Music for Vilnius

What kind of music will be playing to celebrate Vilnius’ 700th anniversary? Many songs have been written about Vilnius, but the Music for Vilnius project is taking a broader look and inviting seven contemporary world-famous composers to create works dedicated to the city.

Performances dates:
1. Toshio Hosokawa – 6-7 of May in the Church of St. Johns
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2. Heiner Goebbels – 10-14 of May in the Church of Saint Virgin Mary of Consolation
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3. Ivan Fedele – 25-27 of May in the Kazys Vernelis House-Museum
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4. Anna Korshun – 3-4 of June in  the Chapel-Columbarium of the Memorial Complex of Tuskulėnai Peace Park
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5. Agata Zubel – 17-18 of June
6. Beat Furrer – 30 June – 1 July
7. Michael Gordon – 5-6 of July

This concert cycle gives Vilnius a fresh sound! The composers are dedicating their works to selected places in the city and examining relevant topics. Thus, the premieres and meetings with composers are taking place in various parts of the city. The unique Music for Vilnius project allows the city to resonate both in Lithuania and all around the world. What if Mozart or Bach had composed pieces of music for Vilnius? Although we cannot change the past or commission these geniuses in the present, Music for Vilnius is providing an opportunity for the city to become immortal in the world music scene. Find out how Vilnius sounds to the world.

Musical spaces of Vilnius

The seven composers participating in the project have visited Vilnius and chose their favourite place in the city based on architectural, cultural and social environmental characteristics. They are each creating 5-50-minute solo instrument or chamber ensemble pieces for up to five – eight performers dedicated to the chosen space. The original compositions provide an opportunity to reflect on the historical and contemporary spaces of Vilnius and the entire country, as well as ambitious visions and plans for the future.

During the visits, the composers also had the opportunity to meet with the Lithuanian community of composers and musicologists to discover Vilnius and its cultural layers. Therefore, the works presented this year will embody the identity and values, as well as the social, cultural and innovation layers of Vilnius celebrating its anniversary. Seven composers – seven works for Vilnius – the Music for Vilnius project is going to make the world listen.

Who creates for Vilnius?

During its 700 years of existence, Vilnius has valued multiculturalism. Today, seven composers from different countries are participating in the Music for Vilnius project, which aims to foster diversity and seek an understanding of different ideas. The music of these world-famous composers is performed at the most important international festivals, where they collaborate with contemporary musicians. Some of the composers are related to Lithuania and reflect the most important ethnic communities living in Vilnius. The composers represent different creative generations and styles that reflect the main trends and contemporary music processes in the 20th and 21st centuries. Therefore, the music created for Vilnius will receive attention around the world.

Anna Korsun creates for the chapel-columbarium of the Memorial Complex of Tuskulėnai Peace Park

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Michael Gordon creates for the courtyard of the Jewish Council of the Vilnius Ghetto (Judenrat)

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Heiner Goebbels creates for the Church of Blessed Mary the Comforter

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Agata Zubel creates for the Gediminas Castle Tower / K29 Business Centre

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Ivan Fedele creates for the Kazys Varnelis House-Museum

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Toshio Hosokawa creates for Vilnius University

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Beat Furrer creates for the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania

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Works inspired by people

After the composers chose their inspiring spaces in Vilnius, residents of the city were invited to tell personal stories related to each space. These stories, which are being collected and posted on a website for all to read, serves as a source of inspiration for each composer. The authors of the most interesting stories have the opportunity to meet the world-famous composers themselves.

Music for Vilnius is dedicated to the city’s 700th anniversary. It is a gift that enriches, invites people to discover something new and can even inspire change. Preparations for premieres are bringing the community together and helping spread the message of Vilnius as a city that is constantly changing while retaining its modern face. These musical compositions promise to become a legacy for future generations while the melodies will spread through the world like the howl of the Iron Wolf, the symbol of Vilnius.

The music keeps playing

As part of Vilnius’ anniversary celebrations, the works of the Music for Vilnius project are going to be presented to the public in the spaces for which they were created. Other works by composers is performed during premiere concerts, thus revealing how the new compositions blend into the work of each composer for Vilnius.

However, the scope of the project extends well beyond this particular concert series. The works are inviting the community to discuss the processes of contemporary music and its place in the city. Using modern technology, the compositions are set to be played in space indefinitely. It will be possible to return and listen to the works at any time by following the Music for Vilnius route or travelling on a virtual tour. Thematic tours and deeper knowledge of Vilnius are going to be available to listeners. As the Lithuanian capital enters a new century of existence, the new sound of Vilnius will delight residents and provide a unique, emotionally charged experience for guests visiting the city. Listen to Vilnius celebrating its 700th anniversary.


Head of the Project – Matas Drukteinis

Creative Director – Vykintas Baltakas

Coordinator – Gintarė Palkevičienė


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