Faculty & Workshops 2024
By Povilas Jarmala
PIANIST & PEDAGOGUE
Individual Piano Lessons
"10 Exercises for Strong & Sensitive Hands"
"Being a Self-Managed Artist"
"The Essence of Reality: Interpreting Claude Debussy"
"Concert in the Dark"
Gintaras Januševičius has built an exemplary multifaceted career as a piano performer, pedagogue, and event producer. His theatrical and educational recitals have taken him on tours all around Europe as well as the USA, PR China, Japan, and Brazil. His festival appearances include the Chopin Festival in Duszniki-Zdroj, Mozartfest Würzburg, Festival Besançon, and Dresdner Musikfestspiele to name just a few.
Leading a private piano studio since 2012, in 2020 he joined the staff of his alma mater, the HMTM Hannover. In addition to his stage and pedagogical careers, Januševičius founded and directed several music competitions, international piano academies, and numerous concert series. More information available here.
- What is your personal approach to teaching?
In my opinion, a great teacher must be capable of recognizing a student's individual potential and ideas, and then must be willing to share their own knowledge and tools to help the student develop a great stage act. The goal of my work is to nurture a wide variety of artists with unique stories and voices and to help them reach out to as many audiences as they want. In my view, no piece of music has just one superior interpretation - every new interpretation has a right to exist as long as it’s executed with unquestionable quality.
- Alongside your piano lessons, you offer several group workshops. What would be their subjects this year?
In the workshop "10 Exerices for Strong and Sensitive Hands" I introduce some of my favourite piano exercises that helped me build my technique. Without sufficient knowledge and control, an exercise could be a waste of time or even do harm. My goal is to give our students a healthy and helpful routine they can trust. My experiences as self-managed artist and event producer will make up the core of the lecture "Being a Self-Managed Artist". Students will be introduced to the realities of the career and will learn to build their artistic portfolio. The "Concert in the Dark" has been a staple of our program since 2019 and will again offer an exciting trip in time, showcasing the evolution of the music interpretation. A special 2024 lecture on interpretation will explore and explain the colorful music language of Claude Debussy.
By Edvardas Blaževič
TV & RADIO PRESENTER
"Your First Press Release"
- How important for a young artist is to be mentioned in the press?
Today, information reaches us through various channels. And although the habits of information consumption are changing, for example we observe current events in videos on social networks or hear them on the radio, in podcasts, written information still maintains its position - we learn a lot by reading texts. So being mentioned and noticed is important and significant. Especially when you are taking the first steps in your career.
- What would you advise to the person who is planning to write their first press release?
I sincerely advise you to start not with writing, but with reading various news, reports in different medias and trying to understand what exactly attracted your biggest attention, engraved itself into your mind and why. Maybe you were interested in the form of news presentation? Or maybe the attached video material drew attention? There are many different ways to communicate something, and there are certain rules that make it easier to reach the reader.
Gerūta Griniūtė is well known to audiences as the presenter and juror of the Lithuanian national pre-selection of the Eurovision Song Contest, as well from her work on numerous shows on the Lithuanian National Radio and Television ("Dainų Dainelė", "Nacionalinė Ekspedicija") and LRT KLASIKA ("Mūza ant Peties", "Bazinis Akordas").
She graduated from the National M. K. Čiurlionis School of Arts as a pianist and received her Bachelor of Piano Performance at the Lithuanian Academy for Music and Theater. She went on to obtain a masters degree in analytic journalism at the Vilnius University. In addition to her TV and radio credits she is also an acclaimed presenter at most important Lithuanian festivals and competitions.
By Dovaldė Butėnaitė
Roundtable Discussion "Birth of the Recording: From Preparation to Release"
Aleksandra Kerienė is an ECHO-award, OPUS Klassik and four-time GRAMMY nominated record producer. She started her activities in 2012 as the owner of the acoustic sound recording company "Baltic Mobile Recordings". In 2017 she founded National Philharmonic digital concert hall.
She is a record producer with numerous releases by major labels such as ECM, SONY Classical, Ondine, Deutsche Grammophon, Accentus Music, and others. She is working with artists like Lucas Debargue, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, Sol Gabetta, Gidon Kremer, Daniil Trifonov, Kremerata Baltica, Gewandhausorchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, among many others. Her broacasts and recordings can be heard on MEZZO, ARTE, ARD, RADIO FRANCE, BBC, MEDICI, etc.
Roundtable discussions - a new KPM format, moderated by our students. This time our guest is a four-time Grammy nominee, record producer Aleksandra Kerienė. She will receive no more, no less than 25 questions, as each active participant will be asked to take the initiative to their hands for one topic. Mrs. Kerienė will be happy to share her experience and thoughts in this relaxed event on the last day of the academy.
