Kaskados (Piano trio)

Sound recordings
Sound recordings

The Kaskados Piano Trio officially started playing together in 1997, yet its members, Albina Šikšniūtė (piano), Rusnė Mataitytė (violin) and Edmundas Kulikauskas (cello), had been known as soloists and members of other chamber music ensembles well before that. Joining together into a regularly performing ensemble, with a repertoire demanding highly professional skills, was a crucial and ambitious step in the careers of the three musicians, given their active participation in other spheres of musical life. All three musicians are closely related by the experience they gained during their studies at approximately the same time at the Moscow Conservatoire. Mataitytė and Šikšniūtė performed as a duet during their five-year postgraduate studies at the Conservatoire. The birth of the Kaskados Piano Trio resulted naturally from the interaction between the times and the experience and the inner demand to play in an ensemble. The trio has consequently become one of the most active chamber music ensembles in Lithuania. It has given numerous performances at the main Lithuanian festivals, such as Gaida, the St. Christopher Summer Festival, the Thomas Mann Festival and the Pažaislis Festival. The trio has also appeared in Austria, Germany, Russia and Sweden. The year 2002 was particularly successful as the Trio won the First Prize at the 9th International Johannes Brahms Chamber Music Competition in Portschach, Austria. In 2005 they were awarded the Golden Disc prize by the Lithuanian Musical Society.

Lithuanian audiences follow the Kaskados Piano Trio with great interest and anticipation, as it prepares a number of new programmes each year. As well as chamber music, the Trio participates in other projects having performed, for instance, the solo parts in Beethoven’s Concerto for violin, cello and piano in C major with the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra. Their most recent (2005) concert performances include a cycle of complete Beethoven’s trios and an innovative project combining contemporary Lithuanian music with on-stage improvisations by famous Lihuanian artist Stasys Eidrigevicius.

The repertoire of the Trio embraces different genres from all periods, among which Romantic music is played with particular enthusiasm. In addition to this, much of their interpretational energy has been devoted to contemporary Lithuanian music. As a rule, new pieces by Lithuanian composers appear in their repertoire every year. A number of composers appreciate the professional skills and artistic imagination of the Kaskados Piano Trio: Loreta Narvilaitė and Algirdas Martinaitis have written new compositions for the ensemble, whereas Osvaldas Balakauskas, Feliksas Bajoras and Bronius Kutavičius, Arvydas Malcys have made transcriptions of their earlier works for the Trio.

The distinct style of the Kaskados Piano Trio, widely acknowledged by both Lithuanian and foreign critics, encompasses harmony and integrity, striking combination of expressive approaches, strict stylistic orientation, deep understanding of the sonoric quality of all three instruments, and precise and firm technique.

The pianist Albina Šikšniūtė is a graduate of the National M.K. Čiurlionis School of Arts and the Moscow Conservatoire, where she studied under Professor Drąsutienė and Professor Nosov, respectively She has won prizes at international piano competitions in the Czech Republic (1977) and France (1999). Albina Šikšniūtė has given recitals and performed with chamber music ensembles and chamber orchestras from Vilnius, Prague, Moscow and Alma Ata. She has appeared in concert halls in Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Turkey and Latvia. Since 1991, as a soloist and as a member of chamber music ensembles, she has participated regularly at the annual international festival Ost-West Musikfest in Austria. In 1995, she recorded a CD of three of Bach’s clavier concertos with the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Saulius Sondeckis. Another CD was released in collaboration with Mataitytė, Zimmermann and Kulikauskas, and includes works by Osvaldas Balakauskas. Šikšniūtė combines her concert activities with teaching at the National M.K. Čiurlionis School of Arts and at the Lithuanian Academy of Music; her students have participated in numerous international competitions. She also teaches at the summer masterclasses for children in Krems am der Donau, Austria.

The violonist Rusnė Mataitytė graduated from the National M.K. Čiurlionis School of Arts (under Professor Radovich) and the Moscow P. Tchaikovsky Conservatoire (under Professor Valeri Klimov) and also completed postgraduate studies their under Professor Igor Bezrodny. She has won prizes at the David Oistrach and Ludwig Spohr international violin competitions. For a number of years, she was the leader of the Gottingen Symphony Orchestra and the Gottingen Chamber Orchestra in Germany. Mataitytė has given concerts in Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Austria, Yugoslavia and Greece. Leading contemporary Lithuanian composers Algirdas Martinaitis,Osvaldas Balakauskas and British composer Sadie Harrison have written violin concertos dedicated to Rusne, which she premiered with the Lithuanian National Symphony and St. Christopherus Chamber Orchestras. She appeared at festivals in Newbury and Aldeburgh in Great Britain and Europa Musicale in Germany, and gave concerts at the Carnegie Hall in New York and St.John’s Smith Square in London. She has participated in the recording of three CDs released by Proud Sound, ASV (England) and BIS (Sweden). Rusne has been a member of the Tate Ensemble (London) and, since 2002, of the Gaida ensemble (Vilnius).

