Baltic States

The Baltic states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania became independent in 1919 and again in 1991 after half a century of Soviet rule.

Estonia is proud of its tradition of massive choral singing. The well known composers Eduard Tubin and Arvo Pärt are Estonians, as are the famous conductors Jansons and Nelsons.

Latvia has a similar choral tradition as Estonia. The magnificent capital of Riga was frequently visited by foreign musicians. In the country, a surprising link to Beethoven can be found. The best known contemporary composer is Pēteris Vasks, not present in this web site.

Lithuania was for a long time closely linked to Poland, hence the presence of the Polish national composer Moniuszko in Vilnius. The violin virtuoso Jasha Heifetz was born here. But the most remarkable Lithuanian person is the double-talented painter and composer Čiurlionis.

ITEMNUMBER

REGION OR CITY, CITY OR SECTOR

SHORTINFO

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Tallinn

special

Q opera, ballet, concerts

ee1.1002

Tallinn

special

J music & theatre

ee1.1003

Tallinn

I song festivals

ee1.1004

Tallinn

N H

ee1.1005

Tallinn

Hortus Musicus I

ee1.1101

Tartu

Q - C Tubin

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Tartu

F O Tubin

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Kallaste Torila

C Tubin°

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Alatskivi

special

J Tubin

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Paide

Pärt°

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Rakvere

Pärt

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Suure-Jaani

G Kapp

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Haapsalu

C Tchaikovsky

lv1.1001

Riga

special

Q opera

lv1.1002

Riga

H

lv1.1004

Riga

O Wagner a.o.

lv1.1006

Riga

N - Vītols

lv1.1201

Gaujīena

G Vītols

lv1.1301

Talsi

B O Amenda (Beethoven)

lv1.1302

Talsi

E Amenda

lt1.1001

Vilnius

H

lt1.1003

Vilnius

Q

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Vilnius

H

lt1.1006

Vilnius

O Heifetz

lt1.1008

Vilnius

special

J music, theatre, movies

lt1.1010

Vilnius

C Moniuszko - Cui°

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Vilnius

F O Moniuszko

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Vilnius

C Zappa

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Vilnius

special

G Čiurlionis

lt1.1016

Vilnius

P Čiurlionis, Sokołowski

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Vilnius

F Heifetz°

lt1.1101

Žasliai

Godowski°

lt1.1201

Kaunas

E L'vov

lt1.1204

Kaunas

H

lt1.1205

Kaunas

Q - C Petrauskas

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Kaunas

J Petrauskas

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Kaunas

special

J folk instruments

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Kaunas

special

J Čiurlionis

lt1.1301

Plungė

M - Čiurlionis

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Druskininkai

special

G Čiurlionis

ee1.1001

Q opera, ballet, concerts

Estonia Puiestee 4, Tallinn

Rahvusooper / Eesti Kontsert

The two winged building from 1913, after a design of the Finnish architects Lindgren and Lönn, is a combination of a concert hall and a theatre for opera and ballet. It was then the largest building of Tallinn. During the 1st world war it was used as a military hospital and in 1919 the parliament of the new independent state held its meetings here. After destruction during the war, it was rebuilt in a more Soviet-classicistic style (architect A. Kotli). A chamber hall was added in 2003.

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J music & theatre

Müürivahe 12, Tallinn

Eesti Teatri- ja Muusikamuuseum

The museum for theatre and music was established in 1924 by the composer Peeter Süda. The collection includes theatre photos, costumes, musical instruments, notes and autographs.

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I song festivals

Narva maantee 95, Tallinn

Lauluväljak

The tradition of community singing is ingrained in the Estonian soul. The grounds for singing festivals were laid out in 1960 and designed to hold 20.000 singers, but in 1988 over 100.000 people assembled to demonstrate for independency from the Soviet Union, the ‘singing revolution’.

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N H

Tatari 13, Tallinn

Eesti Muusika- ja Teatriakademia

The first ‘Higher Music School’ was established in 1919. The present Estonian Music- and Theatre Academy offers a wide range of educational programs, including a department of musicology. The new building is from 1995; a large concert hall was added in 2017.

