Wife of Lithuanian president keeps music, politics separate

April 12, 1991|By Stephen Wigler | Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic

Lithuanian Opera stars

Where: Lithuanian Hall, Hollins and Parkin streets.

When: April 14 at 2 p.m.

Tickets: $12 at the door. A buffet luncheon at noon is an additional $8.

Call: 685-5787.

Very few first ladies are professional pianists and even fewer of them are kept from practicing because of the necessity of carrying food behind barricades to their president husbands.

That has been the situation for the last six months for Grazina Landsbergiene, the wife of Vytautas Landsbergis, the president of the embattled Baltic republic of Lithuania, which declared its independence of the Soviet Union earlier this year and whose streets have been violated by Soviet tanks.

"If I had to tell you all the things I have seen in the past year, you would not believe it," Mrs. Landsbergiene said yesterday at a reception at the World Trade Center that was organized by Baltimore's Free Lithuania Committee. She is on a coast-to-coast tour of the United States with two stars of the Lithuanian Opera, tenor Virgilijus Norieka and soprano Irena Milkeviciute. They will perform Sunday at Lithuanian Hall.

Mrs. Landsbergiene, who spoke through an interpreter, insisted that she "was a musician, not a politician" and that she would be more comfortable "if my husband were here to answer questions." She said that, while she never forgot the situation of her embattled homeland and its citizens, it was a pleasure to concentrate on music, which knew no political differences.

Mrs. Landsbergiene graduated from the Lithuanian Conservatory of Music in Vilnius in 1959 and was for many years the chief rehearsal pianist of both her country's state opera and ballet companies. Asked if a Lithuanian piano school existed and how it fit in between the national schools of the Poles and the Russians, she smiled.

"There is not much difference between Lithuanian, Russian or Polish pianists any more," she said. "There has been an internationalization of styles. Because music is not like politics, all that matters is how talented you are."

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