Raciunas, Antanas Jono

Račiūnas, Antanas Jono


Born Sept. 4 (17), 1905, in Užlaušai, in what is now Panevėžys Raion. Soviet composer. People’s Artist of the Lithuanian SSR (1965).

In 1933, Račiūnas graduated from the Kaunas Conservatory, where he had studied composition under J. Gruodis. He continued his studies at the Paris Conservatory from 1936 to 1939. From 1931 to 1935 he taught at the Kaunas People’s Conservatory, and from 1940 at the Kaunas Conservatory. Račiūnas was chairman of a subdepartment of the Vilnius Conservatory from 1949 to 1959; in 1958 he became a professor there. His students have included E. Balsys, V. Klóva, and V. Barkáuskas.

Račiūnas has made important contributions to the development of Lithuanian theatrical, symphonic, and instrumental chamber music. His outstanding achievement is the opera Marytė, which was staged in 1953 by the Lithuanian Theater of Opera and Ballet of Vilnius; this opera is based on an episode in the life of Marytė Melnikaitė, a Hero of the Soviet Union. Račiūnas composed eight symphonies (1933–74), the operas Three Talismans (produced in 1936) and City of the Sun (produced in 1965), the cantata Lithuania Liberated (1945), the oratorio Soviet Lithuania (1948), and numerous chamber, vocal, and instrumental works.

Račiūnas has been awarded two orders and various medals.