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Gintaras Sodeika

Gintaras Sodeika (*1961) graduated in 1986 from the Lithuanian Academy of Music, where he studied composition under Prof. Julius Juzeliūnas. A member of the artists’ group Green Leaf (Žalias lapas), he participated in their exhibitions. Sodeika initiated and curated the three happening festivals AN-88, AN-89, and NI-90. Since 1990 he has collaborated with the theatre director Oskaras Koršunovas and composed the music for nearly all his theatre productions. He is interested in ‘sound design’ for non-traditional environments and visual art presentations. Acknowledged as the season’s best theatre composer, he was awarded the St Christopher Prize in 1998; in 2006 the Gold Stage Cross, the highest award given for work in the theatre; and in 2014 the Lithuanian Composers’ Union ‘A Fresh Interpretation of Tradition’ prize for his Concert for piano and symphony orchestra. In 1999–2003 Sodeika was Chairman of the Lithuanian Composers’ Union, in 2000–2006 President of the Lithuanian Copyright Protection Association, in 2003–2008 Lithuanian Vice-Minister for Culture. He is presently Director of the Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center in Vilnius.

All of Sodeika’s creative output can be divided into three categories. The first would be his varied ‘unconventional’ works, such as happenings, sound installations, instrumental theatre works and so on, with the composer working in this field mainly in the 1980s. At the time (in 1988) it received a lot of attention with the reaction being varied and in some cases quite controversial. A result of the close and long-term collaboration between the theatre director Oskaras Koršunovas and the composer is the unique role of music in their theatre productions: there is always a lot of music in them; it significantly influences the dramatic flow and shapes it according to the inherent laws of musical forms. Another area of Sodeika’s work is ‘conventional’ chamber, vocal, choral and symphonic music. Here also there is no shortage of the ‘theatricality’ specific to the composer or of creative connections with contemporary pop culture. For example, Tone Ontology No. 2 for two pianos – an intriguing stylization of techno music for traditional instruments and for a traditional concert environment – is one of his works that is most often performed both at home and abroad. The direction of the composer’s concert work is represented by compositions connecting elements of minimalism and jazz (such as Tremors for ten instruments), where humour and playfulness often go in hand with a specific austere, severe sound – this is one of the paradoxes, characteristic, generally speaking, of all this composer’s music.