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Hortus Musicus I

Lühike Jalg 10, Tallinn

Hortus Musicus

Hortus Musicus, established in 1972 by Andres Mustonen, was the first ensemble within de Soviet Union that specialized on ancient music: from Gregorian plainchant to the 18th century on contemporary instruments. Also new music was written for the group, e.g. Summa by Arvo Pärt. There are plenty recordings available. Its headquarters are in a picturesque corner of the medieval town.

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Q - C Tubin

Vanemuise tänav 6, Tartu

Vanemuine Teater

Opera theatre, built in 1967, 700 seats. In front of it is a monument of the composer Eduard Tubin (1950).

There are two other buildings: a small theatre from 1914, diagonally across the big one, and a ‘harbour theatre’ for large events (Soola 5b).

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F O Tubin

K. P. Hermanni 6, Tartu

House of the composer Eduard Tubin (1905-1982). He lived here from 1930 until his flight to Sweden in 1944. Tubin is at his best in his ten symphonies (1931-73), which became world-wide known by the agency of the Estonian conductor Neeme Järvi. He wrote also a Balalaika Concerto.

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C Tubin°

Park, Kallaste Torila

Eduard Tubin was born in Kalaste in 1905 and is honored with a monument.

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J Tubin

Lossi 10, Alatskivi

Loss (castle) with Tubin Museum

This fairy castle from the 1880s houses a well supplied Tubin museum.

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Pärt°

Väike-Aia tänav, Paide

'Music garden'

The composer Arvo Pärt was born here in 1935. A ‘music garden’ was laid out on the location of his birthplace; there are two sculptures by Riku Kuld from 2016: Limestone Symhony and Source of Creation.

Pärt started his career as a modernist composer, but developed a strictly personal mixture of minimalist and medieval style with a strong religious character, called by himself tintinnabuli style, with which he gained an large multitude of admirers all over the world.

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Pärt

Pikk tänav 59, Rakvere

music school

Pärt spent his youth in Rakvere and was a pupil of the music school; a plaque commemorates it.

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G Kapp

Tallinna 30, Suure-Jaani

Heliloojäte Kappide Majamuuseum

Museum of the dynasty of musicians Kapp: the organists Joseph Kapp (1831-93) and his son Hans (1870-1938); another son was the composer Arthur (1878-1953); their sons Eugen (1908-96) and Villem (1913-64) were both composers too. The most prominent member of the family was Arthur, a pupil of Rimsky-Korsakov and regarded as the originator of Estonian art music.

The museum is in the house of Hans Kapp and displays many memorabilia. The family grave is in the village center at the parish church and close to the church school – the birthplace of Arthur.

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C Tchaikovsky

Africa Beach (opposite Kuursaal), Haapsalu

Tchaikovsky stayed in this seaside resort in 1867 and composed his opus 2, Souvenir de Hapsal. A melody of Estonian origin from his 6th Symphony has been noted down on a bench along the beach.

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Q opera

Aspasias bulvāris 3, Riga

Latvijas Nacionālā Opera un Balets

The opera theatre was built in 1860-63, and renovated in the 1950s and 1990s; 933seats. ‘New Hall’ in 2001, with 760 seats.

Richard Wagner worked at its predecessor from 1837 to ’39. His house, at present Brīvīdas bulvāris, was demolished. Wagner left Riga to escape creditors; the tempestuous boat trip inspired him for his opera Der fliegende Holländer.

The daughter of the composer Conradin Kreutzer was a singer here. Her father stayed with her from 1848 and died in 1849. His grave has been reported as extant but proved untraceable.

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H

Amatu iela 6, Riga

Lielā Gilde Koncertzale

The original medieval guildhall was rebuilt in neo-gothic style to become a concert hall.

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O Wagner a.o.

Vāgnera iela 4, Riga

Vāgnera zale

Former concert hall in which Wagner, Liszt, Berlioz, Clara Schumann and Anton Rubinstein appeared, as the plaque mentions.

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N - Vītols

K. Barona iela 1, Riga

Latvijas Muzikas Akademia

The Latvian Music Academy was established in 1919 by Jāzeps Vītols as conservatory and got its present name in 1991. The studio of Vītols has been kept in original state.

