north american lithuanian song festival where the singing revolution premiered, july 2015

north american lithuanian song festival where the singing revolution premiered, july 2015

An Interview with the Composer

On Friday May 11th Norman Gilliland, host of the popular Wisconsin Public Radio classical music program, The Midday, welcomes Kestutis Daugirdas, composer of The Singing Revolution for a live interview. 

The choral cantata was commissioned for the 2015 North American Lithuanian Song Festival Dainu Svente  hyperlink /en ]  in Chicago to mark the 25th anniversary of Lithuania’s Declaration of Independence from the USSR.  The cantata has five movements, each corresponding to a year from 1987 to 1991 – collectively seen as the years of The Singing Revolution – when Lithuanians and their Baltic neighbors, Latvia and Estonia, used song and nonviolent action to successfully achieve independence. 

For this cantata, Kestutis Daugirdas, based in Los Angeles, worked with Rugile Kazlauskaite, a Lithuanian writer in Vilnius, who conducted archival research and interviews with many people present at the events of 1987-1991. Skyping across the Atlantic, they created a work that uses Lithuanian musical sensibilities and practices to express rich historical content in a familiar and beloved Baltic cultural format – a choral work for a song festival. 

The words of the cantata, written in Lithuanian, are beautifully poetic.  They describe states of the heart, beliefs, admonitions, hopeful pronouncements, and dire and triumphant situations in concise and elegant language – sometimes using metaphors, always expressing the story.  Song is personified.  It is an active force that flies on the wind and can tear apart chains of lies.

The cantata’s score also contains an introduction that provides a description of the historical events upon which each movement is based, written by the lyricist and composer. For an English translation of that introduction, click on History & the Cantata

The Midday interview with will begin at 12:06 pm Central Daylight Time (USA) and will continue for approximately 25 minutes.  Wisconsinites and their neighbors are invited to tune their radios to their local WPR News & Classical Network station. 

The Midday program is also live-streamed digitally on WPR’s

Choose “NPR News & Classical Network” or “All Classical Network” on that web page.  It reaches audiences throughout the world. 

Norman Gilliland’s interview with Kestutis Daugirdas will also be archived and available for downloading after the broadcast by going to:

For a list of resources to find out more about the power of song, nonviolent action and The Singing Revolution click on Learn More: