Karolis Variakojis, conductor

Karolis Variakojis has become the leading conductor for contemporary classical music in Lithuania collaborating with composers including Bronius Kutavičius, Žibuoklė Martinaitytė, Justė Janulytė and skillfully executing international masterpieces such as Hans Abrahamsen’s Let Me Tell You or Steve Reich’s Music for Ensemble and Orchestra. Variakojis’ conducting style combines a meticulous technique, mesmerizingly natural movement and unrelenting energy.


Born in the rural town of Biržai, Lithuania and educated at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, Karolis Variakojis studied under the tutelage of Maestro Juozas Domarkas, himself a student of the legendary Russian educator Ilya Musin. Variakojis is currently the principal conductor of the Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra as well as the State Wind Orchestra and can frequently be seen as a guest conductor on Lithuania’s principal stages such as the Lithuanian National Philharmonic.


Variakojis began his career on two separate paths: first conducting a children’s orchestra and also as the co-founder of the contemporary music ensemble Synaesthesis. His roles as an educator and contemporary music enthusiast soon merged as his pupils began to play orchestral arrangements of John Cage’s Dream and Lithuanian folk songs embellished with extended techniques. Variakojis still serves as the conductor and musical director of Synaesthesis, which remains the most prominent contemporary music collective in Lithuania. It is now nearing its tenth anniversary and continues to infect audiences at home and abroad with a curiosity for new music. Synaesthesis was recognized in 2020 receiving the Ernst von Siemens Ensemble Prize.



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Žibuoklė Martinaitytė

Ex Tenebris Lux

Pavel Giunter, percussion

Rokas Vaitkevičius, cello

Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra

Karolis Variakojis, conductor

ODE 1403-2

Released 06/2022

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