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lv1.1201

G Vītols

Anninas - Alūksas rajons, Gaujīena

Gauja manor

Jāzeps Vītols (1863-1948) is regarded as ‘the father of Latvian music’. He was a pupil of Rimsky-Korsakov and a teacher of Myaskovsky and Prokofiev. He himself composed the first Latvian symphony and many important choral works. His house from 1922 until his flight from the Soviet Union in 1944 was the former brewer’s house of the Gauja estate and is now a museum in his memory. He died in Lübeck, Germany.

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B O Amenda (Beethoven)

Baznīcas Laukums 4, Talsi

Lutheranian church

The theologian and violin player Karl Amenda was an intimate friend of Beethoven in 1798/99; the latter was grieved that Karl had to leave Vienna for the Latvian town of Talsi, becoming a pastor of the Lutheran church. In the church is a plaque. Beethoven dedicated his quartet op. 18/1 to him.

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E Amenda

Talsu Mācītājmuiža, Talsi

Grave of Karl Amenda at the vicarage lake. He died in 1836.

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lt1.1001

H

Ausros vartų gatvė 5, Vilnius

Nacionalinė filarmonia

Concert hall from 1902, at first also used for opera (e.g. in 1906 FP of Birutė by Petrauskas), now only for concerts. There are two halls, with resp. 678 an 200 seats.

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lt1.1003

Q

A. Vienuolio gatvė 1, Vilnius

Lietuvos Nacionalinis operas ir baleto teatras

The Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre came in 1948 from Kaunas, the preceding capital of the country, to Vilnius. The present building was erected in 1974 after the design of Nijole Bučiūtė. There are two halls, with resp. 929 and 250 seats.

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lt1.1004

H

Vilniaus gatvė 6, Vilnius

Vilnius Congress Concert Hall

This large concert hall with 967 seats belongs to the congress building from 1999.

This street has more ‘traces of music’ to offer.

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O Heifetz

Vilniaus gatvė 25, Vilnius

The great violin virtuoso Jascha Heifetz (1901-87) was born in Vilnius and was a pupil of the music school, then in this building. Six years old, he performed Mendelssohn’s Concerto and in 1910 he was admitted to the St. Petersburg conservatory. From 1911 he appeared in public concerts. He left Russia in 1917, being invited to the USA, and became an American citizen in 1925. Numerous recordings still show the breathtaking perfection of his playing.

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lt1.1008

J music, theatre, movies

Vilniaus gatvė 41, Vilnius

Lietuvos teatro, muzikos ir kino muziejus

The origins of this museum go back to a theatre museum in 1926. Collections about the other performing arts were added in 1992. The resulting collection on theatre, film and music history, including instruments, is housed since 2000 in the former Radvila palace, end 18th century.

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C Moniuszko - Cui°

Vilniaus gatvė 30, Vilnius

in front of Šv. Kotrynas church

The historical links between Lithuania and Poland go back to the middle-ages, while in the 19th century both belonged to Tsarist Russia. To bar Chopin, Stanisław Moniuszko (1819-72) can be considered the father of Polish music, being the composer of the first and still performed Polish opera, Halka (1847). He was born in Belorussia and died in Warsaw, but he lived and worked in Vilnius – then Wilno – from 1840 until 1858 as conductor, teacher and composer of vocal music. Worth a monument.

One of his pupils was the Russian composer César Cui, born here in 1835 and later member of the group, called ‘mighty handful’, with Balakirev, Borodin, Musorgsky and Rimsky-Korsakov.

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F O Moniuszko

Vokíečių gatvė 26, Vilnius

House of Moniuszko from 1840 to ’58; plaque.

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C Zappa

K. Kalinausko gatvė 1, Vilnius

The American musician Frank Zappa (1940-93) was an innovative and versatile performer and composer of rock, jazz, fusion and of modern experimental music, inspired by composers, such as Stravinsky, Stockhausen and above all Varèse. It is rather strange to find a bust of him in a town with which he had no connection at all; admirers had it erected after Zappa’s death by the sculptor K. Bogdinas, in front of a provoking wall painting – thus celebrating the regained freedom from Soviet repression and isolation?