- It would seem that the golden age of recordings is long gone and a well-recorded "Moonlight Sonata" will no longer surprise anyone. What do you think is the role of recording for a 21st century artist?
I would disagree with the statement that the golden age of recording is gone. We witness the development of technology every day. The recordings in our age have gained even more possibilities and expressions. The modern artist has a limitless choice and range of possibilities for making a recording. Therefore, the most important task is to discover your identity, both on stage and in recorded sound.
- Many young pianists come to our academy before their first studio recording. Could you give some tips on what to consider when preparing for your first studio recording to make it go as smoothly as possible?
One of the most important factors in the success of a recording is its careful planning and adherence to a pre-agreed plan. The second, no less important aspect is confidence in the record producer you have chosen. In the process, you are both co-creators, so communication and trust in all stages of the project are utmost important, as is the shared vision of the outcome.
By Jānis Porietis
PIANIST & PEDAGOGUE
"Piano Competition: The Golden Competitor"
- Can a young aspiring pianist nowadays build a profile without participating at piano competitions?
A young and aspiring pianist can most definitely build a profile without participating in piano competitions, if she or he understands the underlying principles of the performing artist's profession. The benefit of participating in a piano competition is - someone else has gathered together in a single place a significant number of the building blocks beneficial to the aforementioned profile-building: the elders of the profession, agents, PR specialists, media attention, young musicians' contemporaries (peers), financial support, coveted engagements, etc. The potential risk, of course, is - in a competition situation someone else and not the young artist controls these powerful elements.
- What, in your opinion, are the usual mistakes young people do choosing and preparing for piano competitions?
Perhaps, the most common misconception is - "if I practice for countless hours in a lonely room, if I play faster or slower, louder or quieter than my peers, if my repertoire is more complex - I shall surely be successful". It can be helpful to initially approach any competition as an event that bears no relation to the actual piano playing, as an artistic project that has to be built from scratch. A broader perspective then enables the young artists to take into account the numerous other elements that in a competition situation often surprisingly turn out to be more important than their pianistic prowess. The mastery of piano performance should, of course, be a given, and most young pianists nowadays have more than sufficient performance skills to play well. However, piano competitions require more than that, and, incidentally, so does the pianist's profession.
Toms Ostrovskis obtained his Master of Music in Performance and an Advanced Instrumental Studies Diploma at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. In 2007 he joined the Piano Department of Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music.
From 2008 to 2017 he was a member of the J. Vitols International Piano Competition organizing committee. From 2019 to 2022 he chaired the Riga Jurmala Music Festival education program, organizing international masterclasses of such renowned musicians as Mischa Maisky, Yefim Bronfman, András Schiff and Renée Fleming, amongst others. Since 2014 he serves as a director and jury member of the national "Talents of Inese Galante" competition. His other international jury appearances include work at the Stasys Vainiūnas Competition in Lithuania, the Valletta Competition in Malta, and others.
By Chris Day
MACDARA Ó SEIREADÁIN
CLARINETIST & PERFORMANCE COACH
"Psychology as a Backbone to a Stage Career"
Personal Coaching Sessions
Macdara Ó Seireadáin is a native of Dublin and a First Class Honours graduate of both the HMTM Hannover and the Royal Irish Academy of Music. In 2019, after holding orchestral positions in Austria and Germany, he joined the RTÉ Concert Orchestra as principal clarinet. In addition to this he is a member of the Dublin-based Ficino Ensemble with whom he has recorded several acclaimed CDs.
A multiple prizewinner, in 2010 Ó Seireadáin won the inaugural Irish Freemasons Young Musician of the Year competition and has performed throughout Europe, the USA, Canada, China, Chile, and India. Alongside a busy performing career, he lectures on performance psychology and has coached musicians worldwide to orchestral audition and competition successes.
- Psychological comfort on stage is one of the core ingredients of a good performance. Is it something that largely depends on each character separately, or is it a learnable skill everyone can master?
Comfort on stage is comprised of many different factors and is built upon the stable foundations of good preparation, mock performances, and being attuned to how your body reacts under stress. Everybody has their own individual approach and character, however, there are a number of techniques that can be learned to help better achieve mental quiet and focus when performing. Just like learning any new skill, it takes time to master in the practice room before bringing this onto the stage, but it is a skill that everyone can master if deliberately worked upon.
- Aside from your lecture, you offer personal psychological coaching for the students of our academy. You don‘t issue any schedule for it - students are expected to make the first step and ask you for an appointment. Is that a part of the learning process?
