Stasys Simkus

Šimkus, Stasys


Born Jan. 23 (Feb. 4), 1887, in the village of Motiskiai, near Kaunas; died Oct. 15, 1943, in Kaunas. Lithuanian composer, conductor, and public figure.

In 1908 Šimkus graduated from the Warsaw Institute of Music, where he had studied organ; in 1914 he graduated from the St. Petersburg Conservatory, where he had studied composition with A. K. Liadov, M. O. Shteinberg, and J. Vitol. He pursued advanced study at the Leipzig Conservatory in 1921 and 1922. In 1923, Simkus founded in Klaipeda a school of music that played a major role in musical education in Lithuania; among his students were J. Švedas and A. Baužinskas.

Šimkus made his most important contribution to the development of a national musical culture by directing choruses and by collecting, arranging, and popularizing folk songs. His own songs for solo voice and for chorus are based on folk music and have become part of the repertoire of many musical ensembles in the republic. Šimkus’ most important compositions include the opera The Village Near the Estate (1942), the cantata Farewell to the Homeland (1916), and the symphonic poem Nieman (1930). The Klaipeda School of Music has been named in honor of Šimkus.

References in periodicals archive ?
Pemkus also collected the works of the first Lithuanian composers: compositions by Vincas Kudirka and Ceslovas Sasnauskas, songs and hymns by Juozas Naujalis and Stasys Simkus, operas and operettas by Mikas Petrauskas, also choral, chamber, and symphony music by Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis, and the most important pieces by Juozas Gruodis.
It also gives us knowledge of the best singers: Mikas and Kipras Petrauskas, Juozas Babravicius, Antanas Sabaniauskas, and Antanas Vanagaitis; the orchestras: Lietuvikas maineriu ("Lithuanian Mainers"), Sargyba ("Guard"), Lietuviu tautiskas benas ("Lithuanian National Band"), Worcesterio lietuviu ("Worcester Lithuanians"), Respublikonu gvardijos ("Republican Guards"), Brooklyno lietuviu ("Brooklyn Lithuanians"), Jezavito radijo ("Radio of Jezavitas"), the orchestras under direction of Misha Hofmekler and Daniel Pomeranc, Kaimieciu benas ("Countrymen band"), Kauno karikas benas ("Kaunas Military Band"); the choir of Stasys Simkus and the Queen of Angels Parish Choir; as well as the musical entertainment of that time.
One episode that deserves detailed and wider attention is that of the triangle formed by the Czech Nonet - Jeronimas Kacinskas -- Alois Haba In 1924-1928 the Czech Nonet led by Emil Leichner was active at the music conservatory just founded by Stasys Simkus in the port town of Klaipeda The members of the nonet made important contributions to the development of instrumental play among Lithuanian musicians.