Ivan Fedele

Ivan Fedele

World Premiere

For piano and electronics

2023 MAY 25–27


Feat. Alvise Vidolin

Chosen Location

Vilnius, Lithuania

Composing for Vilnius


The composition as sound installation is open

Kazys Varnelis House-Museum

Didžioji str. 26

The installation can be visited during the museum's regular hours with the purchase of a museum ticket.

Scan the QR code ir listen to the music

Please respect the solemnity in the museum and listen to the piece with headphones.

“I always wanted to turn images into music!” exclaimed Italian composer Ivan Fedele upon seeing the attention-grabbing paintings by Kazys Varnelis – a Lithuanian painter of optical art who spent most of his life in the United States and achieved fame there, yet remains undiscovered by many in our country. Fedele has dedicated his new composition, “Varnelis Variations,” to this artist’s work and philosophy. The world premiere of the piece for piano and electronics will take place in the Kazys Varnelis House-Museum, a labyrinth of art and secrets, with talented pianist Indrė Baikštytė and the composer’s fellow in experimentation, Italian Alvise Vidolin, performing. The concert will be accompanied by special tours of this unique cultural space and a meeting with Ivan Fedele.

LENsemble Vilnius – Indrė Baikštytė (piano, LT)
Alvise Vidolin (live electronics, IT)

The event includes a world premiere concert and a special guided tour of the Kazys Varnelis House-Museum.
When purchasing tickets, you can choose whether to participate in the tour before or after the concert.

Event duration: ≈ 1 hour 45 min. (concert and a tour)


Portrait concert of composer Ivan Fedele

May 26 | 6:00 PM

Vilnius Town Hall
(Didžioji str. 31)

Event occurred

Program includes well known works by Ivan Fedele for chamber and large ensembles. Most of them will be performed in Lithuania for the first time. Composer Ivan Fedele will be present at the concert and will greet the audience and Vilnius.


  • Maja (1999) for soprano, pianoforte, vibrophone, flute, clarinet, violin and violoncello, with texts by  G.Corti
  • X-tension 3 (2018) for ensemble and electronics
  • Immagini da Escher (2005) for ensemble
  • Nachtmusik (2008) for pianoforte


LENsemble Vilnius (artistic director – Vykintas Baltakas)

Monta Martinsone (soprano), Giedrius Gelgotas (flute), Andrius Žiūra (clarinet), Colin Crandal (percussion), Jonė Punytė-Svigarienė (piano), Rusnė Mataitytė (violin), Arnas Kmieliauskas (violoncello), Alvise Vidolin (live electronics)

Concert duration: ± 1 hour 10 min.
Doors open: 30 min to the beginning

Composer Talk with Ivan Fedele

MAY 27 | 17:00

Kazys Varnelis

Didžioji g. 26



If you have an idea, nothing can stop you. Then you don’t need any special conditions, no special space, no special situations.

Ivan Fedele was born in Lecce in 1953. He studied piano with B. Canino, V. Vitale and I. Deckers, and composition under the guidance of R. Dionisi, A. Corghi and F. Donatoni. At the same time, he studied philosophy at the University of Milan, with E. Paci, L. Geymonat, R. Mangione and R. Cantoni.

He owns to his father, a mathematician, the passion for mathematics, as it becomes evident in his compositional researches, including the examination and use of the concept of “spatialisation” (Duo en résonance, Ali di Cantor, Donacis Ambra), the formulation of a “library” of creative processes and the definition of a prototype of “granular synthesizer”, like the one used for the realization of the electronic part of Richiamo (for brass, percussions and electronics – IRCAM 1993).

His piece Capt-Actions (for string quartet, accordion and electronics) uses for the first time a new system of “capteurs”, which are able to send all data regarding the contours of a musical gesture directly to the computer, which, in turn, interprets this information, on real time, according to the archetypes of modulation set a priori by the composer. Capt-Actions has been premiered at the Arsenale in Metz, in April 2005. This new technology, which has been developed by Thierry Coduys in the “Kitchen” studios of Paris, opens up new compositional perspectives, yet unexplored.

Ivan Fedele carries also an intense academic activity, which has seen him participating to the activities of important institutions, like Harvard University, University of Barcelona, Sorbonne and IRCAM in Paris, Sibelius Academy of Helsinki, Chopin Academy of Warsaw, Centre Acanthes in Avignon, CNSM in Lyon and CNR of Strasbourg as well as Italian Conservatoires, namely Milan, Bologna and Turin.

In 2000 he has been awarded the honour of “Chevalier de l’Ordre des Lettres et des Arts” by the French Ministry of Culture. In 2005 Fedele has been appointed Member of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. In 2007 the Italian Ministry of Culture entrusted him with the Professorship of Composition for the “Corsi di Perfezionamento in Studi Musicali” at the same Accademia.

