Ceremony of awarding the 2nd M. K. Čiurlionis Scholarship to the students of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater and Vilnius Academy of Fine Arts.
The Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (LMTA) has hold the competition for Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis Scholarship for Young Composers. This incentive, established by M. K. Čiurlionis’ Society, has already been awarded for the second year running. The applications to participate in the competition were submitted by LMTA students of the Department of Composition. The 2021 scholarship has been awarded to Lukas Butkus, a second-year bachelor student of Composition, who has proposed Auto-da-fé, a syncretic concerto for piano. The online award ceremony is to take place on the LMTA TV platform on 15 February at 12 p.m., just before the celebration of the Restoration of the State Day of Lithuania.
LMTA Rector, Prof. Zbignevas Ibelgauptas reveals: “M. K. Čiurlionis scholarship for young composers plays an extremely significant role for the creative youth at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, both as a real incentive and on a symbolic level too. Not only does it encourage aspiring musicians to develop their ambitious ideas, but it also makes Čiurlionis’ idealistic endeavours relevant for today’s context linking the composer’s creative aspirations with those of the young idealists of our time. It feels as if the visionary spirit of Čiurlionis is reborn in the work of the young.”
The regulations of the competition provide for two scholarships to be annually awarded: one for the LMTA students and the other for students of the Vilnius Academy of Fine Arts. Each scholarship is worth 5,000 Eur.
Rokas Zubovas, a representative of M. K. Čiurlionis’ Society, feels happy to have received more applications this year than previously: “This year, all the ideas submitted for the Čiurlionis Scholarship were intriguing, and the applications were thoroughly prepared. Since the very establishment of the Čiurlionis scholarship, the Society has expected this competition to encourage talented young composers to take on courageous ideas. Our aspirations seem to have resonated in the hearts of the young and we feel thrilled about it.”
The organisers received five applications by young composers studying at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. Master students Beata Juchnevič and Goda Marija Gužauskaitė and three bachelor students – a third-year student Domantas Pūras, a fourth-year Liepa Užusienytė, and second-year student Lukas Butkus took part in the competition.
Unanimously, the jury voted for Lukas Butkus’ idea. The jury consisted of M. K. Čiurlionis’ Society representative Rokas Zubovas; Head of the LMTA Department of Composition Prof. Vaclovas Augustinas; Dr. Jonas Jurkūnas, lecturer at the LMTA Department of Composition; Chairman of the Lithuanian Composers’ Union, lecturer at the LMTA Department of Composition Dr. Mykolas Natalevičius; and Ana Ablamonova, Head of the LMTA Art Centre.
Auto-da-fé, a syncretic concert for piano, instrumental ensemble and four singers composed by Lukas Butkus is unique because it deploys a literary layer to be conveyed by the singers, while the text builds on Butkus’ own cycle of poems Auto-da-fé. Lukas, the author of the composition, has shared that “the word-for-word translation of the title means “the act of faith”. It tells a story of a form of idealistic love that goes beyond the boundaries of time, death and fear; about man’s eternal temporality. ”
Lukas Butkus is not just a composer. He is also a performing pianist, music arranger, and member of the ensemble The Artisans. And it is this ensemble that is going to develop the Auto-da-fé premiere. From an early age, L. Butkus has admired M. K. Čiurlionis’ life and work. It has been the student’s source of inspiration. “When I faced the question of choosing the path – musical or literary – I realised, in the same way as Čiurlionis, that I could search for inspiration in one or the other”, continues Lukas.
At the LMTA, the first M. K. Čiurlionis scholarship in 2020 was awarded to Mantvydas Leonas Pranulis, a composer and performer, for his ethnocosmological sound performance S’Anatomia / Signs, the premiere of which should appear this year.