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Gintaras Rinkevičius (born in 1960) is one of the most outstanding conductors in Lithuania, a National Prize winner and a professor at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. He is the founder of the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra, its artistic leader and chief conductor. 1996 to 2003 Rinkevičius was the artistic leader and chief conductor of the Latvian National Opera, and between 2007 and 2009 he was the chief guest conductor. Currently Rinkevičius is the chief conductor and artistic leader of the Novosibirsk Academic Symphony Orchestra.  A winner at three international competitions, he is invited to conduct outstanding orchestras and has had performances with world famous performers at the most prestigious concert halls.

The beginning of Rinkevičius’ world recognition was a very successful performance at the H. von Karajan International Competition for Conductors in 1985: he was the first Lithuanian conductor to win the highest recognition and to become a laureate. For his continuous creative work he was awarded the Order of Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, Fourth Class, in 1997. Rinkevičius received the Latvian Grand Music Prize in 1997 and 2000 for his contribution to country’s musical culture. He is also a winner of the Den KGL Norske Fortjenstorden (the Order of Merit of the Kingdom of Norway), the Ordem do Merito Comendador of Portugal, and the Latvian Order of Three Stars. In 1999, he was voted Latvian Conductor of the Year. Rinkevičius’ achievements were crowned by the highest award of the country, the Lithuanian National Prize, which he received 1994. In 2009, he was awarded the Grand Cross of the Commandore of the Order for Merits to Lithuania, with which President Valdas Adamkus decorated him on 16 February as part of the celebrations of Independence Day on 16 February. In May 2010, Maestro Rinkevičius received the prize Luminaries 2010 established by the Konstantinas Čiurlionis Foundation.

The list of the world’s best orchestras which Rinkevičius has conducted is impressive: the Berlin Symphoniker, the Staatskapelle Weimar, Frankfurt (Oder), Tampere, Tivoli in Copenhagen, the St Petersburg Philharmonic, the Russian National and the Russian State orchestras, the Odense Symphony and other orchestras. He has conducted at the most prestigious concert halls: the Kolner Philharmonic, the Salzburg Festspielhaus, London’s Royal Albert Hall, the Tampere Hall, the Champs Elysées in Paris, the Paleo della Musica in Barcelona, the Zaragoza Hall of Concerts, the Moscow Philharmonic, the Grand Hall of the Moscow State P. Tchaikovsky Conservatoire and elsewhere. Rinkevičius has given concerts all over Europe, in Taiwan and Hong Kong. He has conducted at many international festivals, among them the Nyon Festival in Switzerland, the Costa do Estoril Festival in Portugal, the Warsaw Autumn in Poland, the Europamusicale in Munich, and the Chichester Festival in Great Britain.

Such world famous musicians as V. Urmanavičiūtė-Urmana, S. Larinas, M. Salminen, B. Maisuradze, A.Antonenko, K. Ricciarelli, V. Tretyakov, Y. Bashmet, P. Donohoe, O. Kagan, M.Rostropovich, N. Gutman, A.Palei, A.Kniazev, G. Kremeris, D. Geringas, N.Lugansky, D.Macujev, R. Muraro and others have performed with the orchestra conducted by Rinkevičius. He has collaborated with the directors F. Zambello, M. Kimele, V. Kairiss, O. Koršunovas, D. Ibelhauptaitė and J. Vaitkus.

Operas and ballets occupy a special place in Rinkevičius’ activities. Since his first opera produced at the National Theatre of Hungary in 1987 (Mozart’s The Seraglio) he has prepared and conducted over twenty operas and ballets in various countries. He has conducted the ballets such as Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and The Nutcracker; Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and others. In 1988, Rinkevičius was in charge of the production of the opera Mažvydas by A. Žigaitytė-Nekrošienė at the Klaipėda Musical Theatre. In 1993, together with the company of the Amsterdam Musical Theatre, he staged a ballet after Mozart’s Requiem. In 1998, he debuted at the Gothenburg Opera with Bizet’s Carmen. In 2003, Rinkevičius arranged a concert version of Peter Heiss’ Drot og marsk (The King and the Marshal) at the Tivoli Concert Hall in Copenhagen. He has produced several operas at the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre. Since 2003 Rinkevičius has been invited to conduct operas at the Moscow Bolshoy (Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades, and Puccini’s La Boheme). From 1996 to 2003 Rinkevičius was invited to work as the leader and chief conductor of the Latvian National Opera (Verdi’s Nabucco, Aida and La traviata, R. Strauss’ Salome, Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and The Queen of Spades, Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth from the Mtsensk District, Mozart’s The Magic Flute and others). From 2002 to 2005 Rinkevičius worked as the chief conductor at the Malmo Opera (Verdi’s Aida, Otello and Rigoletto, Puccini’s La Boheme, Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and others). In 2006, Rinkevičius supervised the premiere of the production of Bizet’s Carmen at Scottish Opera.

Since the establishment of the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra in 1988 Rinkevičius has been its artistic director and chief conductor. The conductor has prepared most of his large repertoire of symphonic music with the orchestra. He has conducted all symphonies by Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, Shostakovich, and has led many premieres. Mahler’s Symphony No 8, Franck’s oratory Les Beatitudes and Philip Glass’ Itaipu were performed for the first time in Lithuania. The following works by Lithuanian composers were also premiered under his baton: A. Martinaitis’ oratorio Laiškas visiems tikintiesiems (Letter to the Congregation), F. Bajoras’ Dievo avinėlis (Agnus dei), J. Juzeliūnas’ Žaidimas (The Play) and others. The orchestra led by Rinkevičius has performed concert versions of over ten operas. After the production of a concert variant of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci at the Vilnius Concert Hall in 2003, the collaboration between Rinkevičius, the director Dalia Ibelhauptaitė and the costume designer Juozas Statkevičius has continued for several other productions: Puccini’s La Boheme (2006), Mozart’s The Magic Flute (2007), Massenet’s Werther (2008), Puccini Manon Lescaut (2012), W.A. Mozart Cosi fan tutte (2013). In 2008, the production of Pagliacci was renewed.
The beginning of 2009 saw the first production in Lithuania of Sondheim’s musical Sweeney Todd. 

Rinkevičius left the M. K. Čiurlionis School of Arts, the St Petersburg Conservatoire (1983) and the Moscow P. Tchaikovsky Conservatoire (1986). He is a winner of the Fifth Conductors’ Competition in Moscow (1983), a laureate of the international competition “In memoriam Janos Ferencsik” in Budapest (1986, a special prize for the interpretation of a part of Mozart’s The Magic Flute). Rinkevičius teaches at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre.

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