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AIDIJA Chamber Choir was founded in 1989 in Vilnius at the National M. K. Čiurlionis School of Art on an initiative of Romualdas Gražinis. Admired for its idiosyncratic voice and performing manner the youthful collective regularly presents new programs featuring works by Lithuanian and foreign composers. Annually, AIDIJA gives over 30 concerts. The choir’s repertoire spans from Gregorian chant to the 21st century compositions: choral miniatures of various styles, large-scale vocal works, vocal-instrumental compositions and works for choir a cappella. AIDIJA pays special attention to Lithuanian musical culture, has premiered a number of works by Lithuanian composers.
The choir was the first to perform complex works of Lithuanian composers: B. Kutavičius Stabat Mater (1995) and Pronounce Word – Lips Turn Into Ice (1996), O. Balakauskas Requiem in Memoriam Stasys Lozoraitis (1996), A. Martinaitis A Song to the Sister Sun (1996), O. Narbutaitė Centones meae urbi (1997), F. Bajoras Under this roof (2005).
Other Lithuanian composers’ premieres performed by AIDIJA: R. Mažulis Stigma (2009), M. Baranauskas Templum Dei estis (2010) D. Zakaras Viburnum in the Night (2011), N. Sinkevičiūtė Whistle, Lithuanian Suite (2011), T. Brazys The Nine motets (2011), Folk songs arranged by J. Karnavičius (2011), A. Remesa, K. Vasiliauskaitė and V. Bartulis sacral works for the concert Advent Pages (2012), V. Bartulis My Mann’s Dune (2013), V. Bartulis Credo (2013), G. Samsonas Mass for choir and orchestra to mark the 600th anniversary of Kaunas Cathedral Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul (2013, Kaunas, Vilnius), A. Martinaitis Oration on the 600th Anniversary of Baptism of the Samogitian People (2013), R. Kabelis The rain of roses (2014), G. Samsonas Mass for Motherland (2016), O. Balakauskas Break of day (2016), D. Čemerytė Letters: Venice – Nida (2017).
From the choir’s substantial repertoire of classical masterpieces, one can pick out specialities such as the Requiems of W. A. Mozart, F. Biber and M. Durufle, A. Vivaldi’s Gloria, H. Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, J. Haydn’s Missa brevis St. Joannis de Deo, G. F. Handel’s Trauerhymne, J. S. Bach cantatas and other vocal works.
The choir has given concerts in major festivals in Lithuania, including the Vilnius Festival, the Thomas Mann Festival, the Pažaislis Festival, the Banchetto Musicale early music festival, and the Gaida and Jauna Muzika contemporary music festivals. AIDIJA performed in most European countries, China, Sakartvelo and Israel, appeared in major music festivals and other cultural events, such as Festival Pax et bonum per musicam in Wroclaw (2011, 2016), Contemporary Music Festival Music Forum Hradec Králové in the Czech Republic (2012), International Music Gardens Festival in Warsaw (2013), 6th Tbilisi International Choral Music Festival (2016), Festival Moravian Autumn in Brno (2017), Culture Festival Lithuanian Story in Tel Aviv (2019), International Festival Stiftsmusikfest in Stuttgart (2019), Without Distance: Lithuanian Culture in Bavaria (2021), presented Lithuanian choral music in Brønshøj Water Tower of Copenhagen (2021).
In 1992 the choir won a laureate award in the International Choir Competition in Great Britain, in 1994 in a similar competition in Wales (Llangollen) got the best youth choir award. In 1992, the choir was appointed the Prize for old music promotion by the magazine “Krantai“, in 1993 the choir received a second S. Šimkus Prize for the contemporary Lithuanian choral music promotion. In 2006, AIDIJA won the Lithuanian International Choir Competition, also the Grand Prize at the Cantate Domino Sacred Music Competition in Kaunas. In 2007, the Lithuanian Folk Culture Center presented the choir with the “Golden Bird” and the nomination “The Brightest Star of Lithuania“. In 2017, AIDIJA took part in the 15th International Chamber Choir Competition in Marktoberdorf (Germany) and was evaluated with “very good performance at international level”. In 2018, the choir with great success participated in the 3rd International Baltic Sea Choir Competition in Jurmala (Latvia).
AIDIJA is proud to have performed together with Ennio Morricone, a recipient of the Academy Award (2008), as well as to have sung for Pope Francis at the Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights on the occasion of his visit to Lithuania (2018).
AIDIJA has collaborated with outstanding Lithuanian and foreign performers, ensembles and orchestras, such as the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra of Polish Radio, Brno Philharmonic Choir, the Frankfurt Singakademie Choir, the Frankfurt Symphony, the Wiesbaden Symphony, the Belarus Symphony, the Israel Chamber, the Lithuanian National Symphony, the Lithuanian State Symphony, the Lithuanian Chamber and the St. Christopher Chamber orchestras, Lithuanian National Opera choir and orchestra, the Musica Humana and the Ex Tempore ensembles, the Vilnius String Quartet, the Čiurlionis String Quartet, the Art Brass Quartet and others.
AIDIJA works in close collaboration with the Church Heritage Museum. Around 30 concerts were held there in 2011–2022. Most of them – the music-educational programs, which included lectures on the nobility of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and concerts, presenting a wealth of church music. Since 2014, a lecture-concert project Musica Sacra: 14th–21st Century Church Music Masterpieces has been successfully carried out. It introduces the listeners with the Gregorian chant and early polyphony, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical and Romantic composers, as well as contemporary sacred music, written by Lithuanian and foreign composers.
AIDIJA is a long-time participant of the International Thomas Mann Festival in Nida. Since the initial festival in 1996, the choir has performed a number of premieres of works by Lithuanian composers and organized workshops with young conductors from Lithuania and abroad.
The choir has made various recordings for the Lithuanian Radio and Television, soundtracks for documentaries and feature films (dir. A. Stonys, A. Juzėnas, etc.), theatre productions (dir. V. Masalskis, G. Varnas, etc.), recorded around 20 CDs, including the acclaimed recording of B. Kutavičius’ The Last Pagan Rites, released in 2001 on the Finnish Ondine label. In 2019, in cooperation with the Music Information Centre Lithuania, AIDIJA made records of B. Kutavičius’ works From the Jatvingian Stone and The Last Pagan Rites for the new vinyl. In the autumn of the same year, the choir recorded Lithuanian folk songs, harmonized by M. K. Čiurlionis.