Vaiva Mažulytė, 2008 08 22 

V. and P.Bermans. Photo from

In brief: The 11th mastery courses of Valentina and Pavel Bermans for pianists and violinists organised by the 13th Pažaislis Music Festival took place in Klaipėda for two weeks. The tradition was started in 2000, when the fortepiano mastery lessons were headed by the globally famous pianist Lazar Berman. After his death in 2004, the courses are continued by his wife Valentina and son Pavelas.

All of them are members of the same family as well as recognised artists. V.Berman is the pupil of Moscow P.Chaikovski Conservatoire, teacher of fortepiano, who raised a number of prominent pianists. P.Berman is known as the head of Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra. Still, the real talent of the artist is revealed while he plays the violin.

Mastery courses, during which the young musicians learn secrets of playing an instrument from real professionals, give concerts, share impressions and experience, are becoming more and more popular every year. Still, one should regret that these events attract fewer and fewer listeners and constantly lack funds. The majority of teachers and organisers work only for the sake of idea.

V. and P. Bermans organised the camp of musicians for the ninth summer already. More than fifty pianists and violinists from Lithuania, Italy, Russia, the USA, South Korea, Kazakhstan lived and learned at E.Balsys Art Gymnasium. V. and P.Bermans worked for eight hours every day without any rest for two weeks. On August 9-17 eight concerts were organised, in which the best participants of the courses took part.

The 23-year-old Lithuanian pianist Edmundas Lapėnas, who is studying in Oslo at the moment, played well in two concerts – he performed S. Prokofyev’s sonata No. 2 and F.Chopin’s ballad No. 4. The 19-year-old Russian pianist Daria Marshinina, who is studying in Berlin, was exceptional by technical mastery – she played S.Prokofyev’s seventh sonata in two concerts.

The South Korean pianist living in Italy, the 25-year-old Sun Hee You participated in as many as three concerts with a different programme. She received the biggest attention by performing F.Chopin’s ballad No.1. The 24-year-old violinist from Russia Nadezda Palicyna was outstanding by very mature playing – she performed “Thinking” and Waltz scherzo by P.Tchaikovski. One more ambitious and perspective Russian performer was the 20-year-old Svetlana Konovalova, who played P.Chaikovski’s concert for the violin, first part, in the final concert.

It is only a pity that concerts did not attract much audience. Perhaps holidays are to blame for this or the unattractive place of concerts, lack of information? Surely, the situation was different, when participants of courses of years 2000-2005 played with an orchestra and when solo concerts took place in Palanga Tiškevičiai Palace. Recently, money became the general problem of culture.

Lithuanians are not inclined to invest into the present culture and to look ahead, when these young musicians will became famous masters. Every municipality wishes to support only own artists and events. Why Klaipėda municipality should support Kaunas Pažaislis Festival, and Kaunas municipality grant money for an event taking place in Klaipėda? Klaipėda is for Klaipėda residents, Kaunas – for Kaunas people, and who cares about the culture of Lithuania? Only single people.

Next year the time will come for the 10th jubilee mastery courses. Will they be organised and how? This depends on the organisers and V. and P.Bermans’ management skills to find supporters abroad. However, why should representatives of another country be concerned what is happening in Lithuania? Let us hope that at least somebody is concerned about the future of culture of the entire world or Europe.

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