co)ro(na), 2005), the Ensemble Modern (Lift to Dubai, 2009) and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/musica viva (Scoria, 2010).
The Scharoun Ensemble under Matthias Pintscher performed the premiere of Baltakas’ work Eselsbrücke at the Salzburg Festival in 2013. Vykintas Baltakas created the piece as part of the Kunstprojekt Salzburg to compliment a light installation by the Austrian artist Brigitte Kowanz.
Vykintas Baltakas’ works have been awarded with prizes such as the International Claudio Abbado Composition Prize (2003) and the Siemens Advancement Award (2007). CD recordings of his compositions have been recently made by the Ensemble musikFabrik Cologne ((co)ro(na), produced by Wergo) and the Ensemble Modern (RiRo for soprano and trumpet).
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