31 March: LNOBT Welcomes WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne


Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre is continuing its beautiful traditions of inviting some of today’s most famous orchestras to give performances in Vilnius – this time we are presenting a unique concert of WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, an orchestra that, under the guidance of the very talented conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste, has won the hearts of both the critics and the public all over the world. The orchestra shall be joined on stage by the mesmerizing piano virtuoso Anna Vinnitskaya.

Programme of the concert in Vilnius:

1. S. Rachmaninoff, Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor
Soloist Anna Vinnitskaya (piano)

2. J. Brahms, Symphony No. 2

Conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste


Existing more than 65 years, the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne established as one of the most important broadcast orchestras of Europe. Its stylistic variety is the specific characteristic of the WDR Symphony Orchestra.

Numerous first performances of commissioned works made a contribution to history of music and to the support of contemporary music, as did the cooperation with extraordinary composers of our time. Luciano Berio, Hans Werner Henze, Mauricio Kagel, Krzysztof Penderecki, Igor Strawinskij, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Bernd Alois Zimmermann are some of the composers, who performed their works with WDR Symphony Orchestra. Also the great number of excellent productions of contemporary music bear witness to the exceptional position of WDR Symphony Orchestra.

Its competence in historical informed performance practice in baroque and classical music are due to continuous cooperation with conductors like Ton Koopman, Christopher Hogwood or Reinhard Goebel.

Since 2010/2011 season, Jukka-Pekka Saraste is Chief Conductor of WDR Symphony Orchestra. Conductor and orchestra already have worked together successfully for a long time. In November 2009 their performance of the 9th Symphony of Gustav Mahler in Cologne was acclaimed as “announcement of a great era” in press reports. Also the awards from Deutsche Schallplattenkritik and the magazine Gramophone, which Orchestra and Conductor received for the publication of that concert on CD, approve this. More common CD releases of works by, Johannes Brahms, Igor Stravinskij and Arnold Schoenberg and invitations to major festivals and concert halls in Europe documenting the artistic success of the collaboration.

ukka-Pekka Saraste established himself as a leading conductor of his generation at a remarkably early age, and has gone on to fulfill the promise that was implied by becoming one of the world's leading conductors, demonstrating considerable musical depth and integrity. He is particularly known for his interpretations of Mozart and of 20th-century classics, particularly new Finnish music. Having brought the music of Scandinavian composers such as Kaija Saariaho, Magnus Lindberg and Esa-Pekka Salonen to greater prominence in the active concert repertoire, Saraste also has a strong affinity with the sound and style of late romantic music.

Anna Vinnitskaya was born in Novorossiysk, Russia. Her parents are both pianists. She received her first piano lessons from her mother at the age of six and played her first public orchestral concert when she was eight years old. After studies at the Sergei Rachmaninoff Conservatory in Rostov-on-Don with Sergey Osipenko, Anna Vinnitskaya began studying with Evgeni Koroliov at the Hamburg University of Music and Theater in 2002. She was appointed professor of piano there herself in 2009.

Anna Vinnitskaya has won several international piano competitions and received numerous awards, most notably first prize at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels (2007) and the Leonard Bernstein Award of the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival (2008).