R. Wagner. Overture from opera "Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg"
S. Rachmaninov. Piano Concerto No. 4, op. 40
S. Rachmaninov. Symphonic poem "Island of the Dead", Op. 29
R. Wagner. Overture from opera “Lohengrin”, Act I
R. Wagner. Overture from opera “Tannhäuser”
Vestards Šimkus, one of the most famous pianists of Latvia and his generation in the world, received recognition not only as a performer of classical music, but also as a composer and improviser. After graduating from the Emīlis Dārziņš Music School in Riga, V. Šimkus went abroad to study the art of piano performance: in 2002-2003 he studied at the University of Southern California, from 2004 to 2006 – at the Queen Sofia School of Music in Madrid, and in 2006-2008 – at the Richard Strauss Conservatory in Munich. V. Šimkus also studied composition for five years, and perfected his skills with the help of one of the most famous Latvian composers Pēteris Vasks.
The pianist has received international acclaim for concerts with various symphony orchestras, such as the BBC Philharmonic, Birmingham, the French National, the Czech Philharmonic, Orchestra of Hamburg, as well as the Kremerata Baltica Chamber Orchestra and many others. V. Šimkus is a laureate of 11 international competitions, his discography includes 10 albums. As a composer, he has twice won the highest Latvian film award for music for films. The pianist's repertoire is extremely wide: from Baroque to the modern music of the 21st century. He pays special attention to music written over the last 150 years. V. Šimkus often performs recitals in which classical music creates dialogues with the opuses of contemporary music, as well as compositions created by him. In addition, he performs fully improvised solo concerts inspired by jazz, contemporary classical, film, as well as early and folk music.
This autumn at the Vilnius Congress Hall V. Šimkus will perform Piano Concerto No. 4, op. 40 by Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873–1943), a representative of late Romanticism. The second part of the concert will also feature S. Rachmaninoff's symphonic poem "Island of the Dead", inspired by a picture of the same name by the Swiss artist Arnold Böcklin. In the concert, the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra will perform overtures of three operas by Richard Wagner (1813–1883): “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg”, “Lohengrin” and “Tannhäuser”. Always in search of poetic, visual, musical and dramatic fusion, and supporting his work upon the conception of opera as a "comprehensive work of art", Wagner caused a real revolution in the world of opera.
On this evening the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra shall be led by the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre’s conductor Martynas Staškus. Apart from his main activity of conducting opera and ballet performances, since 2004 Mr. Staškus has also been leading the Symphony Orchestra of the National M. K. Čiurlionis’ School of Arts, and since 2013 he has been the chief conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre.