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St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra



Biography

Vilnius St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra (artistic director and chief conductor – Modestas Barkauskas, conductor emeritus – Donatas Katkus) is a collective widely known for its universality, professionalism, and artistic imagination. The orchestra is an eagerly awaited guest in prestigious concert halls in Lithuania and abroad, such as the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, the Harpa in Reikjavik, the Berwaldhallen in Stockholm, at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, or the Royal Palace in Warsaw, St. Petersburg’s M. Glinka Hall, or Moscow’s P. Tchaikovsky’s Conservatory. It also enjoys performances in less predictable places like outdoor stages or even sand quarries…

The orchestra was founded in 1994 by the initiative of professor Donatas Katkus. Many have noted that the St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra stands out from other collectives in Lithuania for its special stylistic universality. Having earned the reputation of a “baroque orchestra” and the reviver of rare partitures, musicologists have termed the orchestra “an excellent base for all of Lithuania’s composers’ conceptions”. Today its repertoire boasts over thirty opuses by Lithuanian authors: from early music to works by students from the Lithuanian Academy of Music. It gives no less attention to the music of contemporary foreign composers, playing works by P. Vasks, E.-S. Tüür, J. McCabe, Shin, A. Ruoff, R. Sierra and other composers. The orchestra is open to all kinds of initiatives and unconventional projects; it also gladly performs rock, pop, jazz music.

From its very inception, the intensive work schedule of the St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra has led to its wide recognition as much in Lithuania as abroad. The collective has successfully represented Lithuania at international events, such as the festivals Tubin (Finland), Pärnu (Estonia), Europäisches Musikfest Münsterland, Kaskados, Mystik und Maschine, Berlin Jazz, Hermann Hesse (Germany), Berlioz (France), Reykholt (Iceland), and elsewhere.

The orchestra regularly collaborates with well-known Lithuanian and foreign collectives and soloists. We can mention the singers Kerstin Avemo (soprano), Charles Castronovo (tenor), Violeta Urmana (soprano), Alfredo Nigro (tenor), Virgilijus Noreika (tenor), the violinists Maksim Vengerov, Alexander Rybak, Anton Barakhovsky, Jacques Israelievitch, Moti Shmidt, the pianists Maria João Pires, Leonid Chizhik, Konstantin Lifschitz, Tamami Honma, Petras Geniušas, Julian Joseph, the cellists David Geringas, Dominique de Williencourt, Marko Ylönen and Maria Kliegel, as well as Camilla Hoitenga (flute), Petras Vyšniauskas (saxophone), Linda Maxey (marimba), Martynas Levickis (accordion), Mirga Gražinyte-Tyla (conductor), indie rock band „Colours of Bubbles“, famous Australian beatboxer Tom Thum, plus many others.

As a Vilnius Municipal orchestra, the collective constantly takes care of the wellbeing of the city – together with such organizations as Lithuanian Caritas, M. Rostropovich Charity and Support Foundation, Children‘s Hospital, Lithuanian Jewish Community, public and concert institutions in Lithuania and abroad, embassies organize charitable events. One of such projects’ was the orchestra tour to Ukraine, specifically visiting the front-line of the East Ukraine. During the tour, the orchestra not only gave free concerts and led educational events, but also brought the support collected together with Lithuanian Caritas to the people of Ukraine.

Watch Past Performances

Video 11/28/2018: St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra

St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra is an outstanding string chamber orchestra from Lithuania, the country in the geographical center of Europe. St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra will perform a unique program, featuring the best pieces by Gershwin, Copland, and Mendelssohn, as well as fresh Lithuanian compositions.

Presented in collaboration with the Embassy of Lithuania.

 St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra