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Antanas Dvarionas

Biography

Antanas Dvarionas (1899–1950), a member of the renowned family of Lithuanian musicians, the eldest brother of composer Balys Dvarionas, was born in Liepaja (Latvia). Before the WWI he graduated from the Commerce School in St. Petersburg, also studied at the Mountain Engineering Institute. He studied singing at the St. Petersburg and Leipzig conservatoires.

 

For two years he sang (tenor) at the Liepaja Opera Theatre, with his brothers he formed a vocal sextet, which performed often. In 1920, he came to Kaunas and started working at the State Theatre opera orchestra, where he also sang in the choir and appeared in small roles. He was skilful pianist, accordionist, violinist, oboist, cornettist and saxophonist.

 

He got fascinated with the little stage, left theatre and not before long became one of the most sought after exponents of the genre. In the mid-30s, he formed a jazz orchestra where he himself played; sang in Metropolis and Versalis restaurants. For some time he led Kaunas Varieté Theatre, appeared in various programmes there, was ardent promoter of at the time very few works for little stage by Lithuanian composers.

 

In 1944, Antanas Dvarionas left Lithuania. He led the Lithuanian choir in Copenhagen. In 1948, he moved to Canada, where he lived up to his death, was the organist of Toronto Lithuanian Parish, and directed the choir there.

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