Šiauliai Chamber Orchestra "Camerata Solaris"

Šiauliai City has always had and still has plentiful of talented musicians. A great many of recognized Lithuanian violinists originated in Šiauliai. Suffice to recall E. Paulauskas, the owner of the most beautiful timbre in Lithuania and one of the most known violinists, K. Kalinauskaitė, a long-time artist of the Lithuanian Quartet, Z. Levickis, Concertmaster of the National Symphony Orchestra, and, of course, S. Sondeckis, the legendary founder of the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra.

Unbeknownst to them, such highly-esteemed violinists laid grounds for a sooner or later foundation of the violin art collective in Šiauliai. And so it happened in 1989 with the founding of the Šiauliai Chamber Orchestra (hereinafter – the ŠCO). By the by, chronologically it is the third such orchestra in Lithuania, preceded by the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra (1960) and the Kaunas Chamber Orchestra (1970).

The ŠCO founding was initiated by J. Lamauskas, after restructuring the former Šiauliai Folk Symphony Orchestra. The latter was founded by an educator and a composer L. Andriulis in post-war Lithuania in 1958, and existed until 1989.

The majority of artists of the new Orchestra had played in the antecedent Folk Symphony Orchestra. A greater part of them were the professors and teachers of the Šiauliai Saulius Sondeckis Gymnasium of Arts and the music schools of Šiauliai City and Region.

The first Director of the Orchestra was J. Lamauskas, a long-term Director of the Šiauliai Conservatoire (current Šiauliai Saulius Sondeckis Gymnasium of Arts) and the Honorary Citizen of Šiauliai. B. Traubas, an artist of the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra and the Naujalis Symphony Orchestra, served as Director from 2005. He was succeeded by Jonas Janulevičius, Conductor of Kaunas National Music Theatre, who led the Orchestra from 2007 till 2016. Ričardas Šumila, the talented conductor of the young generation has been Director of the Orchestra from 2016. The Orchestra listed the most famous Lithuanian conductors to stand in front of the conductor stand: J. Domarkas, S. Sondeckis, R. Šervenikas, M. Pitrėnas, V. Viržonis, J. Resnis from Latvia, and G. Mais from Germany.

The Orchestra collaborates with Lithuanian choirs along with outstanding Lithuanian and foreign soloists such as: vocalists G. Skėrytė, A. Krikščiūnaitė, E. Kaniava, A. Janutas, L. Gubaidulina, R. Vaicekauskaitė, V. Miškūnaitė, a percussionist P. Giunteris, a harper J. Daunytė, etc. The Orchestra is closely bound to German artists: a world-known violoncellist D. Geringas, a pianist I. Gabbe, a pianist and a conductor L. Dorfman.

The Orchestra’s repertoire spans baroque, classicism, and romanticism periods. Yet it does not shy away from the modern music: from A. Piazzoll to A. Pärt. The Orchestra was the first one to perform the pieces created by Šiauliai citizens A. Bružas and J. Keblikas. Besides, ŠCO frequently plays together with Šiauliai Big Band thus creating the only symphonic jazz orchestra in Lithuania!

The Orchestra performs in Šiauliai and other Lithuanian cities, it has toured Germany, Italy, Poland, Belgium, Sweden. It was invited to attend Lithuanian festivals as well: the Orchestra participated in Šiauliai International Church Music Concert in 1991, and Paežeriai Manor Music Festival in 2018.

Šiauliai Chamber Orchestra changed its name to „Camerata Solaris“ from July 2021. The current art director and conductor is the famous violinist Vilhelmas Čepinskis. Assistant to the art director of the orchestra is Jūratė Stakvilevičienė.

Viktoras Gerulaitis, Musicologist