Liudas Mockūnas - saxes, cls;
The Saga Quartet is a group of four young but already seasoned musicians/composers.
The Quartet’s current line-up was fixed in autumn 2007. For two years prior to that Andrė Pabarčiūtė was the group’s singer and pianist. She can be heard on Quartet’s first CD “Saga” (Semplice) featuring original compositions which received great critical acclaim.
The Saga Quartet’s music is an uncompromising mix of jazz, rock, contemporary academic and improvised music.
The Quartet performed in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Germany, Russia and the Ukraine.
Saxophonist and clarinettist Liudas Mockūnas graduated from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, and the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen.
L.Mockūnas can deservedly be called a “Lithuanian jazz ambassador”. He regularly takes part in international jazz festivals, plays in many international collectives.
He is a co-leader of “Toxikum”, “Megaphone”, “Red Planet”, “Traffic Quartet”, “Idiot Quartet”, “Saga” and “Revolver”, a member of “Copenhagen Art Ensemble”, collaborates with Pierre Dorge and his “New Jungle Orchestra”.
L.Mockūnas works with Stefan Pasborg, Jacob Anderskov, Jakob Riis, Nils Davidsen, Marc Ducret, Vladimir Chekasin, Vladimir Tarasov, Arkady Gotesman, Mats Gustaffsson, Mats Eilertsen, Mark Solborg, Dietrich Eichmann, Jeff Arnal, Jaak Sooaar, and “Chordos” string quartet.
He has also performed with Scott Colley, Nasheet Waits, Chris Speed, Mike Svoboda, and Edwin Wieringa, played in “Swinging Europe” and “La Villet Jazz Festival” international big bands.
As a co-leader he has recorded six albums. Quintet “Toxikum”, co-led with Danish drummer S.Pasborg, recorded an album with M.Ducret and John Tchicai, which won Danish Grammy award “Jazz Discovery of the Year 2004”.
As a sideman L.Mockūnas has recorded seven CD’s including Andrew Hill’s Jazz Par Octet’s “The Day the World Stood Still” (Stunt Records).
L.Mockūnas is famed not only as an exponent of improvised music and avant-garde jazz, but also as an expert of contemporary academic music. The saxophonist is a member of contemporary music ensemble “Gaida”, has performed with the Lithuanian State and Lithuanian National symphony orchestras, as well as St.Christopher Chamber Orchestra.
With various collectives he has toured in Europe, the USA and China.
He is a prize winner of competitions in Lithuania, Latvia and France, a recipient of “Vilnius Jazz” and “Birstonas” prizes for contribution to Lithuanian jazz, and “Mūzų malūnas” (the Lithuanian Daily “Lietuvos Rytas” cultural supplement) prize.
Currently, he is on a jazz faculty of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, where he also leads the Big Band.
Dmitrij Golovanov graduated from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre in 2006. However, he has been active on Lithuanian jazz scene for more than a decade already.
The keyboardist started his artistic career in “Jazz Pictures” at the B.Dvarionas School of Music. As a member of this and other groups he has repeatedly appeared in “Junior Jazz”, “Birštonas Jazz”, “Vilnius jazz” and “Kaunas Jazz” festivals and other events.
In 2004-2005, D.Golovanov studied at the Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy College of Music and Theatre in Leipzig.
D.Golovanov was the prize winner at the National Young Jazz Performers’ Competition (2001); as a member of “Jazz Pictures” he earned second prize at the Young Jazz Performers’ Competition in Vilnius (2002); was awarded third prize at the International Piano Improvisation Competition in Vilnius (2006); received Grand Prix at the “Vilnius Jazz Young Power” competition (2007).
The musician has collaborated with Lithuanian jazz grands, brothers Briliai (Russia), Annie Kierulff and Anders Andersson (Denmark). Recently, the pianist has worked with collectives of saxophonists Jan Maksimovičius and L.Mockūnas, groups “Riot”, “Magic Mushrooms” and lindihop ensemble. He is a member of Herbie Kopf Quartet and international group “Beat Freisens Spelunkenorchester”.
With various formations he performed in Finland, Belarus, Greece and Germany.
Vytis Nivinskas graduated from Vilnius Conservatoire, earned Bachelor Degree from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, and later continued his education at the Carl Nielsen Academy of Music in Denmark and DePaul University in Chicago (USA).
The double bassist has played jazz, rock, academic and contemporary music in Lithuania and abroad for more than a decade. He has collaborated with bands led by V.Chekasin, Olegas Molokojedovas and Artūras Anusauskas among others, appeared in jazz festivals and other events in Denmark, Germany, the USA, Sweden, Moldova and Russia.
In “Vilnius Jazz 2000”, he made his debut as a leader with “Coltrane Impressions” project.
While living in the USA (2001-2005) the double bassist played with many musicians from Chicago and New York City including Nobu Stowe, Bill Brimfield, Kenny Wollesen, Dalius Naujokaitis and “The Trapeze Unit”. Together with saxophonist Rimvydas Paulikas he co-founded the “Baltic Asteroids” band in Chicago.
Upon his return to Lithuania, V.Nivinskas has been performing with “Saga”, “Riot” and other groups. He has collaborated with Petras Vyšniauskas, A.Gotesman, V.Tarasov, Vytautas Mikeliūnas, Linas Rimša, Arūnas Šlaustas, A. Pabarčiūtė, modern dancer Lora Juodkaitė, pop group “Pieno lazeriai”, and actors.
Since 2005, V.Nivinskas has taught at the Vilnius College and the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre.
Marijus Aleksa made his jazz debut at the age thirteen appearing with Olegas Molokojedovas in “Vilnius Jazz 1999”.
M.Aleksa was hailed the best drummer at the National Young Jazz Musicians Competition in 2001, won second prize with “Jazz Pictures” at the Junior Jazz Group Competition in Vilnius in 2002.
In 2004, M.Aleks garnered first prize at the Youth Jazz Competition “Jazz Fountain”, and the following year he claimed Grand Prix at the First Young Talent Competition “Jazz Hope”. In 2007, he won first prize at the Baltic States’ Drummers Competition.
M.Aleksa appeared in almost all jazz festivals in Lithuania, performed in Norway, Poland, Austria and the USA.
He has collaborated with a number of Lithuanian jazz masters including Vladimir Chekasin, Vladimir Tarasov, Vytautas Labutis, Petras Vyšniauskas, Dainius Pulauskas, as well as Swiss bassist Herbie Kopf. The drummer also plays soul and hip hop music.
Presently, he studies at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre.