Pianist Vytas J. Baksys received his DMA and MM degrees in performance at S.U.N.Y. @ Stony Brook. He earned his Bachelor’s degree with Distinction from the New England Conservatory of Music where he was also elected Phi Kappa Lambda. Other awards include Outstanding College Student of America, Extraordinary Performing Arts Student of America, and a nomination for inclusion in a recent edition of the International Who’s Who In Music. His principal teachers were Angel Ramon Rivera, Victor Rosenbaum, and Gilbert Kalish. He is also an alumnus of the Kinhaven Music School (Weston, VT) and Eastern Music Festival (Greensboro, NC).
Among his many accomplishments, Vytas lists extensive performances of various styles and genres throughout North America, Europe and Asia, having worked with many well known artists, conductors and composers, among them: Arthur Fiedler, Seiji Ozawa, Bernard Haitink, Sir Roger Norrington, Leonard Bernstein, Sir Simon Rattle, Leonard Rose, Gary Karr, Yo-Yo Ma, Mstislav Rostropovich, Gil Shaham, Joseph Silverstein, Elliott Carter, Henri Dutilleux, Olivier Messiaen, film composer John Williams, Stanislaw Skrowicesky, Oliver Knussen, Rafael Frübeck de Burgos, Dawn Upshaw, Chris Brubeck, John Harbison, James Levine, and, more recently, Peter Schickele and Andris Nelsons.
Since 1989, Vytas has served as faculty pianist working with the Fellowship Conducting Program at Tanglewood. He has similarly collaborated for five years with the Conducting Program at Yale School of Music. An active freelance collaborator, Vytas performs a variety of recitals, competitions, and other functions. He has worked with a number of area choirs including the Boston Secession, Arlington Street Church Choir, Somerville Community Chorus, and New England Classical Singers; made occasional appearances with the contemporary ensemble Boston Musica Viva; performed with various groups such as the Concord Chamber Music Society, Boston Artists Ensemble, South Coast Chamber Music Society, Pentamerus, West Stockbridge Chamber Players, and the Boston Symphony Chamber Players among others; is on the faculty at The Rivers School Conservatory; and is a frequent keyboardist with the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops Orchestras. In recent years, this kind of scheduling has resulted in an annual output averaging more than 150 performances of 100 different programs.
He has participated in recordings for RCA, CRI, Golden Crest, Sony Classical, Deutsche Grammophon, Warner Brothers, Nonsuch, Reference Recordings, Terezin Music Foundation, and BSO Classics labels. Being of Lithuanian descent, he has made frequent appearances at ethnic cultural centers including the Baltic American Society.
As a composer, Vytas’s works include several short piano pieces, a piano concerto, a piano quintet, two microtonal works, and several transcriptions of works by Beethoven, Braggiotti, Foote, Glinka, Pärt, Schönberg, Scheidt, Sibelius, and others, most recently Heitor Villa-Lobos and Stravinsky.
On the lighter side, Vytas considers himself a connoisseur of music humor. While in the Long Island area, he served eight seasons as co-founder/director of the Stony Brook Anti-Musica, an ensemble dedicated to promoting concert spoofs. His diverse compositional output includes such works as Oratorio: Ground Hog, Variations On A Surprise, The “Big Oh!” Medley, Chaconne Grandissimo, and the Underture to The Dentist of Milan, all inspired by such practitioners as Gerard Hoffnung, Victor Borge, and Peter Schickele.
Vytas Baksys a genius at figuring out and understanding the most complex things the composer has written, especially mathematical, and has a fantastic and encyclopedic musical memory. He is the rock the ensemble can lean on.