The cellist Edmundas Kulikauskas studied at the National M.K. Čiurlionis School of Arts under Domas Svirskis and Romanas Armonas, and at the Moscow P.Tchaikovsky Conservatoire under Professor Shachovskaya. From 1986 to 1989, he was a cello teacher at the National M.K. Čiurlionis School of Arts, and later continued as a member of the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra and the Lithuanian String Quartet. Since 1996 he is the principal cello of the National Symphony Orchestra and also the lead cellist in the Gaida chamber music ensemble. Edmundas collaborated in a number of CD recordings, took part in numerous concerts in Europe, Japan and Israel, and recently performed with the Ysaye Quartet at the Vilnius Festival.

Lithuanian Composers

Feliksas Bajoras

Momenti sacri

Osvaldas Balakauskas

"Nine Springs"



Vidmantas Bartulis

Paskutiniųjų giesmės (Songs of the Lasts)

Julius Gaidelis

Piano trio

Vytautas Germanavičius

Crumbled Eyes

Jurgis Juozapaitis

Viceno (2006)

Algimantas Kubiliunas

Five pieces for string quartet

Bronius Kutavičius

"Stasys‘ Eight Miniatures"

Arvydas Malcys

Blacktorn Eyes

Algirdas Martinaitis


Loreta Narvilaitė

"When the Foot-bridge is Gone I will cross the River"

Juozas Pakalnis

Fortepijoninis trio

Anatolijus Šenderovas

Song and Dance for piano trio

Foreign Composers

Ludwig van Beethoven

Concerto in C major, op. 56

Piano trio in D major, op. 7 No. 5

Piano Trio No.1 in E flat major, op.1 no.1

Trio in D major (after Symphony No. 2)

Trio No.2 in G major, op.1 no. 2

Trio No.3 in C minor, op. 1 no. 3

Trio No.4 in B flat major, op. 11 “ Gassenhauer”

Trio No.5 in D major, op.70 no.1 “Ghost”

Trio No.6 in E flat major, op.70 no.2

Trio No.7 in B flat major, WoO.38

Trio No.8 in one movement in B flat major, WoO 39

Trio No.9 in E flat major WoO.38

Trio No. 10 in E flat major Op. 44

Piano Trio No.11 in G major major, op.121a.” 10 Variations on Wenzel Muller’s song

Piano Trio in E flat major, op.38

Triosatz in E flat major

Johannes Brahms

Piano trio in C major, op. 87

Piano Trio in B major, Op.8

Piano Trio in C minor Op.101

Piano Quartet in G minor, op.25

Piano Quartet in C minor, op.60

Antonin Dvorak

Piano trio in C minor, op. 90 Dumki

Piano Quartet in E flat major Op.87

Gabriel Faure

Piano trio op. 120

Jean Françaix

Piano trio in D major

Sadie Harrison

”The Bride’s journey in three songs and a memory”

The triple concerto for violin, cello and piano

Joseph Haydn

Piano trio in G major a l’ Ongarese

Olivier Messiaen

“Quatour pour la fin du temps” for clarinet, violin, cello and piano

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Piano trio in G major, KV 564

Arvo Part

Mozart – Adagio ( in memoriam Oleg Kagan)

Maurice Ravel

Piano trio in A minor

Camille Saint-Saens

Piano trio in F major, op. 18

Dmitri Schostakovich

Piano trio op. 67

Franz Schubert

Piano trio in B flat Major, op. 99

Robert Schumann

Piano trio in F major, op. 80

Dmitri Shostakovich

Seven romances on poems by Alexander Blok, Op. 127 for soprano and piano trio

Bedřich Smetana

Piano trio in G minor, op.15

Toru Takemitsu

„Between Tides“

Pyotr Tchaikovsky

Piano Trio Op. 50, "In memory of a Great Artist"

Concert in Vilnius, 30.03.2014 - part I.