From 2009 to 2011 he has been the Artistic Director of the Orchestra I Pomeriggi Musicali of Milan. He is appointed Director of the Music section of the Venice Biennale for the five-year period 2012-2016, and has been reappointed until 2019. In 2016, the Fondation de France awarded him the Prix International “Arthur Honegger”, for all of his work.

Ivan Fedele was most impressed by the work of Kazys Varnelis: “I visited his house-museum and thought that this was the place that could inspire me to create a musical piece for Vilnius. It would be great to translate images into sounds!”


I find the work of Kazys Varnelis particularly interesting for a composer, as the abstract dimension as well as the optical illusions it induces can stimulate musical creativity in an original and intriguing way. And so it was in my case. The Varnelis Variations are a collection of short pieces for piano and live electronics divided into two groups, the ‘black and white’ and the ‘chromatic’ ones. The black-and-white ones use a less colourful harmonic language than the chromatic ones, using only the alternation and/or overlapping of groups of black and white notes. Chromatic ones, on the other hand, are decidedly more timbrally ‘coloured’, referring to more distinctive harmonic fields. From a formal point of view, however, I opted for the recursiveness of patterns and figures, thus paraphrasing the ‘minimalist’ processes of Varnelis. The live electronics have the task of realising and emphasising all the micro nuances, shadows and trompe l’œil present in the Maestro’s works’.

Ivan Fedele

Kazys Varnelis

I would best describe my rhythmic intentions with a line from Gertrude Stein’s poetry: “A rose/ is a rose/ is a rose…” If you only said “rose”, there would be no poetry at all.

Kazys Varnelis

Kazys Varnelis was born in 1919 and grew up in Lithuania. During World War II he left to study in Austria then moved to Germany and in 1949 to the United States. Here he refined his style and became a well-known representative of optical art as well as a passionate collector. During his life, he accumulated almost 1000 exhibits and about 9000 publications.

The artist has repeatedly said that everything in human life is a rhythm – from the heartbeat or gestures to walking and daily activities.

“My goal is to paint as objectively as possible, so I refuse subjective impressions. All my life I have worked in a bar of constructive art, more precisely, geometric abstraction,” says Varnelis.

Varnelis liked to listen to music while painting. One of his favourite composers is Johan Strauss. In the artist’s studio, a small collection of cassettes has survived, among which you can also find classical, especially opera, Spanish, French music or F. Sinatra recordings.

After 4 decades spent in emigration, K. Varnelis visited Lithuania in 1984 for the first time. Since then, he made visitsalmost every year, until he settled in 1998 and a few years later founded a museum in the 15th-17th century buildings of the Small Merchants’ Guild on Didižioji Street provided by the Vilnius city municipality.

Like a labyrinth made up of 43 rooms, K. Varnelis carefully arranged the activities covering his entire life, turning the museum itself into a work of art. Until his death in 2010, the artist lived and painted in these premises and he himself sometimes accompanied the visiting excursions.

Since 2003, the Kaziy Varnelis Home-Museum has become a branch of the Lithuanian National Museum, protecting both the artist’s collections and his creative mind.


Ieškau naujos japonų dvasinės kultūros ir muzikos išraiškos. Tokios, kuri leistų būti atviram man pačiam ir mano šaknims. Kaip tauta, turime atidžiau persvarstyti Vakarų pasaulį, kad patys save galėtume vertinti objektyviau, kad iš tiesų save pažintume.

Užrašas ant Vilniaus universiteto observatorijos sienos

Artistic director and conductor – Vykintas Baltakas

Initiated by Vykintas Baltakas, LENsemble Vilnius (Lithuanian Ensemble Network) connects professional ensembles, soloists and conductors.

LENsemble consists of: the Chordos String Quartet, Kristupas Wind Quintet, Kaskados Piano Trio, Vilnius Brass Quintet, accordionist Raimondas Sviackevičius and others. LENsemble is working with established institutions of contemporary music in Lithuania and abroad, such as the Lithuanian Composers’ Union, Lithuanian Music Information and Publishing Centre, Lithuanian Academy of Music and theatre, Goethe-Institut Vilnius and Karsten Witt Musikmanagement Berlin.

LEN is proud about its performances at the WDR (2009), at the Ruhr European Capital of Culture (2010), Ultraschall Festival Berlin (2013), Gaida Festival, Flagey Brussels, Concertgebouw Brugge, tours in Serbia, Egypt, Poland, Latvia and its recordings for Kairos, Megadisc Classics, WDR, Deutschland Radio Kultur, WDR, etc. In 2011 LENsemble started the concert series Composers of our time, featuring the influential international and lithuanian composers.


World Premiere

Indrė Baikštytė (piano) and Alvise Vidolin (live electronics)

Portrait Concert

Monta Martinsone (soprano), Giedrius Gelgotas (flute), Andrius Žiūra (clarinet), Colin Crandal (percussion), Jonė Punytė-Svigarienė (piano), Rusnė Mataitytė (violin), Arnas Kmieliauskas (violoncello), Alvise Vidolin (live electronics)

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