It is a conscious decision as advice is most effective when it is sought out. By leaving the first step up to the students, it ensures that any work begins only when they are comfortable. Starting with an open mindset is an important factor in improving performance skills, and coaching is at its most effective when the student is ready. With this approach, our work together begins when the right mindset is present.
By Jonas Šopa
VIKTORAS ORESTAS VAGUSEVIČIUS
"Improvisation: First Steps into Freedom"
- Improvisation was the essence of music until early 20th century, and now it seems to be pushed to the sidelines. Why do you think we should return to improvisation in today's world?
Improving your musical improvisation skills or just simply improvising for fun has many benefits. One of the most important of them is probably the direct encounter with the development of musical thought, the aesthetics of different musical styles. Practicing improvisation also develops a certain sense of freedom and organicness in other musical activities. It provokes music to be heard from different perspectives. The ability to improvise and create musical rhetorical figures also helps to understand the creative solutions of composers and can inspire new elements of interpretation.
- It is no secret that improvisation is closely related to the understanding of musical logic. How did you develop this skill and what "extracurricular" activities would you recommend to young performers who want to improve it?
In my improvisational practice, I delve into extensive methodological literature and set clear goals on how I want to sound or what I want to say with my playing. But the most important things are practice and analysis. First of all, it means listening to a lot of different music and trying to reproduce it, recognizing various elements of harmonic language and compositional subtleties. And also - just let yourself play with music - do it without rules and initial beliefs, alone or with friends, with your own and others' instruments or objects. Only through practice can you refine your ways of expression and feel true creative freedom.
Viktoras Orestas Vagusevičius is a multifaceted pianist known for his versatility and creativity. He graduated both from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater and the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, majoring in piano and contemporary music.
Performances that provoke the audience with improvisation and contemporary musical elements play a vital role in his musical career. He works closely with theater groups, contemporary musicians and various audiovisual project developers. He is also a passionate silent film accompanist, serving as the director of music at the early film festival "Pirmoji Banga".
"The Digital Me: Identity vs. Image of an Academic Musician"
Neringa Valuntonytė is known for her recitals filled with conceptual and visual components, in which she pays great attention to human emotions and experiences. The prize winner of the International M.K. Čiurlionis piano competition, she appeared in various concert halls in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, and the Baltic States with solo and chamber music programs.
She completed her master's degree at the HMTM Hannover and is currently a PhD candidate at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater. Her artistic research, "Creating an Academic Performer's Persona: From Stage to Personal Brand," seeks to connect Neringa's two passions: stage performance and management.
- Can you imagine a young, aspiring stage person not using social media at all? Could it be considered an inevitable career attribute in today's world of music?
Starting to consciously and independently develop your career is a very complex process, but doing so without the help of social media would make it even more difficult. Dissemination of information, communication with existing and future followers in social media creates a medium for self-expression for every performer, including those who do not yet have a busy concert life. And this is a significant beginning for the artist trying to integrate into modern cultural life.
- In your opinion, what are the three most important "ingredients" of a successful stage personality?
After several years of research in this area, I came to the conclusion that the main components of the performer's identity are his or her character traits, sociocultural identity, and professional abilities. Each of these personality "components" are vital for the performer to make an emotional connection with the listener.
By Kęstutis Pleita
DANCER & DANCE INSTRUCTOR
Street Style Choreo Lesson
- How can classical pianists profit from a choreo dance lesson?
Dancing choreo is impossible without being relaxed. If the person manages to relax, flexibility and fun will follow. In my lesson I would love to give everyone a feeling of a better understanding of their own body. We will invoke our flexibility and musicality, exploring the R&B music with our bodies and relaxing as a group.
- Some people, especially the shy ones, might feel afraid to take the first step towards dancing. What advice can you give, helping them overcome their anxiety and uncomfortable feelings?
Leaving your comfort zone is never pleasant. But like everywhere it is a necessary step towards learning and progress. I invite everyone to see this as an opportunity to learn new and fun things, new techniques, and forget your daily troubles for a short while. There is no pressure, no tension, just the group energy and emotional exchange happening through the body language. Making the first steps shouldn't involve "bad" or "good", just "unwind".
Žieda Žilakauskaitė is known through her numerous appearances in various TV projects and her collaboration with Lithuanian pop stars Donny Montell, Angelou, and Paulina Paukštaitytė, to name but a few. Having started her training at the age of three, she has won over fifteen awards solo and with various dance crews.
A passionate dancer and choreographer, she is teaching various groups at the acclaimed ANT Dance Studio. She is constantly visiting dance camps around Europe, including the Shay Program (Netherlands), HDI Dance Camp (United Kingdom), and Fair Play Dance Camp (Poland) to name but a few.
By Cara Tooming