The first competition, held in 1965, brought together 15 Lithuanian pianists. It has been expanding ever since, implementing new initiatives. In 1968, organists were included in the competition; and in 1991, after Lithuania regained its independence, the path was opened for the first international competition.
In 1994, through the efforts of the Lithuanian pianist Mūza Rubackytė, the International M.K. Čiurlionis Piano and Organ Competition was accepted as a member of the World Federation of International Music Competitions in Geneva. The membership of the Federation is a high evaluation of the competition’s artistry and professionalism, its excellent management and long-standing tradition.
The second International M.K. Čiurlionis Piano and Organ Competition was held in 1995, in the year of the composer’s 120th birth anniversary. To pay a tribute to the artist, the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania declared 1995 ‘the Year of M.K. Čiurlionis’ and UNESCO included this date in its calendar of anniversary celebrations. Such appreciation of M.K. Čiurlionis increased the need for promotion of his works as well as the significance of the competition.
In the course of its development, the competition has been nurtured by the outstanding personalities of Lithuanian culture: Prof. J. Čiurlionytė, Prof. V. Landsbergis, teachers of the Lithuanian Academy of Music Prof. V. Vitaitė, Prof. L. Digrys, Prof. K. Grybauskas, Prof. J. Karnavičius, Prof. S. Vainiūnas, Assoc. Prof. D. Trinkūnas, Assoc. Prof. A. Dvarionaitė, long-standing director of the competition R. Kondrotas, etc.
The jury panel included the world-renowned musicians: Michael Bouvard (France), Teofil Bikis (Latvia), Jean Boyer (France), Joseph Bucher (Switzerland), James Dalton (Great Britain), Joseph Dorfman (Israel), Johannes Geffert (Germany), Ludger Lohmann (Germany), Ronan O`Hara (Great Britain), Atsuko Okada (Japan), Giancarlo Parodi (Italy), Nikolai Petrov (Russia), Daniel Pollack (USA), Bernard Ringeissen (France), Mūza Rubackytė (Lithuania), Herbert Sahling (Germany), Lev Vlasenko (Russia), etc.
Today, it is one of the major professional music competitions in Lithuania, with an active participation of both Lithuanian and foreign professional music performers. The 6th international competition, was held on September 14–25, 2011, was especially dedicated to commemorating the 100th anniversary of the composer’s death. The anniversary has been included in the list of celebrations of anniversaries with which UNESCO is associated. A growing interest in the competition is an evidence of unfading remembrance of M. K. Čiurlionis.
THE LAST COMPETITION.
The last International M. K. Čiurlionis Piano and Organ Competition was held in Vilnius on September 9-17, 2019 (next International M. K. Čiurlionis Piano and Organ Competition will be held in 2023) an event that traditionally, every four years, invites to Lithuania performers from all over the world.
The competition named after Mikalojus Kostantinas Čiurlionis is one of the major music events in Lithuania, fostering the timeless musical legacy of the Lithuanian genius. New professional music talents constantly emerge at the competition; it also promotes works by contemporary Lithuanian composers.
In 2015 the competition was celebrating its 50th birth anniversary and 140th birth anniversay of M. K . Čiurlionis, as previously, it was under the Patronage of H. E. Dalia Grybauskaitė.
In 2011, the International M.K. Čiurlionis Piano and Organ Competition marked the 100th death anniversary of the world-renowned musician and painter M. K. Čiurlionis (1875–1911).