Osvaldas Balakauskas (b. 1937) graduated from Vilnius Pedagogical University in 1961 and later studied composition with Boris Lyatoshinsky at the Kiev Conservatory between 1964-1969. Since 1972, he has lived in Vilnius. He was a member of the “Sajudis” council from 1998-1992, a Lithuanian independence movement.
Balakauskas served as the first Lithuanian ambassador for Spain, Portugal, and France, after 50 years of foreign rule from 1992 to 1994, and resided in Paris.
He was also the head of the composition department at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre and was later honored with the Lithuanian National Prize in 1996 and the Third Order of the Grand Duke of Lithuania Gediminas in 1998. His music has been regularly performed at various festivals in Lithuania and abroad: Moscow Stars (1982), Warsaw Autumn (1987, 1993, 1994, 1997, 2000, 2002), the Third International Festival of Leningrad (1998), the Berlin Biennale, the Zagreb Biennale (1989), the Berlin Festival Week (Berliner Festwochen), Prague Spring (1991), ISCM World Music Days (1993, Warsaw), Schleswig Holstein Festival (1992), Europa Musicale (1993, Munich), Wratislavia Cantans (1995), New Haven International Festival of Arts and Ideas (1996), Vale of Glamorgan (1996), Maerz Musik (2003, Berlin), ISCM World Music Days (2008, Vilnius)
In 1997, the Krakow Academy of Music published a collection of essays “Wkregu Muzyki litewskiej” (“Within the Circle of Lithuanian Music”), which included the first part of Balakauskas’ four-part study, “Dodecatonic. The Modal and Harmonic Possibilities of an Equal-Tempered 12 Tone Scale”. The same part was also published in Vilnius by Baltos Lankos’ “Osvaldas Balakauskas. Music and Thoughts” in 2000. The book itself is a comprehensive collection of articles and essays about the composer’s personality, music and literature, plus interviews. To date, Balakauskas’ discography includes five portrait CDs containing his music.
(Photo: Dmitry Matveyev)