Berklee Today

Berklee Beat: Thank You, Thank You . . .


Jeronimas Kasinckas and his wife Elena with conductor David Callahan after the tribute concert.

A week before his 94th birthday, former professor Jeronimas Kacinskas received a musical tribute from Berklee's Composition Department. Kacinskas termed the concert, directed by Composition Department Chair Greg Fritze, "fantastic and unprecedented."

The April 8 program drew a capacity crowd to the David Friend Recital Hall and featured three Kacinskas works, including the premiere of a new brass octet titled 2000 Year Anniversary of Jesus Christ's Holy Message to the People, conducted by Associate Professor Louis Stewart. Also on the program were the Kacinskas String Quartet #4 from 1997 and Nonetto, composed in 1938. The four-movement Nonetto,(conducted by Professor David Callahan) is the only existing prewar composition by Kacinskas.

The three superb ensembles that performed consisted largely of Berklee faculty members, with the notable exceptions of the Esterhazy String Quartet and a handful of top instrumentalists from the area.

After the concert and a lengthy ovation, Kacinskas, with characteristic humility, told the audience, "Thank you for having the patience to listen to my music." He expressed his gratitude to the Composition Department for the event and praised the players and conductors personally.

In a review of the concert that appeared in the Boston Globe,critic Ellen Pfeifer characterized Kacinskas's works as "Well crafted music of a highly chromatic nature emphasizing free-flowing counterpoint and densely packed harmonies." Alluding to his WWII struggles with the Russian army in Lithuania and his subsequent relocation to South Boston, Pfeifer wrote, "One can understand that Kacinskas's music--iconoclastic, personal, forward-looking--may not have been Stalin's cup of tea. But why it never became Boston's cup of tea is the real mystery here."