Onutė Narbutaitė (b. 1956) is one of the leading Lithuanian composers. In 1997 she was awarded the Lithuanian National Arts and Culture Prize for the oratorio "Centones meae urbi". The composer was twice awarded the prizes for the best symphonic work of the year (for "Tres Dei Matris Symphoniae" in 2004, and for "La barca" in 2005) at the composers' competitions organized by the Lithuanian Composers' Union. In 2008 she was awarded the prize for the best choral composition (for "Lapides, flores, nomina et sidera") at the same competition. In 2004, her Melody for symphony orchestra (2nd movement from Symphony No.2) was ranked first in the list of recommended works at the 51st International Rostrum of Composers in Paris. Her orchestral piece riva fiume sinfonia was selected among the top ten recommended works at the 57th International Rostrum of Composers in Lisbon in 2010. She was also honoured with the prize of the Lithuanian Art Creators' Association, the St. Christopher Prize of the Municipality of Vilnius (2008), and other awards.
Onutė Narbutaitė's works were performed in many festivals in Lithuania and abroad, such as Gaida, Vilniaus Festival (1999, 2001, 2008), Warsaw Autumn (1994, 1997, 2007, 2013), Musica viva (Munich, 2005), MaerzMusik (Berlin, 2003), Klangspuren (Austria, 2004), ISCM World Music Days (Bern, 2004, Vilnius, 2008), Icebreaker II: Baltic Voices (Seattle, 2004), Pan Music Festival (Seoul, 2004, 2005), Est-Ovest (Turin, 2006), 22 Festival de Música (Alicante, 2006) Ars musica (Belgium, 2009), Frau musica nova (Cologne, 1998), Artgenda (Copenhagen, 1996), De Suite Muziekweek (Amsterdamas, 1995), Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival (1992), Helsinki Festival (1992), Music Harvest (Odense, 1992), Czesław Miłosz's 100th anniversary festival in Cracow (2011), many other festivals and concerts in Europe, USA, Canada. Portrait concerts of her work were presented in Lithuania, Poland, Germany, London (2013) and included in programs of some festivals - Aboa musica (Turku, 2003), Kaustinen XX Chamber Music Week (1998), Europäisches Musikfest Münsterland (1999), Synaxis Baltica international summer arts courses (Görlitz, 2006), 10th Polish-Lithuanian Musicological Conference (Cracow, 2006).
Her compositions are included in more than 30 CDs released in Lithuania and abroad, among them 7 CDs entirely of her music.
Onutė Narbutaitė has acquired some fundamentals of composition from Bronius Kutavičius. In 1979 she graduated from the Lithuanian State Conservatory (present Academy of Music and Theatre) where she studied composition with Prof. Julius Juzeliūnas. In 1979-1982 she lectured music theory and history at the faculties of the Lithuanian State Conservatory in Klaipėda, and since 1982 she has been living and working in Vilnius as a freelance composer.
In the 1980s, Onutė Narbutaitė earned the reputation of a composer of subtle chamber music. During the period of independence of Lithuania, Narbutaitė's music underwent significant transformations. First of all, she turned to large-scale symphonic and vocal works (oratorio Centones meae urbi, 1997; Symphony No.2, 2001; Tres Dei Matris Symphoniae, 2003; La barca, 2005; riva fiume sinfonia, 2007). Narbutaitė is developing a very personal music language with characteristic features such as intellectualism and solid structuring, expressive instrumentation and suggestive melodic writing, multilayered vertical stacking and an intense musical flow. Her aural imagery correlates with a great number of cultural reminiscences in her music. The German musicologist Albrecht Thiemann has aptly noted that "the impact generated by Onutė Narbutaitė's works is related with quite uncommon, paradoxical inner balance: their sound is both simple and complex, personal and universal, meditative and analytical."