Kestutis Vaiginis

Kęstutis Vaiginis, an initiator and leader of a number of international projects, revealed his compositional talent while still a student at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, the Prince Claus Conservatorium and Amsterdam School of the Arts (the Netherlands), as well as Manhattan School of Music in New York.

Kęstutis Vaiginis plays original compositions, which are modern jazz and academic music combinations . In his music is strong feeling of latin, be- bop, Afro music styles. Vaiginis is a big-toned saxophone player whose direct or indirect influences include Wayne Shorter, John Coltrane, Joe Henderson, Pharoah Sanders, Branford Marsalis, David Sanchez and among others.

Since then, as a member of various collectives the saxophonist (and flutist) performed his compositions not only in Lithuania, but also the Netherlands, Spain, France, the USA, China, Japan, Malaysia, Korea, Germany, Poland, Turkey, Brazil, Azerbaijan, Russia, Scotland, Georgia and Belarus.

2013 K.Vaiginis performed his compositions with German State Youth Jazz Orchestra. Held at the National Philharmonic Hall this concert was broadcast live on LRT Klasika, Kultūra and Eurovision channels. Joachim Gauck, President of the Federal Republic of Germany, was present at the concert and awarded Vaiginis European Culture Foundation’s Europamusicale Music Prize, which annually is given to one European musician.

Winner of many national and international competitions and recipient of Grand Prix of Birštonas Jazz Festival (2010), Vaiginis is one of the most gifted and productive Lithuanian jazz musicians. He also takes part in projects of various other genres; appeared in contemporary music festival Gaida.

The list of his former and current stage partners includes such jazz coryphées as Barbara Dennerlein, Hernan Romero, Alex Sipiagin, Boris Kozlov, Donald Edwards, David Kikoski, Ed Howard, Adam Cruz, Dave Allen, Daniel Messina, Randal Corsen, David Berkman, Burak Bedikyan, Ferit Odman, Joonas Haavisto and Deniss Pashkevich, as well as Indonesian, Korean and Italian musicians. The musician is a member of Lithuanian-Latvian-Estonian Tree Stones Quartet.

As a leader and guest musician of various collectives he appeared in prestigious festivals including: North Sea Jazz festival (Netherlands), London Jazz festival (UK), Ottawa Jazz (Canada), Cape Town Jazz festival (Republic of South Africa), Panama World Music Festival (Central America), Glasgow Jazz festival (Scotland), Paris Jazzy Colors festival (France), Tokyo Jazz festival (Japan), Istanbul Jazz festival (Turkey), Jarasum Jazz festival (South Korea), Baku Jazz festival (Azerbajzan), Hong Kong Jazz festival, (China), Tixuana Concert Hall (Mexico), Penang Jazz festival (Malaysia), Lviv Jazz festival (Ukraine), Jambouree Jazz festival (Poland), Nisville Jazz festival (Serbia), Minsk Jazz festival (Belarus), St. Petersburg Jazz festival (Russia), Luxembourg Jazz Festival, JazzKaar Festival (Estonia), Sesc Instrumental sessions (Brazil), Breda Jazz Festival (Netherlands), Odessa Jazz Festival (Ukraine), Kiev Jazz Festival (Ukraine), and Hong Kong to name but a few, toured in Malaysia, China, Brazil, Spain, South Korea, India, Baltic States, Poland. The saxophonist regularly takes part in Lithuanian jazz festivals, Kaunas Jazz Festival, Birstonas Jazz Festival, Vilnius Jazz Festival.

His discography amounts to four personal albums; his compositions were included in several Lithuanian music collections. “His vision is wide-ranging from the subtle to the provocative, rooted in an appreciation of tradition and yet looking forward”, said Steve Wilson, an illustrious American saxophonist, about Vaiginis’ Unexpected Choices recorded with acclaimed New Yorkers.