Niels Gade / Piano Trio in F Major 1st mov

Niels Gade / Piano Trio in F Major 2nd mov

Niels Gade / Piano Trio in F Major 3rd mov

Loreta Narvilaite / Lietus lyja toli nuo musu (I part)

Concert at the Museum of Applied Art, 03 30 2014

JOSEPH HAYDN – Piano Trio in C minor, Hob. XV/13;

Piano Trio in B flat major, Hob. XV/38

FELIX MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY – Piano Trio in D minor, op. 49


XIII International Contemporary Music Festival IŠ ARTI, Kaunas State Philharmonic Hall


Daiva Rokaitė I've drifted apart, gone far away (2008, premiere)

Dalia Kairaitytė Music Downstream (2008, premiere)

Vladas Švedas Lithuanian Rhapsody (1974, premiere)

Vytautas Germanavičius Psalms for the Unborn (or Returning Home...) (2008, premiere)

Antanas Kučinskas Back to the Future (2008, premiere)

Algirdas Martinaitis Short history lesson for adults (2008, premiere)


Piano trio KASKADOS

Rusnė Mataitytė – violin

Edmundas Kulikauskas - cello

Albina Šikšniūtė – piano


Petras Bingelis

Concert at the Museum of Applied Art, October 29, 2009

International Contemporary Music Festival GAIDA


Between Tides


Crumbled Eyes (premiere, festival commission)



Five pieces for string quartet


New work for string quartet (premiere)


New work for string quartet and piano (premiere)


Newwork for choir, string quartet and piano (premiere, festival commission)






JAUNA MUZIKA Choir of Vilnius Municipality

Artistic Director and Conductor VACLOVAS AUGUSTINAS

Concert at the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Hall, March 25, 2009

"Cascades of Distant Rainfall"


Piano Trio in F major, Op. 42


The Rain Falls Far from Us for piano trio and percussion


Piano Trio in E flat major, Op. 100, D929

Concert at the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Hall, 19 11 2008


Song and Dance for piano trio


Seven romances on poems by Alexander Blok, Op. 127 for soprano and piano trio


Piano Trio, Op. 50, "In memory of a Great Artist"

KASKADOS Piano Trio:










Enimauskirche am Brasselsberg! Drei Musiker- jeder für sich ein höchst versierter meister seines Instruments und zusammen ein Trio außerordentlicher Güte: das Vilnius-Klaviertrio, dem kasseler Publikum spätestens seit dem letztjährigen kaskados-Festival bekannt, überzeugte am Dienstag mit musikalischer Frische, inniger Abstimmung und homogenem Klang. Schuberts Klaviertrio B-dur op. 99, D 898 bildete den gewichtigen Auftakt des Abends. Mit unversteller Musizierfreude bewiesen Rusne Mataityte (Violine), Albina Siksniute (Klavier) und Edmundas Kulikauskas (Violoncello), daß Musik auf höchstem Niveau fur die Kunstler nicht nur Konzentration, Arbeit und Schweiß bedeutet muß, sondern ebenso auch Spaß und begeisterung. Galant sausten sie gemeinsam durch den ersten Satz, atmeten große Bögen und kantable linien im zweiten, nahmendas Scherzo nicht allzu ernst, um sich mit dem Finalsatz, diesem unkonventionellen und eigentlich nicht seinen namen verdienenden Rondo, bravourös in die Pause zu verabschieden. Im zweiten Teil stand mit Schostakowitschs trio Nr. 2 op. 67 etwas schwerere kost für das Publikum bevor, und was die ersten Flagelett-und Sordino-Töne der beiden Streicher sowie die achweren Akkorde des Klaviers versprachen, konnten die folgenden intensiven Minuten ohne Abstriche einlösen: Hier waren die drei fast noch tiefer in ihrem Element. Hier gab es kaum noch Unsicherheiten in der Abstimmung, keine intonatorichen Probleme oder Unkonzertriertheiten, wie sie das Schubert-Trio zwar nicht getrübt, aber doch sympathisch menshlich gemacht hatten. Auf Wiedersehen im nächsten Jahr!

