Toad Lane Concerts: Ugnius Pauliukonis (piano)

Date published: 10 December 2021

Ugnius Pauliukonis gave an extraordinary virtuoso piano recital at St Mary's on Wednesday 1 December.

Born in Lithuania in 1991, Ugnius studied at the Ciurlionis School of Arts in Vilnius. In 2010 he moved to Manchester to study on the RNCM International Artist Diploma course where he won numerous awards, including the college’s prestigious Gold Medal (the first ever solo recipient). Most recently, Ugnius was awarded the Silver Medal of the Worshipful Musicians Company UK as well as PDG Young Artist from Music Making UK 2018-2020, in addition to various scholarships and bursaries.

As a soloist, Ugnius has played with the BBC Philharmonic, the Lithuanian National, and the Kaunas Symphony Orchestras. He has given solo and chamber music recitals in the UK, Germany, Italy and all the Baltic states, performing in venues such as the Wigmore Hall (London), Bridgewater Hall (Manchester), and several international Music Festivals.

Ugnius is a member of the ‘Confero’ Piano Quartet, which has toured Lithuania and most recently gave their debut at the Elbphilharmonie Hall in Hamburg.

Since 2018, Ugnius has been a Co-artistic director of the ‘Trakai Classics’ music festival and concert series. He is a passionate music educator and teaches at his private piano studio in the heart of Manchester.

Although Ugnius explores the whole piano repertoire he feels an affinity with Haydn, Chopin and Debussy. Haydn is often eclipsed by Mozart and Beethoven but with such superb playing from Ugnius, the Sonata in E flat places him firmly in the first rank of Classical masters.

In contrast, the unashamedly Romantic Chopin Nocturne in E major op.62, and the wistful and atmospheric Clair de Lune of Debussy were quite mesmerising.

The tour de force however was Franz Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody no. 12, notorious for its enormous pianistic challenges such as the continuous trill sections that require acrobatic skill and agility. But it was also the immense tone that Ugnius drew from the Challen grand piano that lingers from this hugely enjoyable recital.

There is a further opportunity to see Ugnius on Saturday 5 March 2022 in a full evening concert for Rochdale Music Society at Heywood Civic Hall.

The award-winning Toad Lane Concerts are every Wednesday at 12.30pm at St Mary in the Baum, Toad Lane, Rochdale, OL16 1DZ. Entrance fee is £6. No refreshments available at the moment, but the venue is Covid-19 secure. Contact 01706 648872 for further information.

Dr Joe Dawson

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