Lithuania continues to provide exciting opportunities for brass players from all over the musical world as superb performances are heard at the second International Juozas Pakalnis Competition.
The second Brass Final at the International Juozas Pakalnis Competition for Winds and Percussion recently took place in Vilnius, Lithuania.
It provided a high profile opportunity for Lithuanian cornet, trumpet, euphonium and tuba players under the age of 30 to compete against fellow musicians from across the world, with performers coming from as far afield as the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, Ukraine, Taiwan and Australia.
“Lithuanian brass banding is making amazing progress — including 20 youth bands, and with the European Championships taking place in Palanga in 2020, the future is so exciting.”
Held at the Lithuanian Academy of Music the format consisted of three rounds of competition over five days. Participants were given a list of works to prepare in their bid to reach the final.
Each tested musical insight as well as technical ability — from works by Bitsch, Curnow and Sparke for cornet players to euphonium and tuba repertoire by Fioccon, Ponchielli, Plog and Arutunian.
The final was held at the Academy’s Grand Hall — a stunning room fitting for such an occasion. The trumpet finalists were accompanied by the Lithuanian chamber Orchestra — Musica Humana, cornet finalists by Brass Band Aukstyn, and euphoniums and tubas by the Lithuanian Army Orchestra.
With numerous prize packages, with the winner picking up 2000 Euros, plus a 10 hour recording session, the standard was incredibly high, whilst there was also the opportunity for the performers to work alongside the likes of jurors such as Steven Mead and Tom Hutchinson, as well as the Lithuanian Army Orchestra.
Speaking to 4BR about the competition, Tom told 4BR: “We were treated to performances of an incredibly high standard, especially of the Philip Sparke ‘Cornet Concerto’ in the final by the talented Lithuanian Indre Jonaityte (above), and a brace of breathtaking renditions of the Haydn ‘Trumpet Concerto’ by Alexei Ivanov (Russia) and Oles Burak (Ukraine).
If you haven’t already heard of these players yet, believe me you will soon!”
Tom added: “This was my third recent visit to Lithuania through connections with Brass Band Aukstyn and conductor Remigijus Vilys, alongside artistic advisors Jappie Dijkstra and Steve Legge.
Lithuanian brass banding is making amazing progress — including 20 youth bands, and with the European Championships taking place in Palanga in 2020, the future is so exciting.”