Bel Canto Choir Vilnius Marked Vinyl Debut with Sold Out Open to the World LP Launch Concert
Bel Canto Choir Vilnius presented “Open to the World,” the first vinyl record of contemporary choral music in Lithuania, and invited to a cozy concert on June 16, 2023, at St. Catherine’s Church in Vilnius.
The concert also featured the Mettis String Quartet, pianist Motiejus Bazaras, and cellist Augustas Gocentas; several choir members performed solo roles, too: Mindaugas Rumšas (saxophone), Agnė Bagdonavičienė and Justinas Stanevičius (vocals). Grammy-nominated Vilius Keras, the album’s recording producer, also shared his 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 performed contemporary choral music from its new repertoire, including works by Eric Whitacre, Ola Gjeilo, Morten Lauridsen, Jake Runestad, Lithuanian composer Donatas Zakaras, and others. The Mettis String Quartet, pianist Motiejus Bazaras, and cellist Augustas Gocentas presented their solo performances too.
Trent Reznor, arr. Eric Whitacre
Laiškai Sofijai (Letters to Sofia)
O Magnum Mysterium
Conversion of Saul
Z. Randall Stroope
Labrinth, arr. Owen Ladd
This is My Song
Jean Sibelius, arr. Blake Morgan
“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.
The album was recorded at Paliesius Manor by Grammy-nominated recording producer Vilius Keras and his team from Baltic Mobile Recordings.
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.
Bel Canto Choir Vilnius
Egidijus Kaveckas and Milda Švelnienė (conductors), Raminta Gocentienė (choirmaster), Eglė Stundžiaitė and Eimantas Bešėnas (vocal coaches)
Guitar & Vocal
Mettis String Quartet
Kostas Tumosa (violin), Bernardas Petrauskas (violin), Karolis Rudokas (viola), Rokas Vaitkevičius (cello)
Vilius Keras and Aleksandra Kerienė
Recorded at Studio Residence Paliesius, November 2021
Recording Company: Baltic Mobile Recordings
LP cutting: Sidney Meyer, Emil Berliner Studios
Design: Ogilvy Vilnius
Financing: LP production was financed by Vilnius City Municipality (Special Thanks to Vilnius City Council members: Linas Kvedaravičius, Ieva Jagminienė and Tomas Gulbinas)
Made in Germany (EU)
The recording of the 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).