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Onuté Narbutaite

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    Winterserenade: Paraphrase of Franz Schubert's Lied 'Gute Nacht' from 'Winterreise' - Carsten Hustedt, Ingrida Armonaitė, Audronė Pšibilskienė
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Onuté Narbutaité has been among the leading Lithuanian composers since the 1980s, but only rose to international prominence around the turn of the 21st century.
Her String Quartet No. 2, "Open the Gates of Oblivion" (1980), and June Music, for violin and cello (1981), first gained her notice in Lithuania, but it was her 1997 oratorio Centones meae urbi (Patchwork for My City) that not only elevated her to the front ranks among composers at home, but launched her toward global renown. Often somber in character, Narbutaité's music is stylistically individual: many will discern mystical or religious aspects in it, and while it is far from avant-garde, it may come across as a bit challenging for less adventurous listeners, even some of her lighter chamber music. Narbutaité's works are available from several major labels, including Naxos, Finlandia, and Guild.
Onuté Narbutaité was born in Vilnius, Lithuania, on June 12, 1956. She studied music at the Lithuanian State Conservatory, where her most important teacher was Julius Juzeliunas. Narbutaité graduated in 1979, and from that year until 1982, she taught music theory at the State Conservatory in Klaipeda. Thereafter, based in Vilnius, she freelanced as a composer.
Narbutaité had some early success, typically in the chamber genre. Her 1991 chamber piece Mozartsommer, for flute, violin, viola and piano, was a light work that gained a measure of popularity. She would go on to turn out successful chamber works inspired by other well-known composers, like Winterserenade: Paraphrase of Schubert's Gute Nacht (1997), for flute, violin, and viola; and Autumn Ritornello - Homage a Fryderyk Chopin (1999), for piano quartet.
From about the mid-'90s Narbutaité began to focus her compositional interests on larger-scale works, like the 1996 Sinfonia col triangolo for string orchestra.
In 1997 Narbutaité was given the highest artistic honor when she was named recipient of the Lithuanian National Prize for the aforementioned Centones meae urbi. Further awards were bestowed upon her: in 2004 the Lithuanian Composers Union presented her with the prize for the year's best symphonic work for the 2002-2003 choral symphony Tres Dei Matris Symphoniae (Three Symphonies of the Mother of God). She received the same distinction in 2005 for La Barca. Among the more popular and acclaimed recordings of Narbutaité's works is the 2011 Naxos CD of Tres Dei Matris Symphoniae, played by the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra under Robertas Servenikas.

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