Liudas Mockūnas – saxes, cls
Vilnius Jazz festival is about to experience a second wave of explosion: the Lithuanian master Liudas Mockūnas will dive into the free jazz element with two equally brilliant, uncompromising personalities – the American Tom Blancarte, one of the world’s most unique double bass voices, and the Danish percussion minimalist Christian Windfeld. Both partners are known to the Lithuanian audience from Improdimensija concerts.
Liudas Mockūnas is one of the most distinctive saxophonists not only in Lithuania, but also in Europe and around the world. This musician amazes audiences with his impressive playing technique and unique musical ideas. On stage, he shines with the brightest colours. From his saxophone or clarinet, not only do pianissimos as fragile as the first snowflakes pour out, but also fortissimos that sweep away everything like a typhoon.
The brass virtuoso from Panevėžys has been firmly in the ranks of the world’s improvised and jazz music elite for many years. He is undoubtedly the most dynamic Lithuanian composer, constantly migrating through the festivals and clubs on different continents, sharing the stage with such giants as Agusti Fernandez, Marc Ducret, William Hooker, Samuel Blaser, Ryoji Hojito, Otomo Yoshihide, Kazutoki Umezu, Akira Sakata, Peter Evans, Nate Wooley, Barry Guy and others.
The musician collaborates with Pierre Dørge and his New Jungle Orchestra, Jacob Anderskov, Nils Davidsen, Mats Eilertsen, Mikko Innanen, Mark Solborg, Jonas Westergaard, Jakob Riis, Jaak Sooäär, Hugo Carvalhais, Vladimir Tarasov, Vladimir Chekasin, Arkady Gotesman, and many other intriguing jazz musicians. He has taken part in programmes of Andrew Hill’s Jazz Par octet, Ibrahim Electric, British TrioVD, Free Tallinn Trio, Raymond Strid and Frank Gratkowski among other jazz innovators. He is constantly discovering new creative partners in Scandinavia, Baltic States, Poland, Russia, Portugal and other countries.
A graduate of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (LAMT) and the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen instantly took active stance on the European improvised music scene. In 2004, he and Stefan Pasborg received the Danish Music Award for Toxikum’s album. The saxophonist is a prize winner of various competitions in Lithuania, Latvia and France, a recipient of Vilnius Jazz and Birštonas Jazz prizes for contribution to Lithuanian jazz, as well as “Golden Disc” awarded by the Lithuanian Musicians’ Union.
In 2011, he was decorated with a “Golden Cross of the Stage” (award for achievements in the Lithuanian theatre field) for the best music for theatre production. Moreover, Mockūnas has written music for Copenhagen Art Ensemble, Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra and Chordos String Quartet. In addition, he is famed as an expert of contemporary academic music. His repertoire includes works by such composers as Bronius Kutavičius, Anatolijus Šenderovas, Arvydas Malcys, Vyacheslav Ganelin, Dietrich Eichmann, Vykintas Baltakas, Raminta Šerkšnytė, Giedrius Puskunigis, Osvaldas Balakauskas and Vytautas Germanavičius. He is a member of contemporary music ensembles Gaida and Konvoj Art. In addition, he is an associate of the Lithuanian Ensemble Network.
As a soloist he has performed with Kralovy Hradec Symphony Orchestra, the Lithuanian State and Lithuanian National symphony orchestras as well as St. Christopher and Klaipėda chamber orchestras, and Chordos String Quartet. With various formations he has toured in Europe, the USA, China, Japan and Israel.
In 2021, Mockūnas crowned his work in the fields of contemporary and classical music with the monumental album Polylogues. His discography amounts to around 70 albums. In 2008, the record label NoBusiness Records, founded together with two associates – Valerij Anosov, owner of the music firm Thelonious, and jazz aficionado Danas Mikailionis, was awarded the Vilnius Jazz 2020 prize for contributions to Lithuanian Jazz.
Mockūnas is an associate professor at the Jazz Department of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, generator (with composer Vykintas Baltakas) of the Contemporary Music/Improvised Music Master Program. The students of this program have established themselves as the vanguard of the Improdimensija movement and have become a true driving force of Vilnius’ underground life.
Tom Blancarte, originally from Texas, has been active in experimental and improvised music field for more than two decades. Whether playing solo or with the electro-acoustic Peter Evans Ensemble, the free jazz noise trio Totem, the improv post-punk quartet Sweet Banditry or the post-apocalyptic duo with his wife Louise Dam Eckardt Jensen, Blancarte is constantly pushing the art of improvisation to new extremes. In his hands, the double bass becomes a bulldozer, sweeping away any preconceptions of the instrument’s canon.
With various experimental bands, the bassist has toured extensively in Europe, Japan and North America, playing both in underground venues and at major international festivals.
He studied jazz at the University of North Texas and the Copenhagen Conservatory of Rhythmic Music. After more than a decade of intensive work in New York, he now lives and works in Denmark, where he founded the record label Marsken Records, and reacquainted with his first instrument, the euphonium.
He continues to tour internationally with a variety of groups, including the Copenhagen-based quartet Tactical Maybe and the New York-based quartet Ephemeris. He also teaches at various Danish conservatories and Aalborg University.
Christian Windfeld is a Danish improviser, percussionist and composer, a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus, Denmark.
The musician started his international career at the age of 19 touring all over Europe, North America and Australia. He lived in Stockholm, New York and Berlin.
Windfeld has a minimalist but highly expressive approach to the percussive instruments often reducing his set-up to focus on just one instrument aiming to transcend the general perception of its capabilities. As a composer he has created installations, taken part in art exhibitions and has been featured in cross media publications with writers and visual artists.
Windfeld is featured as a leader on more than 30 recordings and has recorded two solo albums (2014, 2016).
He has received a number of honours and grants most notably the prestigious “Young Elite” fellowship awarded to him by the Danish Arts Council in 2015.
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