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G Čiurlionis

Savičiaus gatvė 11, Vilnius

Čiurlionio Namai

House of the composer and painter Mikolajus Konstantinas Čiurlionis (1875-1911). Remarkably double talented, he studied music as well as painting in Warsaw and appeared in concert halls as well as on exhibitions. In 1907 he settled in Vilnius and in 1909 he married, but at the end of this year he fell in a profound depression and was taken into a psychiatric hospital in Poland, where he died in 1911. During his short life he created c 200 compositions and c 300 paintings. Many of his paintings, often symbolic, are titled Sonata, Prelude , Fuga and/or joined in series/cycles. 

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P Čiurlionis, Sokołowski

Rasų gatvė 32, Vilnius

Rasos kapines

Grave of Čiurlionis, died in 1911 in Pustelnik, Poland.

Grave of the Polish guitar virtuoso and composer Marek Sokołowski (1818-83), whose successful international career ended into oblivion and poverty.

Grave of the brothers Petrauskas, >1207.

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F Heifetz°

Maironio gatvė 27, Vilnius

Birthplace of Jascha Heifetz, >1006.

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Godowski°

Žasliai

Another outstanding virtuoso was the pianist and composer Leopold Godowski (1870-1938), born in Žasliai (then Szosli). He lived here only until 1884; he studied and worked in Western Europe and in the USA, where he finally settled in 1914. From his compositions, often paraphrases of existing music, the 53 studies after Chopin’s Etudes are notorious for the added difficulties. Unfortunately there are no tangible traces of him in Žasliai; probably they will be found in the USA.

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E L'vov

T. Masiulio gatvė 31, Kaunas

Pažaislio vienuolynas

In the garden of this interesting monastery, south-east from the city center of Kaunas, there is the grave of the violinist, choir conductor and composer Aleksey Fyodorovich L’vov (1798-1870). He composed the national anthem Bozhe, tsarya khrani [God, save the Tsar, 1833], choral and violin pieces and operas.

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H

L. Sapiegos gatvė 5, Kaunas

Kauno Valstybinė Filharmonija

Kaunas became the temporary capital of Lithuania in 1918, because Vilnius was occupied by the Polish who had more historical links with ‘Wilno’; this lasted until the 2nd World War.

The Filarmonia was completed in 1928 and shortly housed the Ministry of Justice and the Parliament. The concert hall has 530 seats; the architect was Edmundas Frykas.

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Q - C Petrauskas

Laisvės aléja 91, Kaunas

Kauno Valstybinis Muzikinis Teatras

The beautiful opera theatre was opened in 1892 and several times altered and renovated. It has 763 seats. Statues of musicians, incl. the Petrauskas brothers, are in the surrounding park.

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J Petrauskas

K. Petrausko gatvė 31, Kaunas

M. ir K. Petrauskų muziejus

Museum of Mikas & Kipras Petrauskas. The composer Mikas P. (1873-1937) was the creator of the first Lithuanian opera ─ or better: a play with music ─ Birutė (1906) and of operettas and light music. He spent many years in the USA. 

His brother Kipras (1885-1965) was a famous tenor singer with a great career in the Soviet Union and abroad, on tour with the great bass singer Shalyapin.

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J folk instruments

L. Zamenhofo gatvė 12, Kaunas

Lietuvos tantinės muzikos instrumentų muziejus

Museum of folk musical instruments, sound recordings and documents, based on the collection of the ethnomusicologist Povilas Stulga and established in 1983 in a complex of several historic buildings. There are over 7000 exhibits and a well supplied library.

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J Čiurlionis

Vlado Putvinskio gatvė 55, Kaunas

Čiurlionis dailės muziejus

The museum of Čiurlionis (>1015) offers a comprehensive overview/outline of his paintings and the possibility to listen to his compositions. A must for art and music lovers visiting Kaunas.

The Photos are: Pyramid sonate, Allegro and Angel, prelude, both from 1908/09.

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M - Čiurlionis

Parko gatvė 1, Plungė

Palais Mykolas Oginskis

The palace of Mykolas Oginskis (1873) housed a music academy until 1902. Čiurlionis studied here from 1889 until 1893, playing flute in the school orchestra. He is honored by a memorial room.

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G Čiurlionis

Čiurlionio gatvė 35, Druskininkai

M.K. Čiurlionis memorialininis muziejus

Čiurlionis’ birthplace in Varėna is not extant. From 1878 until ’89 the family lived in this nice wooden house near the Polish border; it is still in good condition and furnished with authentic and contemporary exhibits.

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