Fluxus East

Fluxus Networks in Central Eastern Europe

Vytautas Landsbergis

1932, born in Kaunas, Lithuania
Lives in Vilnius

From 1950 to 1955, Landsbergis studied at the State Conservatoire in Vilnius, subsequently teaching piano; in 1969, he completed a doctorate on the Lithuanian composer and painter Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis, who had synaesthetically combined painting with music and music with painting. Landsbergis was a professor at the Lithuanian Academy of Music from 1978 to 1990. He was a founder-member of the independence movement Sąjūdis, and as President of the Constitutional Assembly of the Republic of Lithuania, he was Head of State from 1990 to 1992. Later he was President of Parliament from 1996 to 2000, and today he is a member of the European Parliament in Brussels, in the faction of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats. Besides his political work, Landsbergis is a composer and playing musician (in particular of works by Čiurlionis) and the author of numerous books.

As children, Vytautas Landsbergis and the subsequent Fluxus initiator George (Jurgis) Maciunas were friends. In 1962, a coincidence led to renewed contact between Landsbergis and Maciunas, who was by then living in New York. Sporadic correspondence developed between the Čiurlionis specialist and the Fluxus “chairman”, who also used the opportunity to disseminate his communist-​oriented ideas of Fluxus as an art form predestined for the Soviet Union. Despite a quite contrary understanding of art, Landsbergis adopted diverse stimuli from Fluxus and organised a Fluxus concert together with his students in 1966 – a cabaret-like event at the Pedagogical Institute in Vilnius. In addition, he used the material that Maciunas sent him in his lectures about new and current music. Landsbergis also sent ideas for events and scores to Maciunas, who reported in turn about their performance in the context of Fluxus concerts. Landsbergis also took part in Mieko Shiomi’s Spatial Poems and corresponded with Ken Friedman.

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