In his music, Arūnas Šlaustas (b. 1953) explores different possibilities of combining jazz and classical idioms; the classical tradition is the source of his creative impulses and his peculiar way of development of the musical material.
The pianist is a well established performer of jazz and academic music. He studied classical piano at the Lithuanian Academy of Music, and is a laureate of the M.K.Čiurlionis International Piano Competition. He has given quite a few recitals and has performed with the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra and the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra. He is a member and one of the founders of the new music ensemble Ex tempore. As a soloist and member of different ensembles, he has performed many premieres of the contemporary composers and has participated in the contemporary music festivals Warsaw Autumn, Gaida, Jauna muzika, Mariu klavyrai, and others.
In 1987 alongside with academic music, he started playing jazz. First he played in the Lithuanian Academy of Music Big Band, led by Vladimir Chekasin, later with Arnoldas Gurinavičius Quartet, New Lithuanian Trio, Danielius Praspaliauskis Quartet and his Dixieland. Since 1991 Šlaustas emerged as a co-leader. With his constant creative companion, saxophonist Danielius Praspaliauskis, they founded a quintet Contra Jazz. The pianist also performs solo, and with folk music groups. He constantly participates in jazz festivals in Lithuania and abroad.
Arūnas Šlaustas is a distinctive composer whose work is grounded in the ageless classics. This connection is evident not only in his musical language, but also in the titles of his pieces: Eclectic Bolero, Chaconne, Allemande, Pavane.
Currently Arūnas Šlaustas teaches at the Vilnius Conservatory and the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre.
© Jūratė Kučinskaitė