Described by Daniel Barenboim as “a highly gifted pianist and musician,” pianist Gabrielius Alekna has built a prolific performance and recording career bridging the cultures of his birth country of Lithuania and his present home of the United States. After earning over one dozen top prizes in international competition early in his career—including 2nd Prize at the Beethoven International Piano Competition in Vienna—he has established himself as a soloist of international renown. Performances include with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra (RSO Wien), Juilliard Orchestra, the New Amsterdam and Adelphi Symphony Orchestras (New York), Bilkent Symphony Orchestra (Turkey), the Belarus State Symphony Orchestra (Minsk), and with nearly every major orchestra and ensemble in Lithuania.
Alekna’s distinctive programs and prolific piano repertoire have taken him to 15 countries, including solo recitals in Carnegie Hall, Washington, D.C.’s National Gallery, the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, both Vienna’s Musikverein and Bösendorfer Saal, and Finland’s Temppeliaukion kirkko. Broadcast recordings of his performances can be found on BBC, WQXR, WWFM, CBC Music, Österreich 1, Bulgarian National Radio, and numerous EuroClassic radio programs.
An avid studio musician, Alekna’s discography prominently features Lithuanian contemporary and 20th-Century modernist piano repertoire, reflecting his strong affinity for the country’s remarkable avant-garde composers both past and present. In early 2021, he released a new recording of “Chiaroscuro Trilogy”, a work for piano and string orchestra by Žibuoklė Martinaitytė on the Ondine label. The recording has been praised in numerous reviews and features in publications such as the New York Times, Gramophone and BBC Music Magazines. Ms. Martinaitytė, a decorated composer and Guggenheim Fellow, wrote and dedicated the Trilogy to Mr. Alekna, who premiered it with the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra in the 2017 Gaida festival.
This year, Alekna is set to release the singular Lithuanian-American composer Vytautas Bacevičius’ Piano Concerti Nos. 1 and 2, completing the cycle after his 2015 recordings of Nos. 3 and 4—all on the Naxos label. On British label Toccata Classics, he has released two volumes in an ongoing series of the same composer’s solo piano works. In all, these critically acclaimed albums contain the most comprehensive Bacevičius catalogue of any pianist, including many premiere recordings. His collaborators in the studio include five time Grammy-winning producer Judith Sherman as well as two Grammy-nominated musicians: pianist Ursula Oppens and conductor Christopher Lyndon-Gee with the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra.
In live performance, many of Gabrielius’ solo recitals and orchestral appearances have come in European and American festivals such as Liszt in Vredenburg (Utrecht, Netherlands), Music Festival of the Hamptons and Ridotto (New York), Piano Century at Alice Tully Hall (New York), Gaida and Vilnius (Lithuania), and Europeisches Musikfest Muensterland (Germany). As a chamber musician, he has shared stages with the cellists Caroline Stinson, Ann Alton, and Zvi Harel, percussionist Joe Pereira, violinist Bartlomiej Niziol, baritone Modestas Sedlevičius, and the Vilnius, Čiurlionis, Kaunas, and Mettis String Quartets.
Born and raised in Vilnius, Gabrielius is the first Lithuanian to receive a Doctorate of Musical Arts from The Juilliard School, where he also earned both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree under the tutelage of Jerome Lowenthal. Before attending Juilliard, he studied in Lithuania’s premier arts institutions, the National M. K. Čiurlionis School for the Arts and the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre.
Gabrielius has a special interest in education and development of young talent. He co-founded the Birštonas Summer Arts Academy for young musicians and served as Visiting Associate Professor at the Music Academy of Vytautas Magnus University (Kaunas, Lithuania) where he also assumed a role of Program Coordinator for Collaborative Activities with the Juilliard School. He has also contributed to shaping governmental arts education policy as a member of a Lithuanian Research Council commission tasked with establishing doctoral programs in the arts. The resulting policy remains in higher education to this day.
Gabrielius is based in New York City, where he serves as both Adjunct Faculty at CUNY’s Brooklyn College and as substitute faculty at The Juilliard School. In 2023, he joined the Recording Academy / Grammys as a voting member.