Unusual instrument integrated into choral music concert
January 1, 2010

Dainava, a Chicago-based Lithuanian chorale, has prepared a special musical program featuring an authentic Lithuanian instrument, a reed pipe called a “birbyne,” in a unique program combining folk instrument and choral music traditions.

The performance will be held on Saturday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m. at the Lemont High School Performing Arts Center, 800 Porter St., Lemont, IL.

“To my knowledge, it is the first attempt to fuse reed-pipe and choral music traditions in Lithuania’s music history,” said Darius Polikaitis, Dainava’s music director. The birbyne will be played by Darius Klisys, who has performed at Carnegie Hall.

Its “sound is very similar to the human voice,” said Polikaitis. “Sometimes listening to the reedpipe seems like nature spirits are talking to you.”

Through the centuries, shepherds playing the birbyne would lead their herds to pastures, and the birbyne has been played at traditional Lithuanian weddings and gatherings. Made from tree bark, animal horn, straws, and goose quill, the instrument may sound like a flute, clarinet, saxophone, or oboe, depending on the way it is played. Its unique sound is seldom heard outside Lithuania.

Dainava will perform a new work for choir and birbyne written especially for this performance by prominent Lithuanian composer Nijole Sinkeviciute, and also will perform works by two chorale members, composers Martynas Matutis and Kestutis Daugirdas. The chorale also will perform works by Renaissance and Baroque composers.

For information, call (773) 575-3440 or e-mail info@dainava.us.

—Gabija Steponenaite

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