Bel Canto Choir Vilnius Marks Vinyl Debut with Open to the World LP Launch Concert

Bel Canto Choir Vilnius presents “Open to the World,” the first vinyl record of contemporary choral music in Lithuania, and invites to join the group for a cozy concert on June 16 at St. Catherine’s Church in Vilnius.

The concert will also feature the Mettis String Quartet, pianist Motiejus Bazaras, and solo roles by choir members Mindaugas Rumšas (saxophone), Agnė Bagdonavičienė and Justinas Stanevičius (vocals). Grammy-nominated Vilius Keras, the album’s recording producer, and his team members will also share their insights into the recording sessions, giving a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the making of “Open to the World.”

During the concert, Bel Canto Choir Vilnius will perform contemporary choral music from its new repertoire, including works by Eric Whitacre, Ola Gjeilo, Morten Lauridsen, Jake Runestad, Lithuanian composer Donatas Zakaras, and others.

Open to the World LP: First-Ever Vinyl Release of Modern Choral Music in Lithuania

Bel Canto Choir Vilnius’ “Open to the World” is its first studio album. It features works by renowned contemporary composers such as Eric Whitacre and Ola Gjeilo and popular music specially arranged for the choir.

A special highlight of the album and vinyl is the song “In Bloom” by Kurt Cobain, the leader of the legendary US band Nirvana. The Bel Canto Choir Vilnius worked with young Swedish composer Henrik Dahlgren to create a unique arrangement of this grunge track.

Bel Canto Choir Vilnius’ album and vinyl showcase contemporary choral music rarely performed and recorded in Lithuania. The group strives to showcase Western choral music in an attractive and high-quality way to ensure it reaches the broadest audience possible.

The album and vinyl feature 36 singers of Bel Canto Choir Vilnius (artistic director: Milda Švelnienė, choirmasters: Raminta Gocentienė and Stasė Žaltauskaitė-Malūnavičienė, vocal coaches: Eglė Stundžiaitė and Eimantas Bešėnas), along with singer and guitarist Marius Beck, Mettis String Quartet (Kostas Tumosa (violin), Bernardas Petrauskas (violin), Karolis Rudokas (viola), Rokas Vaitkevičius (cello)), pianist Motiejus Bazaras, cellist Augustas Gocentas and hang player Tomas Byčkovas.

The production team consists of more than ten professionals: Audrius Valatkevičius (Executive Producer), Vilius Keras and Aleksandra Kerienė (Recording Producers), Evelina Bajorinienė (Recording Engineer), and others.

The album was recorded at Studio Residence Paliesius in November 2021 by Grammy-nominated recording producer Vilius Keras and his team from Baltic Mobile Recordings, with LP cutting performed by sound engineer Sidney Meyer at Emil Berliner Studios in Berlin, Germany. Ogilvy Vilnius created the LP design; LP records were made in Germany.

The recording of the “Open to the World” album was funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture and the Lithuanian Neighboring Rights Association AGATA. LP production was financed by Vilnius City Municipality (Special Thanks to Vilnius City Council members: Linas Kvedaravičius, Ieva Jagminienė and Tomas Gulbinas).

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