Dreamweaver. A Christmas Concert of Bel Canto Choir Vilnius & Friends!

Bel Canto’s Christmas program and the Lithuanian premiere of Ola Gjeilo’s latest work Dreamweaver!

Bel Canto Choir Vilnius, Lithuania’s best choir, invites listeners to celebrate upcoming Holiday season at a pair of intimate and elegant concerts at the St Catherine’s Church in Vilnius. On two consecutive nights – December 15 & 16 – Bel Canto will perform the Lithuanian premiere of Dreamweaver, composed by Ola Gjeilo, one of the world’s most popular contemporary composers. Bel Canto will also present music by other prominent contemporary composers, such as Eric Whitacre, Morten Lauridsen, Eriks Ešenvalds, as well as choral arrangements of popular songs.

The centrepiece of the concerts is the Lithuanian premiere of Dreamweaver, Ola Gjeilo’s latest composition for chorus, piano and string orchestra. Dreamweaver’s text is based on a well-known Norwegian medieval folk poem, Draumkvedet (the Dream Poem); an epic ballad that has a lot in common with Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Draumkvedet’s protagonist, Olav Åsteson, falls asleep on Christmas Eve and sleeps until the twelfth day of Christmas. After waking up, he rides to church to describe his dreams to the congregation — about his brave, beautiful, terrifying and ultimately redeeming journey through the afterlife. Draumkvedet has been playfully adapted for Dreamweaver by poet Charles Anthony Silvestri.

Bel Canto will also perform Morten Lauridsen’s wonderful piece Dirait-on. Les Chansons Des Roses, O Emmanuel by Latvian composer Eriks Ešenvalds, Eric Whitacre’s Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine, for which Bel Canto won the Grand Prix at Lithuania’s premier choral competition, and others. In addition, Bel Canto will explore other sounds and musical styles, performing choral arrangements of well-known pop songs like Bridge Over Troubled Water (Paul Simon, arranged by Vince Peterson) and even the traditional American gospel song Down to the River to Pray.

The Dreamweaver Concerts will feature Bel Canto’s friends, Lithuania’s great young talents: soloists Lina Dambrauskaitė and Sandra Lebrikaitė, fourteen musicians of  string ensemble Mikroorkéstra and saxophonist Tomas Želvys. Bel Canto’s choirmaster Raminta Gocentienė will join them on piano.

The Dreamweaver Christmas Concerts will be held 7PM on Friday, December 15, and Saturday, December 16, at St Catherine’s Church in Vilnius!


The Deer’s Cry

The Sixteen and Bel Canto Choir Vilnius together in Concert!

Bel Canto Choir Vilnius hosted The Sixteen, one of world’s best professional choirs!

Bel Canto Choir Vilnius, Lithuania’s best mixed volunteer choir, presented its special guest – The Sixteen, a Grammy-nominated ensemble, winner of numerous prestigious awards and one of the world’s best choirs, based in the United Kingdom. The Sixteen (founder and conductor Harry Christophers CBE) and the Bel Canto Choir Vilnius (artistic director Dr. Egidijus Kaveckas) performed their only concert in the country – The Deer’s Cry – on November 2, 2017 at the Vaidila Theatre in Vilnius.

The Sixteen’s tour in Lithuania and Estonia was funded by Rothschild & Co., one of the largest financial consultancies in the world. The concert of The Sixteen and the Bel Canto Choir Vilnius was sponsored by the British Chamber of Commerce and Barclays Bank’s technology center in Lithuania.

The Sixteen, which performed for the first time in Lithuania, presented one of its most impressive programs – The Deer’s Cry. It included works by English Renaissance composer William Byrd, who have become one of the choir’s calling cards, as well as pieces by contemporary Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, a genius of minimalism. As the choir explains:

Whilst coming from very different eras, William Byrd and Arvo Pärt are both considered masters of sacred music despite having faced considerable persecution for their work. This programme presents six of William Byrd’s works from the Cantiones Sacrae including the monumental Tribue, Domine, and the mighty eight-voice motet Ad Dominum cum tribularer. The three works by Arvo Pärt speak in his unmistakable voice, with its unique blend of ancient and modern, and include his mesmerizing Nunc dimittis which is crafted in his bell-like ‘tinitinnabuli’ style.

Bel Canto Choir Vilnius began The Deer’s Cry concert with pieces by world-famous modern composers Eric Whitacre and Ola Gjeilo. The Choir also performed a work by Vaclovas Augustinas, one of Lithuania’s best known contemporary composers.

