The city of Palanga has just hosted the 'Winds Bring Changes 2017' international conference, where the Lithuanian brass band community welcomed renowned experts to help raise the musical profile of the brass banding genre in the country and hopefully beyond.
Nine new works
A special feature of the event organised by Public Establishment 'Palanga Orchestra' and the Lithuanian Brass Band Association, and partly funded by the Lithuanian Culture Council and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania, was the presentation and performance of nine new brass band compositions by Lithuanian composers at Palanga Concert Hall.
'Summer Music' by Rimantas Giedraitis, 'The Legend About Dracula' (arr. Tadas Sileika) by Titas Petrikis, 'Lithuanian Dances' by Kazys Daugela, 'Sodauto' by Arturas Novikas (arr. Tadas Sileika), 'Witches Hill' by Vaida Striaupaite-Beinariene, 'Wizard and Whistle' by Arturas Mikoliunas, 'Replica' by Linas Rupslaukis, 'Caricature' by Tadas Sileika and 'Gold Bullion' by Jonas Jurkunas were performed by Brass Band Aukstyn, Brass Band of the Lithuanian Academy of Music & Theater, and the Sunday Brass Band.
Evaluation and presentation
The works were also evaluated by an international panel of composers, including Philip Sparke, Tom Brevik, Paul Hindmarsh and conference moderator Jacob Dijkstra, who were joined by around 50 brass band conductors, players and composers who certainly enjoyed the sharing of their knowledge and expertise.
Paul Hindmarsh presented a lecture entitled, 'The Evolution and Development of Brass Band Repertoire', whilst Philip Sparke gave an invaluable presentation on an introduction to instrumentation, scoring philosophy and the range of colours, timbres and effects available to the brass band composer. Tom Brevik discussed the use of folksongs, traditional tunes and works in the repertoire.
Paul Hindmarsh, Chairman of the European Brass Band Association Music Commission, later said: "I was delighted to have been invited to take part in such an important conference here in Palanga.
Exploring the work of talented composers eager to write for brass bands is such a creative way of ensuring that the genre continues to evolve."
He added: "I enjoyed sharing some of the classic British test pieces and showing the different ways these composers enriched the sound of the brass band medium. I look forward to hearing much more from composers in Lithuania."
In response one delegate told 4BR: "This was such a wonderful opportunity to work with acknowledged experts in this field, and was a huge boost to everyone involved in brass banding in the country."
At the end of the conference, the panel of experts selected five works that they felt could be categorised in competition terms, with 'Replica', 'Caricature' and 'Witches Hill' deemed to be of European Challenge Section level.
'The Legend About Dracula' and 'Lithuanian Dances' were felt to be appropriate for use at European Youth Section level.
I returned from Lithuania convinced that this conference will act as a catalyst to help speed the interest in brass bands in the countryComposer, Philip Sparke
This was highly encouraging according to Tom Brevik who said: "Although Lithuanian brass band composition is still in its early stages, this conference will further develop skill sets and insight. This was a wonderfully encouraging event."
Meanwhile, Philip Sparke, was also highly encouraged by what he had heard. "I returned from Lithuania convinced that this conference will act as a catalyst to help speed the interest in brass bands in the country," he said.
"It was great to see so many talented composers willing to write for the medium, and I think a seed has now been planted that will quickly flourish. I will follow events in this lovely part of the world with added interest."