Musicologist from Japan Revived Forgotten Musical Piece by Čiurlionis

2017-10-02 17:45

“Although I stayed in Kaunas for six days, I managed to visit Čiurlionis Museum three times”, says Yumiko Nunokawa. The Japanese researcher has just defended her PhD thesis on Lithuanian genial artist Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis at Kaunas University of Technology (KTU). Her work on Čiurlionis included not only three years of thorough research, 12 exhausting flights from Tokyo to Vilnius, but also visits to the places Čiurlionis had lived, and an immediate connection with the creative works of the artist by reviving the forgotten piece of his music.

Yumiko Nunokawa has defended her doctoral thesis on Čiurlionis at KTU

The young musicologist knows many interesting facts about the Lithuanian artist, often unnoticed by local researchers.

“I can represent the outsider’s point of view, and to take interest in things that are usually left out by the traditional researchers of Čiurlionis art”, says Yumiko Nunokawa, whose research focused on contextuality of Čiurlionis art placing Lithuanian composer and painter in the context of other artists of that time.

Trying to get closer to Čiurlionis personality and creative life she visited all the places connected to him, not only in Lithuania, but also in Warsaw, Poland and St Petersburg, Russia.

Researched long-forgotten Čiurlionis’ works

The greatest discovery made by Yumiko, and the one she is proudest of is a revival of an almost forgotten piece of music created by Čiurlionis in the last years of his life.

“During my research I came across the manuscript of symphonic poem Dies Irae. Created a year before the composer’s death this musical piece was virtually forgotten. Maybe it was being considered not interesting, as at that time Čiurlionis was already suffering from psychiatric condition. So, I went to Čiurlionis museum and researched all the documents, connected to this work. I went through every page”, says Nunokawa.

Together with her PhD thesis supervisor Professor Darius Kučinskas, the Japanese musicologist explored all the musical motives of Dies Irae, trying to connect them to the previous works of the composer.

Finally, the symphonic poem was recreated for the orchestra by Lithuanian composer Giedrius Kuprevičius.

“Dies Irae was performed in Kaunas Philharmonic in 2015, after I had already left Kaunas. I am really proud of this work – we have resurrected Čiurlionis music for new life”, says Yumiko.

PhD in musicology – only in KTU

The Japanese musicologist became fascinated by Čiurlionis more than 10 years ago. After starting to communicate with the experts of Čiurlionis art, she assisted in organising musical concerts and other events of the famous Lithuanian composer and painter in Japan, wrote numerous publications on Čiurlionis’ art and its connections to Japanese culture. The independent studies finally brought Yumiko Nunokawa to Kaunas, KTU.

“We are extremely happy and proud that the dissertation on Čiurlionis was defended at KTU, which is the only university in Lithuania possessing the right to prepare the doctors of science in musicology”, says Professor Darius Kučinskas, Nunokawa’s PhD supervisor.

He is convinced that the scientific work on Lithuanian artist carried on by the Japanese musicologist is an exceptional event for Lithuanian science and beyond.

KTU is welcoming more and more doctoral students from different countries. “Our doctoral studies become more and more international, more open for people from other countries and different cultures”, says Jolita Steponkevičiūtė, project manager at KTU International Doctoral School.

Misses Kaunas and Čiurlionis

At the moment, Yumiko Nunokawa is teaching English in one of the business colleges in Tokyo. Although she left Kaunas in 2015, the Japanese researcher is always happy to visit Lithuania. Now, after the studies have ended, she is thinking about other possibilities to continue research.

Yumiko’s ideas for further research include studying connections between music of Čiurlionis and Russian composer Alexander Skryabin, also researching Lithuanian folk music.

Kaunas, according to Japanese musicologist, who has spent two years living here, has changed a lot in the last years.

“There are much more cafés in the city than it was two years ago, and the renovated Laisves alėja is really more comfortable for walking. In general, the city was calmer, now it seems that there are much more things going on”, says Yumiko.

She admits that she would gladly come back to live in Kaunas. Asked, what she misses the most, Yumiko sighs: “Čiurlionis…”

Please read the summary of Yumiko Nunokawa's dissertation Contextuality of the artistic language of M. K. Čiurlionis: links and influence of cultures online.

KTU International Doctoral School reminds: the admission to PhD studies at state-funded and self-funded places at KTU is open until 13 October 2017. For more information please write doktorantura@ktu.lt

Related news

2015-09-11 14:15
If You need an answer to the question „Why focus on Career?“ there is one given below. Katie Jarvis in her presentation will share some simple tactics and techniques that can help to focus and build Your career. Traditionally ‘Career development’ meant upward promotion. However, organisations are flatter and leaner...
2017-10-20 08:00
On Saturday 21 October Kaunas National Drama Theatre is inviting international Kaunas citizens and city guests to the theatre play “Barbara”, which is telling the story of the legendary couple – The Grand Duke of Lithuania Sigismund II Augustus and his beloved wife Barbara Radziwill – in the modern-day context. The...
2017-10-19 12:00
Earlier this week QS World University Emerging Europe and Central Asia (EECA) Rankings were announced. According to the Rankings, Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) is praised by the employers – in employer reputation criteria KTU has 91 points out of 100. Among Lithuanian universities, KTU stands out by the high...
2017-10-18 17:00
From 1 October 2017, the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU) will be represented on the European stage by a permanent Brussels office. In the development of European funding programmes, European institutions rely on networks like the ECIU for advice and expertise. As a consultant, the ECIU will be...
2017-10-17 10:30
AL-KO Vehicle Technology, the leading German supplier of high quality chassis components for trailers, leisure vehicles and light commercial vehicles, is to set up a research and product development centre in Kaunas. This technology centre will recruit 30 staff members over the next three years to develop the company’...
image
video
2017-10-16 10:45
13 October the regalia of honorary doctor of Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) were awarded to Professor Klaus Schwab, the Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, the international organisation, which is encouraging the collaboration between public and business organisations. Professor Klaus...
2017-10-13 17:00
“Science and technologies are creating the world of today. I am not worried about the environmental problems any more – I trust science”, says Eeva Pitkälä, a science journalist from Finland. She is convinced that most young researchers from various fields today are having in mind the environmental issues as the main...
image
2017-10-13 09:45
Birutė Paliakaitė, our colleague and student in Biomedical Engineering, received a scholarship of the President of the Republic of Lithuania Jonas Žemaitis for the excellence in academic studies and science in the field of technological sciences. The scholarships in five different fields are granted annually to the...