35th Vilnius Jazz Festival. 13-16 October, 2022



Vyacheslav Ganelin - keyb
Petras Vyšniauskas - saxes
Deniss Pashkevich - saxes
Arkady Gotesman - dr, perc

The four long-time stage partners have been meeting in various jazz projects, but this time they make a Lithuanian debut as a quartet. The new formation could be called a merger between two trios – Ganelin and Gotesman play in both but with different saxophonists.

The “Alliance” trio featuring Vyšniauskas formed quarter of a century ago. Even more seasoned is Gotesman and Vyšniauskas’ “PetrArka” duo as is their partnership with Ganelin.

Pashevich is also very well known in Lithuania from his appearances in Lithuanian jazz festivals. Last year Jersika Records, a Latvian jazz, experimental and improvised music label, released Ganelin, Gotesman and Pashevich’s (GPG Trio) album Variations, which received four-star review in one of the most prestigious magazines Downbeat.

The jazz greats get together when jazz keyboardist and composer Vyacheslav Ganelin comes back to Lithuania. Since 1987, Maestro has resided in Israel. Hitherto, he served as a Music Director of the Russian Drama Theatre of Lithuania for almost 20 years (1968–1984).

During those years he wrote an array of academic works, music for film and theatre; was awarded a number of prizes.

Ganelin composed soundtracks for more than 60 films and music for more than 40 theatre productions as well as three operas, several ballets, 6 musicals, concertos for various instruments. To this day, he regularly premieres his large-scale compositions in Lithuania.

Ganelin jokes, that he is able to make a composition from anything – even mistakes. The American Ear Magazine once wrote: “Freud in psychology is the same as Ganelin in Soviet jazz”.

However, jazz community best knows Maestro as the leader of a legendary GTC Trio (Vyacheslav Ganelin, Vladimir Tarasov and Vladimir Chekasin). This ensemble was active in 1971–1986 and was seminal to the formation of the Lithuanian jazz school. The GTC trio’s traditions are still pursued by today’s jazz musicians in Vilnius.

The GTC trio was the first collective in the Soviet Union to gain popularity in Europe due to its authentic vocabulary, rather than imitation of American jazz. It has earned a reputation of one of the best non-American jazz groups of all times.

Trio has toured the entire Old Continent, the USA, South America, Canada and Cuba. Producer Leo Feigin established Leo Records in order to promote the GTC trio. To this day the label released 19 albums by the GTC trio and its leader.

The GTC trio’s activity was suspended when in 1987 Ganelin immigrated to Israel. In 2003, the musicians met on stage again at the Frankfurt Book Fair, gave several concerts afterwards. In 2017, the GTC trio was awarded the Lithuanian National Culture and Art Prize for its contribution to jazz.

In 2014, Ganelin was honoured with Vilnius Jazz Award for contributions to Lithuanian jazz. In 2010, the Lithuanian Musicians’ Union endowed him with Golden Disc. In addition, Maestro was decorated with the Knight’s Cross of the Vytautas Magnus Order for contributions to Lithuanian culture (2003) and was awarded Landau Prize for contributions to Jewish jazz (2005).

Ganelin is successfully pursuing his career in Israel. In 1988, he joined the Israeli Composers’ League, started working at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance where he became a professor and the head of Jazz Department.

Maestro has initiated many free jazz and multi media projects, organised Jazz Globus international festival in Israel.

The list of his stage partners is topped with bassist Victor Fonarov, drummer Misha Markovitch, vocalist Esti Kenan-Ofri, oud virtuoso Gershon Waiserfirer, saxophonist Ned Rothenberg, double bassist Vladimir Volkov. He tours internationally with Ganelin Trio Priority, which involves saxophonist Petras Vyšniauskas and German drummer Klaus Kugel.

Petras Vyšniauskas is one of the founders of the professional saxophone school in Lithuania. He is the most titled jazz musician in Lithuania.

The musician’s trophies include the Lithuanian National Culture and Art Prize, the Government of the Republic of Lithuania Art Prize, the 5th Class Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, the Word Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Gold Medal, the Baltic Assembly Art Prize and many other awards.

Vyšniauskas is a musician of exceptional versatility. His imagination is inexhaustible: the saxophonist has his say in the most diverse jazz styles and music genres. He is at home not only in jazz, but also academic music – from baroque compositions to contemporary opuses dedicated to him; in addition, he has composed music for many theatre productions and feature films. His discography includes over 60 albums.

