33rd Vilnius Jazz Festival. 15-18 October, 2020

Gailė Griciūtė - Juozas Milašius


Gailė Griciūtė - prepared piano
Juozas Milašius - g

This is the first and unplanned meeting of these distinct artists on stage. Gailė Griciūtė was invited to create a personal project for the festival. She had chosen sound artist Augustė Vickunaitė as her partner, but the latter left the project a week ago due to objective circumstances. Juozas Milašius, an uncompromising avant-garde player and free jazz guitarist, came in to save the situation.

Composer, sound artist and performer Gailė Griciūtė studied classical piano at the J. Sibelius Academy in Helsinki (Finland) and composition at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. She also studied contemporary art at the Staedelschule Academy of Fine Arts in Frankfurt (Germany).

While still a student of classical piano, she became interested in improvisation, started participating in contemporary art projects, and since 2014 has increasingly appeared in free improvisation and non-traditional genre projects on alternative art scenes in Finland, Lithuania and the Kingdom of Bhutan.

Inspired by contemporary art studies in Frankfurt, Griciūtė began creating sound installations. Her works were displayed in the Botanical Garden of Vilnius University, A. Žmuidzinavičius Creations and Collections Museum in Kaunas and the Kaunas Picture Gallery. Together with the artist Thuy-Han Nguyen-Chi, Gailė participated in exhibitions at The Art Institute of Chicago, the Atletika gallery in Lithuania, and also displayed her work Portikus at the gallery in Frankfurt.

Today, Griciūtė takes active part on the contemporary art scene both as a composer and a performer. She has appeared at the Tectonics festival in Tel Aviv (Israel), the Labor Sonor festival in Berlin, the Counterflows festival in the United Kingdom (with sound artist Antanas Dombrovskis), the Estonia festival at the Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius, and the Sound Art festival in Kaliningrad, took part in Artūras Bumšteinas’ baroque theatre noise machine performance Bad Weather at the Krakow’s Unsound festival in Warsaw.

Griciūtė’s organ improvisations can be heard in the composer, sound artist and visual artist Bumšteinas’ project Organ Archipelago, created for the Australian National Radio. Involved in this project, Griciūtė tested more than 20 organs of various conditions throughout Lithuania. Her and Bumšteinas’ improvisations have boosted Vladimir Tarasov and his Lithuanian Art Orchestra’s project Tapestry at the Vilnius Mama Jazz Festival.

List of her other memorable performances with jazz composers includes a project with Tarasov, Daniel Lercher and Michael Bruckner at the Composers’ House in Vilnius, a tour with Mold (Dalius Naujokaitis – drums, Dovydas Stalmokas – saxophones, Aaron Keane – bass guitar, Gailė Griciūtė prepared piano), concerts with Arnas Mikalkėnas (drums) and Yumiko Yoshimoto (guitar). The latter trio also released an album.
Griciūtė participated in the Peronas Jazz festival and several projects of the Improdimensija series. Her works have been showcased at the Jauna muzika, Druskomanija and New Opera Action (NOA) festivals.

Recently, Gailė has been creating performances with sculptor Viktorija Damerell. The tandem formed Eye Gymnastics collective.

Juozas Milašius has been ranked among the most ingenious and radical Lithuanian guitarists, jazz musicians, composers and initiators of various performances. For almost three decades the conceptualist and experimenter has investigated possibilities of the guitar in his solo performances and diverse projects involving renowned improvisers, electronic music composers and sound artists.

The guitarist stormed the Lithuanian jazz scene in 1986 taking aback the audiences with avalanches of sound and ideas. He made his debut with Petras Vyšniauskas Quartet.

By the end of the ‘80s J. Milašius discovered the platform for his artistic experiments in a duo with drummer Dalius Naujokaitis, currently residing and working in the USA. Yet another laboratory for his discoveries was The Lithuanian Young Composers Orchestra, which he formed with likeminded colleagues. The aforementioned projects bore a resemblance to performance.

His bent for sound experiments prompted J. Milašius to form guitar ensembles Gitarmanija (1989) and Auksinės gitaros (1998); it is showcased in his solo albums j.m.eilė (2002) and Slow (2009), as well as in P (2016), his collaborative album with Darius Čiuta, and other projects, documented in albums Kab_Lys (2015), Sun Sun Up (2016), Upė (2018) and Electric & Acoustic (2019).

The guitarist has composed soundtracks for It Snows in Heaven Too (1994) and Journey into the Night (2003), with colleagues directed a theatre production based on Kōbō Abe’s novel Woman in the Dunes, in which he also acted.

An uncompromising musician J. Milašius collaborated with Vladimir Chekasin, Vytautas Labutis and Vladimir Tarasov’s ensembles, as well as with Tomas Kutavičius, Skirmantas Sasnauskas, Jonas Mekas, Darius Čiūta and other performers of experimental electronic music.

He has also appeared in international formations with Jim Meneses, Martin Schutz, Hans Koch, Fredy Studer, Sainkho Namchilak, Ned Rothenberg, Lindsay Cooper, Jimmy Owens, Dror Feiler, Luc Houtkamp, Kouhei Matsunaga, Sabir Mateen and Saadet Turkoz among others.

J. Milašius has performed with various ensembles at many jazz ,and contemporary music and art festivals in Russia, Italy, Poland, Estonia, Germany, Switzerland, Norway and Austria. 

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Gailė Griciūtė - Juozas Milašius


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