“Jaunystė Sings and Will Continue Singing”

95th Anniversary of KTU Academic Choir “Jaunystė”

16 December marks the 95th anniversary of the first concert of the academic choir of the University of Lithuania. KTU Academic Choir “Jaunystė” which originates from the academic choir of the University of Lithuania is one of the oldest choirs in Lithuania with strong traditions and profound history. Commemorating and honouring the date of the first concert, KTU Academic Choir celebrates the anniversaries of its concert activities and gifts society with impressive concerts every five years.

“The kindergartens, schools and universities of the world have their art societies which create and develop art and culture. The university is not complete if it has no art societies where students learn creativity, independence, teamwork, responsibility, dedication and understanding of art. It is the fundament of personality, family and nation”, – states Art Director and Conductor of the Choir Danguolė Beinarytė. “Love, faith and hope have to unite us in work and the creation of the strong state where we would be safe, happy, able to create and realise our ideas, works, goals and make life meaningful.”

KTU Museum congratulates the choir “Jaunystė” on the occasion of its anniversary and presents a virtual exh9ibition revealing the pages of the history of the choir.


In 1924, a student choir was established at the University of Lithuania. It was led by priest doc. Teodoras Brazys. The second choirmaster was Nikodemas Martinonis. On 16 December 1926, the choir gave its first concert with the performance of the works by the Lithuanian composers T. Brazys, Stasys Šimkus, Antanas Kačanauskas and Juozas Gruodis as well as harmonised Lithuanian folk songs. On 12 May 1928, the first public performance of the university choir took place in the Town Hall. In 1929, the choirmaster N. Martinonis left his position because of the difficult work conditions and the lack of funds and the choir was disbanded. In 1930, the University of Lithuania was renamed Vytautas Magnus University. In 1930–1932, the choir was revived at VDU with its leader folklorist Zenonas Slaviūnas. Back then, the choir had approximately 80 members. In 1932–1933, the choir was led by S. Šimkus but the choir matured and its artistic level increased when Konradas Kaveckas became its leader in 1933. In 1935, the choir went on its first tour in Latvia with concerts in the halls of the Riga Conservatory and University which received beautiful mentioning in the press. Since then, the choir tried to go on tour every year: it performed in the Czech Republic, Sweden, France, cities and towns of Lithuania. The choir was organising academic concerts in the great hall of the University dedicated to the works of individual composers including the stories about the composers and performance of their works. The concerts dedicated to the creation of Mikas Petrauskas, Juozas Naujalis, Kazimieras Viktoras Banaitis, Vladas Jakubėnas, Antanas Račiūnas, Jonas Nabažas, Teodoras Brazys, Juozas Gruodis and others were organised. On 8 June 1940, VDU Students’ Association organised a traditional Spring Celebration which included the last concert of VDU academic choir in independent Lithuania.

During the Soviet Occupation

On 23 October 1944, the official opening meeting of Kaunas National Vytautas Magnus University took place at the hall of the first chamber. During the meeting, the student choir performed the hymns of the Soviet Union and Lithuania. In 1950, after the approval of the hymn of the Lithuanian SSR, the hymn of Lithuania (“Tautiška giesmė”) was prohibited. At the end of 1950, after the reorganisation of the University into Kaunas Polytechnical Institute and Kaunas Medical Institute, the academic choir was weakened because some singers-medics left the choir and the choirmaster Jonas Dambrauskas became ill. The choir strengthened when its leader became Klemensas Griauzdė, who was a choirmaster in 1940–1946. In 1956, the choir took part in the first Baltic Student Song Festival in Tartu and then celebrated its 30th anniversary in 1957. In 1958, the choirmaster was Vytautas Simanavičius and from 1959 – Benediktas Mačikėnas. After a successful performance at the Lithuanian SSR Song Festival in 1960, taking into consideration the long-time work of the choir and the high artistic level it achieved, the title of the honoured art society was awarded to the choir and it was named “Jaunystė” in 1962. Since 1968, it was led by Robertas Varnas who became a long-time art director of “Jaunystė”. The choir was titled as absolutely the best mixed choir in the Lithuanian SSR Song Festival Competitions in 1970 and 1975. AT the initiative of “Jaunystė”, the competitions of the mixed academic choirs “Juventus” were organised at Kaunas Polytechnical Institute since 1970. “Jaunystė” was the winner of these competitions many times. The first record of the choir “Jaunystė” Sings” was recorded in 1977. In 1983, the leader of the choir was Ramūnas Tilvikas, in 1984 – Stasys Selemenavičius, later – Regina Meilutienė, Zigmas Genutis, Algirdas Viesulas. KPI Academic Choir “Jaunystė” gave many concerts in the countries of the Soviet Union. The choir had student traditions: boat trip in summer, barbeque party at the end of September including sports competitions, games, drawing competition, etc. When the national revival began in Lithuania, the hymn of independent Lithuania – “Tautiška giesmė” was sung by the choir “Jaunystė” at the conference of the KPI Sąjūdis Groups for the first time after many years of occupation on 15 October 1988. In 1989, “Jaunystė” and its leader A. Viesulas participated in the prestigious choir competition “Spittal an der Drau” in Austria where it received the second prize in the category of national music and the prize from the audience. In this competition, the members of “Jaunystė” managed to have the flag of Lithuania to be among the flags of the participants instead of the SSRS flag (even though the Lithuanian flag was not officially used yet). The Austrians sewed the flag in one night… In 1989, Romaldas Misiukevičius became the head of the choir “Jaunystė”. He strengthened the choir, prepared new programmes and organised approximately 60 concerts.