“It’s a great honor for us to welcome and host The Sixteen, one of the world’s greatest choirs, to Lithuania and organize a joint concert. Though we are a volunteer choir, we share the same passion and ambition as world’s best professional choirs – our passion for music, a constant ambition to improve, to learn, to exchange experiences and knowledge. I am certain that this joint project with The Sixteen will inspire our choir team to overcome even greater challenges, provide them with even more priceless experience and knowledge, and stoke our honest desire and efforts to improve the level and popularity of choral music in Lithuania,” said Egidijus Kaveckas, artistic director of the Bel Canto Choir Vilnius.

About The Sixteen

The Sixteen is recognized as one of the world’s greatest ensembles. Comprising both choir and period-instrument orchestra, The Sixteen’s total commitment to the music it performs is its greatest distinction. A special reputation for performing early English polyphony, masterpieces of the Renaissance, bringing fresh insights into Baroque and early Classical music and a diversity of 20th-and 21st-century music, is drawn from the passions of Founder and Conductor Harry Christophers CBE.

The Sixteen are ‘The Voices of Classic FM’, Associate Artists of The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, Artistic Associates of Kings Place, London and hold a 2017-2018 residency at Wigmore Hall, London. The group promotes The Choral Pilgrimage, an annual tour which aims to bring music back to the buildings for which it was written. The Sixteen also features in the highly successful BBC television series, Sacred Music, presented by actor Simon Russell Beale.

Over 150 recordings, including many award-winners, reflect The Sixteen’s quality in a range of work. In 2009 The Sixteen was given the accolade of Classic FM Gramophone Artist of the Year as well as winning Best Baroque Vocal for its recording of Handel’s Coronation Anthems.

In 2011 the group launched Genesis Sixteen, the UK’s first fully funded training programme for young singers aged 18 to 23 years.



Bel Canto Choir Vilnius & the Purdue Varsity Glee Club: UNBLOCK. Music that breaks barriers

A special night in Vilnius with 120 singers on the stage of the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Hall.

On May 21, 2017, Bel Canto Choir Vilnius and a renowned U.S. university male choir – the Purdue Varsity Glee Club – presented their joint music project – UNBLOCK. Music that breaks barriers. Two different choirs from Lithuania and the U.S. presented the most beautiful contemporary choral music and interpretations of well-known jazz, musical, barbershop and gospel pieces in a joint concert. Sixty singers from the mixed choir Bel Canto Choir Vilnius and 60 singers from the male Purdue Varsity Glee Club took part in the concert.

Modern choral music on one stage along with jazz, pop, barbershop classics

The Bel Canto Choir Vilnius, conducted by its new artistic director Egidijus Kaveckas, performed popular pieces by world-famous U.S. choral music composer Eric Whitacre and prominent Lithuanian composers Vytautas Miškinis and Vaclovas Augustinas.

The Purdue Varsity Glee Club, which is well known for its spectacular performances, presented its interpretations of well-known musicals, barbershop, gospel and jazz pieces specifically arranged for the choir. They included Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, “When You’re Smiling”, which was made famous by Louis Armstrong, and a set of pieces by legendary jazz singer, composer and pianist Nat King Cole.

90 male voices shaked the Philharmonic

The choirs from Lithuania and the U.S. prepared a special surprise for the Vilnius audience. “Pater Noster” (“Motherland of Ours”) by the Lithuanian composer Vaclovas Augustinas was performed by 90 male voices from both choirs.

The artistic director of Bel Canto Choir Vilnius, Dr. Egidijus Kaveckas, says that the joint Lithuanian and American choir project was aimed at encouraging contemporary cultural environment, emphasizing our place in Western culture, as well as inspiring the creativity and innovation of Lithuanian choirs.

“We were delighted to welcome this American choir in Vilnius and to perform with them. We are different choirs, hence it was interesting to share the same stage, to learn from each other, to exchange ideas and experiences and to present different approaches to choral music. Even though most of Bel Canto’s repertoire consists of wonderful contemporary choral music, we present it in a delicate and elegant way, yet we are a choir more of a classical or “traditional” type. Meanwhile, our American colleagues combine classical choral music with other styles, and distinctive choreography makes their performance more varied. I am certain that this joint project with Purdue University’s male choir will inspire both us and the Americans and that it gave the audience unforgettable impressions”, Dr. Kaveckas says.


115-year-old traditions, Carnegie Hall and the inaugurations of six U.S. presidents

Established in 1893, the Purdue Varsity Glee Club unites over 90 talented music-loving students at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. The choir has performed on such famous stages as Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York and at the inaugurations of six U.S. presidents. It has toured Australia, New Zealand, China and numerous European countries.

Artistic Director of the Bel Canto Choir Vilnius is Dr. Egidijus Kaveckas. The second conductor and choirmaster is Milda Zapolskaitė, the choirmaster and concertmaster is Raminta Gocentienė. Artistic Director of the Purdue Varsity Glee Club is William E. Griffel.

Producer of the Concert is Audrius Valatkevičius, the President of the Bel Canto Choir Vilnius.