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Raminta Šerkšnytė

Biography

Raminta Šerkšnytė (b.1975) studied piano (under Prof. Rymantė Šerkšnytė), music theory and composition at the Juozas Naujalis Gymnasium of Music in Kaunas, graduating in 1994. In 2000 she graduated from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre with MA in composition under Prof. Osvaldas Balakauskas; she also attended numerous masterclasses for composers in Europe, where she studied with Prof. Louis Andriessen, Helmut Lachenmann, Pascal Dusapin, and others.

 

In 2008 Raminta Šerkšnytė was awarded the Lithuanian National Arts and Culture Prize, the highest artistic distinction in Lithuania. In 2011 she became laureate of the composition competition Coup de Coeur des Jeunes Musiciens (Monaco). In 2005 and 2011 her Vortex and Midsummer Song were selected as recommended works at the UNESCO's International Rostrum of Composers in Wien. Other important distinctions: 1st prize at the Juozas Gruodis Composers' Competition (1995), three prizes at the competitions organized by the Lithuanian Composers' Union (2003, 2006 and 2012), recipient of the Gold Stage Cross, as the best theatre composer of the year (2005), and finalist at the Gaudeamus competition (Amsterdam, 2005).

 

Raminta Šerkšnytė regularly participates as a composer and pianist (performing her own pieces) at the contemporary music events. Her compositions have been performed by Kremerata Baltica, conductor Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, violinist Irvine Arditti and Arditti Quartet, Les Percussions de Strasbourg, and other musicians in numerous countries of Europe, Asia, Americas and Australia, including such venues as Vienna Musikverein, Berlin Philharmonie, Lincoln Center (New York), etc. Šerkšnytė's music was featured by many festivals around the globe, among them ISCM World New Music Days (Zagreb, Hong Kong, Vilnius, Ghent), Gaudeamus Music Week (Amsterdam), Klangspuren (Tyrol), Vilnius Festival, Gaida Festival (Vilnius).

 

In Šerkšnytė's work, emotional musical language seamlessly fits together with rational structures which are based on symmetry of harmony, rhythm and texture. Colourful instrumentation, intensive rhythm, multilayered texture and polymodal harmony are all characteristic of her compositions.

 

Šerkšnytė composes works of different genres and instrumentations, from intimate chamber pieces (Fantasy for piano), non-traditional ensembles (Presentiments for flute, viola and 4 prepared pianos) to pieces for children (Fairy-tale of the Little Prince for flute and orchestra) and music for drama performances. The most representative is her orchestral music (De profundis for string orchestra, Iceberg Symphony and Mountains in the Mist for symphony orchestra, an oratorio Songs of Sunset and Dawn) where the subtle, neo-impressionistic orchestration go together with dramatically mighty and virtuosic sound.

 

The main sources of inspiration for the composer are a broad spectrum of certain states of mind – kind of musical archetypes: from calm meditation (Aurei Regina Caeli), air of mystery (Misterioso), and nostalgic, melancholic moods (Adieu), to dramatic expression (Vortex) and outbursts of vital energy (Idée fixe). On the other hand, many of her compositions tend to colourful soundscapes seemingly inspired by the exalted reflection of nature (of course, titles of such works as Oriental ElegyMountains in the Mist, or Midsummer Song always carry figurative, symbolic meanings as well). In her own words, a composition is an uplifted state of mind, materialized by means of sounds, and its impressiveness depends on the composer's technical mastery.

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