In independent Lithuania

When Lithuanian won its independence, the active period of touring began for “Jaunystė”. In 1991, the choir with its leader R. Misiukevičius participated in the International Song Festival “Bridges of Song” in Tallinn and Student Song Festival “Gaudeamus-XI” in Riga, toured Scandinavian countries – Sweden, Norway (in Trondheim, R. Miusiukevičius conducted the Mass G-dur by F. Schubert, performed by the “Jaunystė” and the chamber orchestra of Trondheim City) and Denmark. In 1992, “Jaunystė” have a concert at Kaunas Philharmonic Hall to mark its 65th anniversary. It was the first performance of the “Tu Vilniuj pasilik, valdove” (“You Stay in Vilnius, Lord”) by Bronius Budriūnas in Lithuania; the choir also performed the Mass G-dur by F. Schubert. “Jaunystė” also performed the cantata by B. Budriūnas in Klaipėda for the participants of the Choral Music Conference of the Lithuanian Diaspora, gave a concert for the participants of the VII World Lithuanian Symposium of Science and Culture at the hall of Vytautas Magnus University.

Since 1994, the choir is led by a talented choirmaster and conductor Danguolė Beinorytė who was the choirmaster of this choir since 1993. In 1994, 1995 and 1996, the choir participated in the traditional Lithuanian Student Festivals in Vilnius, in 1995 – the Baltic Student Song Festival “Gaudeamus-XII” in Tartu (Estonia), in 1996 – Kaunas City Song Festival. In 1997, “Jaunystė” won the special prize for the performance of the cantata “Amžių dainos” (“Songs of Ages”) by Zita Bružaitė at the revived International Mixed Student Choir Competition “Juventus-VIII“. In 1998, Choir “Jaunystė” participated in II World Lithuanian Song Festival in Vilnius. In 2001, a CD “Salve mundi” of the Choir “Jaunystė” was released. In 2002, D. Beinarytė became an organist at Kaunas Christ’s Resurrection Basilica. Since then, up to 2014, Choir “Jaunystė” was singing on various occasions and celebrations at the church. In 2001, on the occasion of its 75th anniversary, the Choir “Jaunystė” performed the opera-mystery “Undinė” (“Mermaid”) by Zita Bružaitė ((Director, Stage Designer, Conductor D. Beinarytė). In 2007, this opera was repeated at Kaunas Castle. The choir is the organiser and winner of the festivals “Juventus”. KTU Academic Choir “Jaunystė” had many concert tours: Hansa Youth Music and Art Festival in Lippstadt town, Germany, in the summer of 2005, Italy in 2007. In 2013, “Jaunystė” became the winner of the Lithuanian Amateur Adult Choir Competition and gained the right to be called the best amateur choir in Lithuania for four years; it won the first prize in the International Mixed Student Choir Competition “Juventus“. In 2014, the choir received the award “Aukso paukštė” (“Golden Bird”) by the Lithuanian National Culture Centre in the category of the year “Ryškiausia Lietuvos žvaigždė” (“Brightest Star in Lithuania”). The choir competed for the right to represent Lithuania in the final of the competition “Lietuvos balsai. Chorų Eurovizija 2014” (“Voices of Lithuania. Eurovision Choir 2014”). In 2016, the Choir “Jaunystė” performed a musical epic “Nes ilgiuos tavęs” (“Because I Miss You”) according to “Ponas Tadas” (“Mister Tadas”) by Adomas Mickevičius on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the establishment of the choir (translation by Vincas Mykolaitis-Putinas and Justinas Marcinkevičius, music by Zita Bružaitė). The topics of the new large oratorio-type work of music: love, emigration, discord among relatives, political tricks remain relevant today. 2017 was the year particularly successful to “Jaunystė” in terms of the awards: – the Grand Prix received at the IV World Children and Youth Choir Championship in St Petersburg (Russia) in February, the second prize in the Lithuanian Choir Competition in October. The choir had more than 50 members in 2020. The choir is a participant in Song Festivals, International Festivals “Gaudeamus”, various concerts and projects. The choir traditionally performs in the University’s events for February 16 and March 11, celebrates its establishment anniversaries, organises barbeque party in September, marks the last rehearsal of the year by a dress-up carnival, “christens” new members, goes on boat trips, travels, etc.

“Jaunystė” is always in a good mood, it shares positive emotions and warmth with people, is full of joy for life, devotion and dedication. The choir is proud of every achievement; however, the biggest merit is personal development and public spirit. All members of the choir are one team, community and it is very important. Those, who catch the disease of “Jaunystė”, have it for their entire lives. They come as students, create families, raise children and later, we see their children coming to us”, – rejoices Choirmaster and Conductor Danguolė Beinarytė.