Mägi Ensemble is honored to have been invited to perform at the 2023 National American Choral Directors Association Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. This conference showcases outstanding choral ensembles throughout the US and abroad, and we are thrilled to be included among many esteemed colleagues. During our time in Cincinnati, we are also planning on having performances in the community and participating in the conference sessions.
More About Our Program for ACDA
With the current conflict in Ukraine using the destruction of culture as a method of warfare, the focus on sustaining culture despite persecution is a vital part of our continuing mission and vision of the Mägi Ensemble. When everything is stripped away, government overthrown, religion outlawed, possessions destroyed and homes gone, songs can remain. These songs are within us, our true souls, the parts of us that make us human even in the most inhumane times. These songs are what can allow a culture to survive even under attack of the most violent regimes, preserving language, values and identity.
During times of occupation, folk songs and national poetry were used in the Baltic countries to assist people in maintaining their cultural identity while conforming to the restrictions of the invading government. The use of nature as a metaphor in these songs made them seem innocent to the outsider, while in reality, they represented the people and their longing for home, for connection and for peace. This lecture concert will present history, stories and repertoire that introduce the audience to the importance of choral music in the Baltic region, the use of nature as a metaphor during times of censorship and the vital role that women played in the resistance movements.
To begin, we will outline a short history of the Baltic States and the singing tradition with an introductory Lithuanian sutartinė folk song call and response. Focusing on how women were a part of the resistance, the composition “Div’ dūjiņas gaisā skrēja” (Two Doves Flying) by Latvian composer Laura Jēkabsone is “dedicated to the ‘Daughters of the Forest’ – Latvian women who got involved in the partisan movement, which stood up against occupation and Soviet rule after the World War II. Living in inhuman circumstances for many years, in a state of constant fear, hiding and sacrificing themselves in the name of Freedom” (Jēkabsone). A newly commissioned work by Latvian-American composer Katherine Pukinskis, “The Mother Trees” illustrates the sororal connection of empowered women against adversity and the deep bond to nature in the Baltic cultures. Estonian composer Evelin Seppar’s “Maardurand” (The Beach of Maardu) with poetry by Estonian national poet Marie Under will share thoughts on distance and loss in times of struggle. To finish this concert, we will sing two of the traditional “unofficial” anthems from Lithuania and Estonia that were sung when the Soviet regime had banned the official songs and then close with the lively piece “Es par bēdu nebēdāju” (I did not dwell on my sorrow) by Latvian composer Laura Leontjeva.
The audience will learn about the importance of singing in resistance and cultural identity in the Baltic and how women were and are an integral part of those elements. New and rarely heard pieces by women composers from the Baltic region will be presented to allow the audience to learn more about the music from this area.
See more information about the conference HERE.
Nature’s Song: Resistance Through Singing in the Baltic Region
Culture holds the key to humanity and shares who we truly are. This concert will showcase new and rarely heard pieces by women-identifying composers from the Baltic region will be presented to allow the audience to learn more about the music from this area.
Tickets Coming Soon.