The musician has collaborated with a great number of celebrated jazz, classical and folk musicians including Prague Philharmonic and New York St Luke symphony orchestras, Paris Radio and New York Metropolitan Opera choirs, folk singer Veronika Povilionienė and birbynė player Antanas Smolskus, jazz guitarist Fred Frith, pianists Bob Stenson and Karl Berger, saxophonists Steve Lacy and Charlie Mariano, double bassists Kent Carter and Vladimir Volkov, trumpeters Tomasz Stańko and Herb Robertson, drummers Han Bennink and Klaus Kugel.

According to Vyšniauskas, jazz is, first of all, the way to communicate: the realm where one makes the most striking discoveries, thus the saxophonist never puts his music down on paper. “My music is in my head”, said the saxophonist.

With various collectives Vyšniauskas appeared in international festivals in the USA, the UK, Australia, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Finland, Poland, Russia and other countries. He took part in music programs of five EXPOs: Hanover (Germany), Aichi (Japan), Zaragoza (Spain), Shanghai (China) and Yeosu (South Korea).

Vyšniauskas’ disciples – Jan Maksimovich, Liutauras Janušaitis, Kęstutis Vaiginis, Remigijus Rančys, Dovydas Stalmokas, Simonas Šipavičius and others – represent today’s elite of younger jazz generation.

His native town of Plungė holds the National Petras Vyšniauskas Saxophone Festival.

Deniss Pashkevich is one of the most renowned Latvian musicians. Not only he is a saxophonist, flutist and composer, but also a producer of music events and TV shows, publisher, organiser of educational projects and founder of jazz clubs.

He admits that John Coltrane is his greatest influence. Pashkevich has collaborated with a number of celebrated musicians from Baltic and Scandinavian countries, the USA, UK, Japan, Italy, Germany and Russia such as Brian Melvin, Rio Kawasaky, David Lyttle, Ben Dowling, Ted Curson, Karl Martin Almqvist, Villu Veski, Jukka Eskola, David Goloshchekin and David Kikoski. The saxophonist has also appeared as a soloist with the Latvian Chamber Orchestra.

Pashkevich took part in major Baltic and Scandinavian jazz forums, as well as performed in Hong Kong, Poland, Germany, Israel, Belgium and Russia. He is the owner of a private jazz school, founder of the concert agency and jazz record labels ZePirats, Denissjazz, Pashkevich Management Group and Riga Room Records, and an Art Director of “Riga Winds”.

His own jazz albums regularly enjoy top ratings in Latvian charts. In 2017, his album Yours Faithfully won Latvian Grammy as the best Blues & Jazz album.

Arkady Gotesman, one of the most resourceful and versatile Lithuanian percussionists and composers, is also enjoying repute as a poet, theatre director, pedagogue, producer, founder of Vilnius Klezmer Orchestra and artistic director of two music festivals.

He composes, records and performs music for theatre, writes scenarios for musical performances and installations, organises projects with dancers, writers, actors and visual artists, appears in personal shows.

Gotesman has a gift to discover new venues for jazz in periphery and enrich his projects with the participation of the world’s jazz luminaries. He has collaborated with exponents of various trends including Roland Dahinden, Vladimir Volkov, Vyacheslav Gaivoronsky, Arkady Shilkloper, Julian Joseph, John Zorn, Jack Siron, Frank London, Anthony Coleman, Charles Gayle, Tim Daisy, Joey Baron, Barry Guy, Dominic Duval, Dave Douglas, Albert Beger, Martin Küchen, Mark Tokar, Warren Smith, Andrew Lamb.

In Lithuania the percussionist has regularly been working with Vyacheslav Ganelin, Petras Vyšniauskas, Vladimir Tarasov, Liudas Mockūnas, Jan Maksimovich, Dainius Pulauskas, Tomas Kutavičius, Mindaugas Vadoklis, Saulius Petreikis and many other Lithuanian jazz masters. He also collaborates with Vilnius Jazz Orchestra and ACCOsax Freeminded trio, and other formations.

Gotesman is an enthusiast of silent movies, as a taper with various international musicians he promulgates the genre in Lithuania.

The percussionist plays not only jazz, but also contemporary academic music. He has performed world premieres of works by Osvaldas Balakauskas, Anatolijus Šenderovas, Zita Bružaitė and Šarūnas Nakas among others. Moreover, he is the organiser of the Klezmer Music Festival in Vilnius, the artistic director of Šeduva Percussion Festival and the founder of Theatrum solius quadri.

In 2018, Gotesman was honoured with Birštonas Jazz international festival Grand Prix, and in 2015 – was presented with Vilnius Jazz Award for contributions to Lithuanian jazz. 

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