Christoph Heimbucher, “Hessische Niedersachsische Allgemeine”, 1999 09 23

Das Vilnius-Klavier-trio bezauberte das Publikum beim zweiten „Kaskados-festival”. War das ein sympathisches Konzert in der Klassik, Romantik, Moderne: Diesen Dreiklang der Epochen bot das „Vilnius-Klaviertrio” aus der litauischen Hauptstadt beim konzert des Festivals „kaskados” in der Emmauskirche am Brasselsberg. Und es wurde kein mittelmäßiges Vorstadtkonzert, sondern ein musikalischer Genuss, wie man ihn nicht oft zu hören bekommt. ZARBITTERE MELODIE Schon das eingangs gespielte Klaviertrio „All’Ongarese” von Joseph Klassik, Romantik, Moderne: Diesen Dreiklang der Epochen bot das „Vilnius-Klaviertrio” aus der litauischen Hauptstadt beim konzert des Festivals „kaskados” in der Emmauskirche am Brasselsberg. Und es wurde kein mittelmäßiges Vorstadtkonzert, sondern ein musikalischer Genuss, wie man ihn nicht oft zu hören bekommt. ZARBITTERE MELODIE Schon das eingangs gespielte Klaviertrio „All’Ongarese” von Joseph Haydn, das durch vielfältiges Kolorit überrascht, geriet zu einem prächtigen Beispiel wohl abgestimmten Musizierens Nehmen wir nur den zweiten Satz: Wunderbar, wie dort das Klavier (Albina Siksniute)nach seiner heiteren Einleitung der Violine (Rusne Mataityte) den Platz für eine zartbittere melodie räumt. Dem Cello (Edmundas Kulikauskas) fehlen hier, bedingt durch die gepflogenheiten der Epoche, noch die Entfaltungsmöglichkeiten – was sich gleich zu beginn von Tschaikowskis einzigem Klaviertrio ändern solte. Lyrisch und kraftvoll gleichermaßen beginnt das opulente zweisätzige Werk (das Tschaikowski dem Andenken an den Freund Nikolai Rubinstein widmete) mit einer eingängigen Cello-Kantilene. In erneut großer Ausgewogenheit entfalteten die drei Litauer das üppige Sück, setzten den Effekt ein, ohne ihn zum Selbstzweck werden zu lassen-was bei Tschaikowski eine nicht geringe Disziplin voraussetzt Zum Höhepunkt wurde dann auch nicht eine der Forte-Stellen, sondern das innige Duett von geige und cello in der Mitte des ersten satzes. Zwischen Haydn und Tschaikowski hatte das „Vilnius-Klaviertrio” ein werk des litauischen Komponisten Feliksas bajoras gesetzt. Das „Momenti sacri” („Heilige Momente”) überschriebene Klaviertrio arbeitet mit einzelnen spröden kompositorischen Bausteinen, die von Instrument zu Instrument weitergereicht weren und stets neunen Irritationen oder Störungen der anderen ausgesetzt sind: Der cellist trommelt auf dem Holz, die Geigerin gluckst, stampft mit dem füs oder wirft Silben ein, die Pianistin zupft die saiten mit der Hand. Eine Aufgabe, die ein hochkonzerntriertes Vorgehen forderte,, und die drei Musiker aus Vilnius lösten auch dies überzeugend. Wo freilich das Heilige abgeblieben war, ist nicht zu sagen.

Johannes Mundry, „Hessische Niedersachsische Allgemeine

"Having performed music by Bajoras, Balakauskas and Kutavičius, the trio "Kaskados" is able to develop a unique conception of contemporary scores, which (like today) are usually interpreted with precise techniques and a romantic worldview. From this a vivid act of music is born, embracing the concept of emotional urgency, convincing timbre and logical form… The musicians from "Kaskados" do not deny being most faithful to the romantic perception and musical aesthetics vibrating within it. Thus the second part of their concert was also given meaning by Dvorak’s monumental Trio in e-minor… Willing to conceive constructively the dramaturgy of the five developed parts of this trio, the performers have to concentrate multifaceted ensemble skills, courageously reveal an individual imagination. The ensemble that has plenty of these qualities has revealed convincingly the beauty of the multilayered trio by Dvorak…thus demonstrating themselves as experienced interpreters of romantic music who can see its more and more distant horizons."

Vytautė Markeliūnienė, "7 meno dienos", 2003

"The enchanting tone of Rusnė Mataitytė’s violin, the subtleties of Edmundas Kulikauskas’ cello, the optimistic virtuosity of Albina Šikšniūtė’s piano - this is "Kaskados", who also combined Franz Schubert, Tchaikovsky and Haydn that evening with their energetic interpretations."

Edmundas Gedgaudas, "7 meno dienos", 25 07 2003