Ist Šv. Jokūbo festivalis
About the festival
Resulting from the common initiative of Vilnius’ Dominicans and VILNIUS Choir, the International St. James Sacred Music Festival was launched on 28 August – 4 September and 2 October 2011 under the patronage of the Lithuanian Minister for Culture, Arūnas Gelūnas.
The Choir and the Dominican community joined their forces in the attempt to get closer to people through choral music. This is what determined the choice of the Festival’s venue, the Church of St. Apostles Philip and James, which belongs to Dominican monks. Festival events were also intended to contribute to the then initiative by the Dominicans to set up St. James carillon in the tower of the Church.
With sacred music programmes, the first International St. James Festival filled an important niche in the country’s cultural life and opened up opportunities for propagating Lithuanian choral art worldwide.
The program of the festival
Belarusian state chamber choir
The State Chamber Choir of the Republic of Belarus (director N. Mihailova) was created in September 1988. From its first steps it attracted attention to the musical community and it also achieved a significant success.
Sacred music and jazz, classical and modern music organically and naturally coexist in the repertoire of the choir. The creative possibilities of the collective, consisting of 30 professional musicians, are inexhaustible.
A graduator of the Belarusian State Conservatory Honored artist of the Republic of Belarus Natalia Mikhailova has conducted the Chamber Choir since 2000. Broad erudition, high level of artistic culture, devotion creativity allow to determine N. Mikhailova as one of the brightest and the most important figures in modern music of Belarus. High professional excellence, outstanding vocal talent and teaching talent can be not only a good conductor and performer, but also educate vocal skill and artistry choir singers. It gives an opportunity to expand the repertoire of Chamber Music genre boundaries and participate in operas “The Lottery” of S.Moniushko, “Cio-Cio-San,” Puccini and in a dramatic play “Wait, the sun!”. In February 2008, the President of Belarus presented to Natalia Mikhailova the Medal of F. Skarina for her professional excellence.
Choir Monteverdi from Hamburg
Founded in 1955 by Jürgen Jürgens, the Monteverdi Choir Hamburg is one of the most renowned German choirs and is a musical ensemble of the University of Hamburg.
After the death of Jürgen Jürgens, the Leipzig conductor Gothart Stier took over the artistic direction of the choir in August 1994. On March 4, 2018, Gothart Stier ended his successful work with the Monteverdi Choir Hamburg for reasons of age with a moving performance of the “Elias” by Mendelssohn in the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie.
To replace Gothart Stier, the choir elected Antonius Adamske in October 2018 following a period of trial proxy. The focus of the choral work is the a capella choral music, but every year performances of large choral-symphonic works are on the program of the choir.
Schola Cantorum Vilnensis
Chamber Choir of Bialystok Medical University MEDICORO
Chamber Choir of Bialystok Medical University MEDICORO (director B. Sawicka) was founded in 2007 and has gained a prominent place on the Polish Choral Singing Map during its rather short history.
Over the past two years, the choir has been accompanied by special success, the highest awards in various national and international competitions.
Šiauliai State Chamber Choir POLIFONIJA
Polifonija is one of the oldest professional choirs in Lithuania. It developed from a vocal ancient music ensemble founded by conductor Sigitas Vaičiulionis. Later the choir was named Polifonija and received the status of a professional group. Since 2011, the group is directed by Tomas Ambrozaitis.
Broad repertoire of the choir includes compositions from the Renaissance to the present day music. The choir performed with the Lithuanian National and State Symphony Orchestras, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra and St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra, Klaipėda State Music Theatre and Chamber Orchestra, Vilnius Sinfonietta, the Orchestra of Lithuanian Armed Forces, the State Wind Instrument Orchestra Trimitas, the State Chamber Orchestra of the Republic of Belarus, Lvov Philharmonic Orchestra (Ukraine), St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra (Russia), as weel as with such ensembles as Musica Humana, Academy of Ancient Music (Russia), and other prominent music groups.
Artistic director and principal conductor Tomas Ambrozaitis