Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra (LNSO) has been active for more than seven decades. Leadership of Vilnius City Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1940, was entrusted to a famous composer and conductor Balys Dvarionas. In 1964, a new stage started with a young conductor Juozas Domarkas, who took his place at the orchestra’s podium. After the restoration of Lithuania’s independence, in 1990 the Orchestra was given the name and status of the National Symphony Orchestra.
The Orchestra prepares and performs symphonic music programs not only in the National Philharmonic, but also in various Lithuanian cities. For many years it has carried on with Palanga Summer Concert Series, Michał Ogiński International Music Festival in Plungė, as well as represented the Lithuanian culture abroad: concerts were given in prestigious halls in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Minsk, Madrid, Berlin, Bern, Antwerp and Stockholm, in the major cities of Great Britain, France, in particular great number of concerts took the Orchestra to neighbouring Poland. The Orchestra also appeared in Schleswig-Holstein Festival in Germany, “Prague Spring” in the Czech Republic, “Musica Romantica” in Switzerland and other famous European music festivals and concert halls, such as the Musikverein in Vienna, London’s Barbican Centre, Cologne Philharmonic, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Moscow Conservatory Great Hall and Suntory Hall in Tokyo. In 2013, for the first time the Orchestra toured in South America (Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador), performed in the ceremonial opening and closing of the Lithuanian Presidency of the European Council in Klara Festival (Brussels) and Bialystok Philharmonic in Poland.
The LNSO has accumulated an extensive, colourful and significant repertoire, embracing works of oratorio genre and symphonic opuses of the past epochs as well as modern contemporary music with the works by the Lithuanian composers occupying an important place. Since 1991, the Orchestra has been a regular participant of the Contemporary Music Festival “Gaida”, annually presenting premières by the Lithuanian composers. It could be claimed, that almost all of the symphonic works by the Lithuanian composers were premièred by the LNSO, many of them are dedicated to maestro Juozas Domarkas. Thanks to the maestro, a large part of the Lithuanian music today sounds not only in the concerts but also from many recordings released in Lithuania and abroad („Melodiya“, „Marco Polo“, „Col legno“, „Ella Records“, „Naxos“).
Playing around 50 annual concerts, the LNSO nurtures unique traditions significantly contributing to fostering of the high music culture, encouraging the artistic ambitions of young Lithuanian composers and performers, indulging the audience with both large-scale opuses, certifying the Orchestra’s maturity, and the symphonic miniatures, prompting imagination of the listeners.
Conductor Robertas Šervenikas
Kaunas State Choir Artistic Director and Chief Conductor, Lithuanian National Culture and Art Prize Laureate, Professor ROBERTAS ŠERVENIKAS
R. Šervenikas, after graduating from the Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis School of Arts, obtained diplomas in choral, operatic and symphonic conducting at the Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg (Russia). The international career of the conductor began in 1997, when the famous cellist Mstislav Rostropovich invited him to the Evian Festival in France as an assistant. Later, R. Šervenikas conducted various ensembles in almost all European countries, Japan, South Africa, Brazil, Israel, Russia and others.
Since 2000 R. Šervenikas is the second conductor of the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, he made his debut with this ensemble in 1993. His intensive creative activity in 2005 was awarded the Lithuanian National Culture and Art Prize. For many years R. Šervenikas conducted the symphony orchestra of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater, is a professor of the conducting department of this higher school. Since 2008 for ten years he worked as the music director of the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theater. In this theater, the conductor has prepared many outstanding premieres of operas and ballets. In the same year, R. Šervenik's collaboration with the Bavarian State Opera (Germany, Munich) began.
2016 R. Šervenikas was awarded the gold badge of honor of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania "Bring your light and believe" for its significant contribution, special merits to Lithuanian culture and art, initiatives that inspire the community for positive activities, personal responsibility in creating a cultural and spiritual environment.
The conductor's repertoire includes genres of opera, ballet, oratorio and symphonic music, but contemporary works occupy a special place in it. R. Šervenikas is the first performer of works by many Lithuanian composers to record several dozen CDs of contemporary music with Naxos, Finlandia records and other record companies. The conductor is especially appreciated for his active, diverse creative expression: the premiere of symphonic works by Lithuanian composers and suggestive, mature interpretations of contemporary and classical music. R. Šervenikas is constantly invited to participate in competition evaluation commissions, and for many years he has been the artistic director of the International Tytuvėnai Summer Festival and the Chaim Frenkel Festival in Šiauliai.