Mėta Pelegrimaitė – fl
Improdimensija Orchestra made its debut at the 2020 Vilnius Jazz Festival, captivating the audience with its excitement, inventiveness and unusual sounds. Soon after, it was heard online by the London Jazz Festival audience.
The orchestra, formed on the initiative of improvised music masters Liudas Mockūnas and Arnas Mikalkėnas, involves alumni and the then students of the Contemporary Music/Improvised Music Master’s Program at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (LAMT) as well as their associates.
The aforementioned program was developed by Mockūnas and composer Vykintas Baltakas in 2016. They invited their close friend Mikalkėnas to join the lecturers team. Before long, the new program injected fresh air in the LAMT and became an integral part of Improdimensija – a creative platform for improvisation, experimentation and education.
The platform has its origins in the free jazz and improvised music concert series Improdimensija, the idea of which was conceived in 2011 in Kaunas, when pianist, percussionist and composer Mikalkėnas and the current head of the LRT “Klasika” program, Julijus Grickevičius, together with their friends, started to organize musical projects in various venues of the provisional capital.
In 2017, Improdimensija turned a new page in its history. With the addition of Mockūnas, a saxophonist and composer well-known not only in Europe but also beyond its borders, Eladijus Kirijanovas, a consultant in finance and business management, and Arūnas Zujus, the owner and sound director of the recording studio “MAMA Studios”, the Improdimensija concerts started to be held in this studio in Vilnius.
During the four years of the Improdimensija series existence in the capital city, not only the Lithuanian jazz and improvised music coryphées Vyacheslav Ganelin, Vladimir Chekasin, Vladimir Tarasov, Dalius Naujokaitis, Juozas Milašius, Arkady Gotesman, Tomas Kutavičius and many others have performed on its stage, but also the world stars of the genre: Mats Gustafsson, Barry Guy, Nate Wooley, Peter Evans, John Butcher, Jim Black, Drew Gress, Agusti Fernandez, Frank Gratkowski and others.
Almost all improvisers from abroad also give masterclasses to young Lithuanian jazzmen. Improdimensija encourages and fosters intergenerational dialogue and collegial collaboration. Musicians of the younger generation share the Improdimensija stage with the Lithuanian and international luminaries. The young improvisers also introduce their compositions here.
The Improdimensija movement prompted the rise of improvised music in Lithuania, bringing the students of the LAMT Contemporary Music/Improvised Music Master’s Program, who have become an integral part of Vilnius’ underground life, to the vanguard.
They are active not only in the Improdimensija Orchestra, but also in the ensembles they have formed – Fleitų Trio, Laivo Troupe, Džiazlaif, Kanalizacija, Dj. Extended ft. K. Jušinskas, etc.
In previous Vilnius Jazz festivals, we have heard the Improdimensija Orchestra performing two programmes of original music by their leaders Mockūnas and Mikalkėnas. This time the ensembles of musicians from this orchestra will present their aesthetic approach to improvisation. Their performances will culminate in a work by the entire Improdimensija Orchestra, put together with French guitar virtuoso and composer Marc Ducret.
Marc Ducret is among today’s most original improvisers. When on stage he makes an impression of a man-orchestra. Empowered by acoustic and electric guitars the self-taught virtuoso does not restrict himself to a particular style, plays distinctive and unexpected music.
The guitarist started his professional career by playing in folk groups, rock and dance bands, accompanying singers and singing himself. This experience was his ‘Alma Mater’.
In 1986, Ducret joined the French Orchestre National de Jazz, and also started frequenting domestic and international festival scene. He soon gained recognition – was awarded Django Reinghardt Prize in 1987, in 1988 and 1989 Jazz Hot magazine voted him to be the best French jazz guitarist, and in 1989 he was hailed as SACEM (The Society for the Advancement of Continuing Education for Ministry) star.
Since 1991, the collaboration with American saxophonist Tim Berne brought recognition overseas for Ducret. He has since worked in a number of formations led by Berne, including Caos Totale, Bloodcount, Science Friction and Big Satan Trio (featuring drummer Tom Rainey). Ducret is regularly playing in the motherland of jazz.
He has collaborated with David Sanborn, Django Bates, Joey Baron, David Friedmann, Michel Portal, Joachim Kühn, Franco Ambrosetti, Didier Lockwood, Miroslav Vitous, Enrico Rava, Adam Nussbaum and Michel Godard, as well as AKA Moon, Louis Sclavis and Dominique Pifarely Acoustic Quartet, Andy Emler Quintet, Francois Jeanneau Pandemonium orchestra, Copenhagen Art Ensemble, Ensemble Cairn, François Corneloup Quartet, Bobby Previte Quartet among many other notables.
The guitarist’s artistic horizons are extremely wide. In the past he formed and led Seven Songs Tentet, exploring the music of the ‘60s with a very personal touch. He has performed solo in opera production, worked with the performers of traditional Chinese music, and recorded several soundtracks. Currently, he also collaborates with Ictus Contemporary Music Ensemble. Lady M is one of his projects after Shakespeare involving vocalists and instrumental ensemble. In 2011–2014, inspired by Vladimir Nabokov’s writings, Ducret recorded five Tower albums (Ayler Records) with several ensembles. Ducret is also involved in multimedia art projects.
The guitarist combines his touring with giving master classes, which he has led in France, Italy, Belgium, Portugal, Finland, USA, Scandinavia and Baltic States.
Ducret has recorded over 20 albums as a leader.
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