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March The Birštonas Jazz Festival

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Placed on: 2008-03-20 12:20   Updated on: 2009-08-20 15:06   Comments: 0   Views from 2009-08-25: 0

March The Birštonas Jazz Festival
2009-03-20 12:18

Back in the Soviet times, Lithuania was regarded the jazziest republic of the USSR. Since then, it has improved its jazz traditions even more and has remained the country where jazz music occupies a substantial niche in its overall cultural life.

At the end of March 2008, the small town of Birštonas in the south-western part of Lithuania is sure to become an important landmark on the map of the cultural activity of the country. That is where many jazz musicians from around the country and abroad as well as crowds of jazz lovers will be going to spend the last weekend of the month. The reason is that the Birštonas Jazz Festival, which has been held here every even-numbered year since 1980, comes back to rock the town yet again, after the two years’ break.

The jazz festival in Birštonas is often referred to as the first, the most favourite and the most Lithuanian jazz festival. Having been first organised on November 1, 1980, the festival later inspired and prompted the appearance of other now famous regular jazz forums in Kaunas, Vilnius and Klaipėda. Interestingly, each of them is often said to present a different kind of jazz. Unlike Kaunas with its commercial jazz or Vilnius with its avant-garde jazz, Birštonas has undoubtedly been the home of the national, Lithuanian, jazz. Therefore, 75% of the programme of the festival in Birštonas has always been comprised of Lithuanian jazz bands and musicians.

Many experienced Lithuanian artists come back to Birštonas to show what they have done or achieved over the last two years. For others, on the other hand, the stage of the festival serves as a starting point in their career, i.e. when they are introduced to the audience and, hence, start gaining wider public recognition. However, regardless the length of these performers’ careers, the festival is always an intriguing event for them all: some musicians are chosen to be honoured with the festival’s special Grand Prix. This award is presented at every festival and it rewards an artist or a band for their outstanding contribution to the development of Lithuanian jazz.

In addition, the Birštonas Jazz Festival also welcomes and stimulates the participation of foreign guests. Mostly, the festival’s guest performers are from the neighbouring countries such as Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Denmark, Belarus and Russia. Such diversity of participants enables the audience to not only celebrate the art of jazz music as such but also to evaluate the level and the professionalism of the Lithuanian jazz culture in a wider international context.
program 2008

2008 the festival falls on the weekend Fri 28-Sun 30. The list of participants will include the following names:

· Dixieland DixXband (frontman R. Arnašius)
· Tomas Botyrius Quintet
· Project by Kristina Svolnikaitė
· Rimas Bagdonas Quartet Jazz Comfort & Vytautas Labutis
· Bigband Old Cellar Band (frontman P. Tadaras) & Egidijus Sipavičius
· Petras Vyšniauskas & Anykščiai music school jazz orchestra (frontman P. Žiukas)
· Bigband LMTA (frontman L. Mockūnas)
· Project by Vilnius College students (frontman V. Chekasin)
· Opera Quartet & Indrek Kruusimaa (Estonia)
· QU5 Band
· Dainius Pulauskas & Arkadij Shilkloper Quartet (Lithuania - Germany)
· Viacheslav Ganelin (Israel)
· Project by A. Anusauskas, N. Malūnavičiūtė, V. Labutis & S. Houghton (Lithuania - USA)
· Šiauliai Seniors Bigband (frontman R. Jankus & J. Cechanovičius)
· Reda & Aurelijus Ščiuka Quintet
· Kaunas Bigband (frontman R. Grabštas) & Laase Lindgren (Lithuania - Sweden)
· Anke Helfrich Trio (Germany)
· L. Mockūnas, D. Golovanov, M. Aleksa & V. Nivinskas Quartet
· Riga Groove Electro project (frontman D. Pashkevich, Latvia - USA)

Place: Birštonas Culture Centre

Address: 4 Jaunimo Street, Birštonas.

Ticket prices: 30Lt, 40Lt, 50 Lt.

More information at


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Birštonas Jazz Festival
Birštonas Jazz Festival

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