Music for Vilnius concerts

What music did Vilnius celebrate its 700th anniversary with? Many songs have been written about Vilnius, but the project “Music for Vilnius” by the public institution “Meno Genas” and the Lithuanian Ensemble Network has taken a broader view and invited seven world-famous contemporary composers to compose works for Vilnius.

Performances dates:
1. Toshio Hosokawa – 6-7 of May in the Church of St. Johns

2. Heiner Goebbels – 10-14 of May in the Church of Saint Virgin Mary of Consolation

3. Ivan Fedele – 25-27 of May in the Kazys Vernelis House-Museum

4. Anna Korshun – 3-4 of June in the Chapel-Columbarium of the Memorial Complex of Tuskulėnai Peace Park

5. Agata Zubel – 17-18 in the Gediminas Castle Tower / K29 Business Centre

6. Beat Furrer – 30 June – 1 July in the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania

7. Michael Gordon – 5-6 of July inthe courtyard of the Jewish Council of the Vilnius Ghetto (Judenrat)


In the concert series from May to July 2023, Vilnius took on a new sound: composers dedicated their works to selected places in the city or to themes related to them, so presentations of the works and meetings with the composers took place in various city spaces. The unique project “Music for Vilnius” gave the city a new sound not only in Lithuania but also in the world. What if Mozart or Bach had composed works for Vilnius? Although you can’t change the past, the Music for Vilnius project has given the city a chance to be heard on the world music stage and to hear how Vilnius sounds to the world.

Sounding Spaces in Vilnius

Seven composers participating in the project of the Lithuanian Ensemble Network and the Public Institution “Meno Genas” visited Vilnius and chose their favourite place, taking into account its architectural, cultural and social characteristics. For this space, they composed a 5- to 50-minute work for solo instrument or chamber ensemble of up to five performers. The original works provided an opportunity to reflect on the historical and contemporary space of Vilnius and the country as a whole, as well as ambitious visions and plans for the future.

During their visits, the composers also had the opportunity to meet with the community of Lithuanian composers and musicologists, to discover not only the spaces of Vilnius, but also the cultural layers. The works presented in 2023 therefore revealed the identity, values, social, cultural and innovation layers of Vilnius, which is celebrating its anniversary. Seven composers created seven works for Vilnius. Music for Vilnius made the city resound in the world.

Who’s creating for Vilnius?

Throughout its 700 years of existence, Vilnius has valued multiculturalism, and in order to foster diversity and understanding of different opinions, seven composers from different countries participated in the project “Music for Vilnius”. All of them are renowned not only in their own countries, but also in the world; their music has been performed at major international festivals, and they have collaborated with contemporary music artists. Some of the composers are related to Lithuania by kinship, reflecting the national communities living in Vilnius.

The composers represented different generations of composers and stylistic trends, which reflect the main processes of 20th- 21st century contemporary music in the world. As a result, the works dedicated to Vilnius attracted attention not only in Vilnius itself, but also in other countries.

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

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

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Heiner Goebbels created for the Church of Blessed Mary the Comforter

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

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Ivan Fedele created for the Kazys Varnelis House-Museum

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Toshio Hosokawa created for Vilnius University

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Beat Furrer created for the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania

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Works inspired by people

“Music for Vilnius” was dedicated to the 700th anniversary of Vilnius as a gift that enriches, invites you to discover something new, perhaps even encourages change. The preparation for the concerts and the premiere concerts brought together the city’s community, spreading the message of Vilnius as a city that is constantly changing and remaining modern through contemporary music. The music became a legacy for future generations and the music spread across the world like the howl of the iron wolf.

The music never stops

On the occasion of Vilnius’ anniversary, the works of “Meno Genas” and the Lithuanian Ensemble Network’s project “Music for Vilnius” were publicly presented in the spaces created for them. The premieres also included other works by other composers, thus revealing how a composition for Vilnius fits into the composer’s creative works.

But the project didn’t end with the presentation concerts. The works invited the community to discuss the processes of contemporary music and its place in the city. Using modern technology, music was played in the spaces for an indefinite period of time. It was possible to return at any time to listen to the works by following the route of “Music for Vilnius” or by taking a virtual tour. Listeners could also enjoy thematic excursions and a deeper understanding of Vilnius.

As the capital entered a new century of its existence, the new sound of Vilnius not only delighted Vilnius residents, but also provided a unique, emotionally “charged” experience for the guests visiting Vilnius.

The project team:

The Head –  Matas Drukteinis

Artistic Director and Program Director – Vykintas Baltakas

Coordinator – Gintarė Palkevičienė


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