The Courage of Composers and the Tyranny of Taste Reflections on New Music

A book by Bálint András Varga
All-new interviews with 33 of the world’s leading composers–from Adams and Crumb to Gubaïdulina and Rihm–give unique insights into the creative process.
Bálint András Varga is perhaps the world’s most respected interviewer of living composers. For The Courage of Composers and the Tyranny of Taste: Reflections on New Music, Varga has confronted thirty-three composers with quotations carefully chosen to elicit their thoughts about an issue that is crucial for any serious creative artist: How can one find courage to deal with the sometimes tyrannical expectations of the outside world?
̌Hans Abrahamsen (b. 1952), John Adams (b. 1947), Vykintas Baltakas (b. 1972), George Benjamin (b. 1960), Friedrich Cerha (b. 1926), Unsuk Chin (b. 1961), George Crumb (b. 1929), Chaya Czernowin (b. 1957), Paul-Heinz Dittrich (b. 1930), Pascal Dusapin (b. 1955), Michael Gielen (b. 1927), Sofia Gubaidulina (b. 1931), Georg Friedrich Haas (b. 1953), Giya Kancheli (b. 1935), György Kurtág (b. 1926), Helmut Lachenmann (b. 1935), Olga Neuwirth (b. 1968), Enno Poppe (b. 1969), Wolfgang Rihm (b. 1952), Rebecca Saunders (b. 1967), Jörg Widmann (b. 1973), Paul Griffiths (b. 1947)…
Bálint András Varga is the acclaimed author of György Kurtág: Three Interviews and Ligeti Homages; Three Questions for 65 Composers; and From Boulanger to Stockhausen: Interviews and a Memoir (all available from University of Rochester Press).
University of Rochester Press
The German version: Der Komponisten Mut und die Tyrannei des Geschmacks
Wolke Verlag, 978-3-95593-071-4

Cairo Contemporary Music Days 2017 / Carte Blanche

April 27, 2017 at the Goethe Institute Cairo

Music of falling sounds (2015) for violin and electronics; Ieva Sipaitytė, vln



Also works by Justina Repečkaitė, Arturas Bumšteinas, Amr Okba, Bushra El-Turk, Gamal Abdel Rahim

April 30, 2017 at the Ewart Memorial Hall, Cairo

Works by Hassan Taha, Hikari Kiyama, Bushra El-Turk, Egidija Medekšaitė,  Øyvind Torvund, Zad Moultaka


LENsemble and European – Egyptian Contemporary Music Society

Vykintas Baltakas, conducting

LENsemble in Vilnius

2016, 20 October, Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre
45th Baltic musicological conference
Julius Juzeliūnas and the World
Works by Hanns Eisler, John Cage, Julius Juzeliūnas, Kevin Volans, Vitali Godziatski, Edison Denisov
LENsemble, Vykintas Baltakas, cond.
2016, 22 October, Contemporary Art Centre
26th Contemporary Music Festival GAIDA
Music in Image & Image in Music
Works by Stefan Prins, Vytautas V. Jurgutis (premiere), Tierry de Mey, Matthew Shlomowitz, Michael Beil, François Sarhan and Anatolijus Šenderovas (premiere)
Stéphane Ginsburgh (solo piano) Andrius Žiūra (solo clarinet), LENsemble

New book article

Bálint Ándras Varga (Hg.)
Der Komponisten Mut und die Tyrannei des Geschmacks
Gedanken, Statements und Dialoge von und mit den Komponisten Hans Abrahamsen, John Adams, Vykintas Baltakas, George Benjamin, Friedrich Cerha, Unsuk Chin, George Crumb, Chaya Czernowin, Paul-Heinz Dittrich, Pascal Dusapin, Lorenzo Ferrero, Uli Fussenegger, Michael Gielen, Detlev Glanert, Sofia Gubaidulina, Georg Friedrich Haas, Giya Kantscheli, György Kurtág, Helmut Lachenmann, Libby Larsen, Liza Lim, Luca Lombardi, Siegfried Matthus, Robert Morris, Olga Neuwirth, Enno Poppe, Karl Aage Rasmussen, Wolfgang Rihm, Rebecca Saunders, Allen Shawn, Johannes Maria Staud, Manfred Trojahn, Jörg Widmann und Christian Wolff, den Kritikern Paul Griffiths, Gerhard R. Koch, Rainer Nonnenmann, Wolfgang Schreiber und Arnold Whittall und den Festivaldirektoren Heike Hoffmann und Sir Nicholas Kenyon.
wolke verlag

Composition classes

In September my composition classes will continue at the Maastricht Academy of Music and at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels. Registering is still possible until the end of August (Maastricht) and September (Brussels).
As of this fall a new master program for performers of contemporary music starts at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. Download the information sheet here.
For information: International Relations Office +370 5 2124967,

Portrait CD by KAIROS


1. (co)ro(na) for ensemble 10:24
2. Pasaka for piano solo 05:15
3. Sinfonia for ensemble 03:25
4. b(ell tree)for string quartet 11:35
5. Ri for soprano and electronics 09:21
6. Poussla for ensemble and orchestra 14:47
7. Pasaka for piano and tape 08:43
8. Saxordionphonics for solo saxophone, accordion and orchestra 12:36
Total Time: 79:47
Tokyo Sinfonietta, Benjamin Kobler, LENsemble (Lithuanian Ensemble Network), Chordos Quartet, Rita Balta, SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg, Marcus Weiss, Teodoro Anzellotti, WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, Yasuaki Itakura, Vykintas Baltakas, Johannes Kalitzke, Emilio Pomárico

Catalogue No.: 0015004KAI
EAN Code: 9120040735043

Mauricio Kagel concert trail in Vilnius

9.4.2016, 19:00 Energetikos ir technikos muziejus | Energy ant Technology Museum Vilnius (LT)

Kantrimiusik, 50′
Phantasiestück, 15′
Mitternachtsstük, 40′
Het Collectief ensemble
LENsemble (Lithuanian Ensemble Network)
Jauna Muzika choir
Oskaras Koršunovas, direction
Vykintas Baltakas, conductor
Full program book

Kagel concert trail at the Concertgebouw Brugge

12.3.2016, Concertgebouw Brugge (B)
19:30 Vykintas Baltakas “Smokey Arnold” (2015) for ensemble
20:00 Mauricio Kagel:
Die Stücke der Windrose for ensemble, 50′
Kantrimiusik (1973-75), 50′
Mitternachtsstük (1980-86), 40′
Het Collectief ensemble
LENsemble (Lithuanian Ensemble Network)
Jauna Muzika choir
Oskaras Koršunovas, direction
Vykintas Baltakas, conductor

Portrait in Vienna

12.12.2015, Alte Schmiede,  Vienna

lecture-concert by Baltakas and Ensemble Wiener Collage


Recitativo (2014) for violine and piano

das Lied (2000) for piano and elektronics

Commentum (2011) for cello and piano

(how does the silver cloud s)ou(nd?) for piano solo

Eine kleine Nachtmusik (2013) for violine solo



Moderation: Alejandro del Valle-Lattanzio

composer & conductor