LITHUANIAN ACCORDIONISTS ASSOCIATION (LAA)
GOALS AND ISSUES
Fostering of accordion art in Lithuania; striving for recognition and popularization of accordion art through organising national and international events, festivals, competitions, seminars and concerts; becoming equal member of Lithuanian musical culture; promulgating Lithuanian accordion art abroad; supporting methodical and professional activities of accordion pedagogues.
The LAA's sees its mission in organising festivals, competitions, seminars and concerts.
HISTORY OF THE FORMATION OF THE ASSOCIATION
Organisation of events always requires a group of activists. In setting up the Lithuanian Accordionists Association, the Lithuanian accordionists followed the structure of the Association of German Accordionists (Deutsche Harmonika Verband) and the Association of Polish Accordionists (Stowarzyszenie akordeonistow polskich). The idea of forming the Lithuanian Accordionists Association was supported by the Cultural Division of Vilnius Municipality. In 1986, the First Festival of Accordion Music was organised and the Society of Vilnius Accordionists was established. Its core consisted of accordionists-performers, as well as the most active accordion pedagogues of Vilnius music schools and the then Conservatoire (presently the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre). Two years later the Society was named the Lithuanian Accordionists Association and decision was made to broaden the geography of its activity.
Thus, during the Second Festival of Accordion Music in 1988 the Council of Accordion Music of Baltic States was elected and decision was made to organise accordion music festivals in other states as well. Participants of the meeting, held at the Vilnius Municipality, involved the members of the LAA - R. Sviackevičius, Z. Abromavičiūtė and E. Gabnys, the curator of the festival Prof. A. Mirek from Moscow, the representatives of the Culture Ministry of Estonia - H. Rebene, V. Taman and E. Raid, Latvian performers and pedagogues - V. Khodukin, J. Ryzhov and J. Peshkov. R. Sviackevičius was elected the chairman of the Council, and E. Gabnys - the artistic director. The Council of Accordion Music of Baltic States saw its goal in promulgation of the accordion music in Baltic States, and ensuring the regular organisation of the festivals in Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. V. Livv and H. Rebene were the pioneers in Estonia. Under the guidance of the latter the festivals were organised in a castle and featured a number of well-known international performers (F. Marocco, Warsaw Accordion Quintet, A. Skliarov, and quintet Concertino). The first Latvian festivals, held in Daugavpils, also involved competitions for music college students. Later Latvians started organising another festival and competition for soloists and ensembles in Limbaži (Northern Latvia).
The LAA initiated the founding of LAA branches in Kaunas and other cities. Presently, the LAA involves about 100 members. According to LAA's statute, the elections are held every 5 years. At the first assembly, held at the Vilnius City Hall on March 19, 1999, R. Sviackevičius was elected the president, and Prof. E. Gabnys - the artistic director. The purpose of the assemblies is to review the five-year work, and to elect the LAA's president, artistic director and board.
In 2003, the LAA founded the youth division and appointed Raimondas Sviackevičius as its chairman. The members include K. Žebrauskaitė, A.Balachovičius, E. Vincelovič, T. Vaišė, I. Lošakevič, I. Akramavičiūtė among others. The LAA board aims to pass organisation of the festival to the youth division, it also encourages its new cell to implant new ideas and develop new projects, widen the horizons and geography of the festival, and scout for young and promising performers.