Happy 40th Birthday Vykintas Baltakas

Reading time: 3 min. Vykintas Baltakas

As our biography states, Vykintas Baltakas is a “composer, conductor, programmer and curator”, and yet you sometimes have the feeling that these descriptions are insufficient to describe the man and his music.

Writing in the Neue Musikzeitung, Reinhard Schulz put it this way: “Baltakas is an enormous talent; he knows exactly what he wants and what he can justify musically – and he doesn't succumb to convention.”

Baltakas is in every sense a musician and an artist. It is his creativity that impresses you in a very direct way. As with many composers, it’s difficult to portray his works in words; they fail to convey the magical worlds conjured up by such works as Lift to Dubai – written for the Ensemble Modern’s into … project – or the mesmerising and fantastically-named Instruktionen zur Durchführung einer alten Liebesbeschwörung, die Ihre/Ihren Geliebte(n) auf einmal und für immer an Sie binden wird (translation here) for choir. Only listening to them (there are excerpts below) does the works justice.

Josef Woodward wrote in the Los Angeles Times that his “(co)ro(na) is a picturesque study in tensions and texture, with instruments producing high, antic fluttering sounds about the grounding force of piano, percussion and long tones on horn. Some strange and sonic tone poetry is at hand, with the bracing sounds balanced by suspended clouds of harmony." (co)ro(na) can be heard on MusikFabrik’s CD Coronation, available on the Wergo label.

The recent Commentum for cello and piano, which was premièred by David Geringas and Ian Fountain, displayed his concentration of ideas and development into a chamber music environment, also audible in his string quartet b(ell tree), which was premièred by the Arditti Quartet.

The year ahead promises new opportunities to experience Baltakas’ music, including a new production of his music theatre work Cantio (see our related blog post); the world première of Accordiophone, a double concerto for saxophone and accordion, which will be premièred in Witten with Marcus Weiss and Teodoro Anzellotti; a new ensemble work for the Salzburg Festival; a chance to hear Redditio performed by Klangforum Wien, and Lift to Dubai performed by Ensemble 2e2m in Paris.

Happy Birthday Vykintas!

Vykintas Baltakas also has a website and a blog, and is on Twitter.

Here is a PDF file of our composer catalogue.

Listen to excerpts on SoundCloud.