Modestas Pitrėnas


Photo credits: Tomas Adomavičius

A good conductor must inspire.

Modestas Pitrėnas

Back when I was sixteen, I founded a choir called Psalmos. This experience allowed me to skip teenage rebelliousness and other temptations. I caught up with all that later.

I chose the life of a musician because music chose me. I was contemplating the possibility of exact sciences or medicine, but I accidentally entered a musical environment that ignited and inflamed my passion for music.

To be at the front of an orchestra means to be both strong and weak, both stern and witty, both demanding and willing to compromise, both rational and emotional, both prophetic and schizophrenic – it’s a bit like communicating with children.

I’m happy that I don’t need to wave elbows or bang my bloodied head against a door in my life. It seems as if, before I start to do anything, I already know that everything’s going to be okay. This works both in public and private life.

A feeling of responsibility is essential because it’s a sign of maturity.

I’m a perfectionist, so I always try not to do anything half-heartedly, mediocre, superficial or without drive. It’s not easy and it’s got its own, usually high, price, but it’s well worth it in the end.

When I’m surrounded by people, I feel a sense of responsibility. Being a conductor means you are constantly on the radar. Leadership in itself is not so stressful, but it obliges me to never cross the line of decency, discretion or morality, either in public or among friends. All of these measures do not so much constrain the inner beast as help tame and pet it.

Cooking is relaxing for me. But sometimes I need a rest from that too.

I wouldn’t lie if I said that I’m both lazy and a workaholic. Luckily, this doesn’t interfere with my quality of life one bit.

Fatherhood taught me… umm… Somehow I think the greatest lessons of parenthood are still in the future for me.

Routine. It definitely exists – but not for me. If destructive routine has invaded some aspect of your life, you can’t let it fester. On the other hand, my entire life I have been encouraged to cultivate positive habits – brush my teeth, make my bed, do my own laundry… But no, it’s not for me.

When I’m travelling, I’m always trying to work. Work not only sets me free but also allows me to make sense of my time that I spend on the road. It’s awesome to reply to interview questions while travelling!

I don’t believe it’s possible to make a person miserable if they themselves don’t want it – full stop.

Modestas Pitrėnas

The hobby I dedicate a lot of my time to is conducting. It’s great that it coincides with my profession. I also like relaxing by the sea, spending an evening with friends and enjoying some dreamy bittersweet spectacles inside my mind.

The thing that tires me the most is unpacking. Compared to that, I pack three times faster.

In silence, I find myself in the world and the world in myself. Maybe it sounds strange, pompous, or laced with pathos, but it’s precise and honest.

When interacting with students, I always try to set an example instead of pandering. I’ve noticed for a while now that I’m part of a different, older generation that communicates and looks at the world differently. There’s no reason to pretend or feel like a youngster and try to speak in the slang of the millennials. Much more important is to share my experience and knowledge. I haven’t yet met a single person who didn’t appreciate that.

There are only a few people who are especially close to my heart. It’s wonderful that my wife is among them.

There’s a big difference between sky and earth, human and animal, good and evil, child and adult. But sometimes that difference can be truly insignificant. But there is a real abyss between a talented person and an amateur!

I respect people who can raise their children as if they themselves were growing up independently. To a certain extent I secretly envy them.

I don’t believe in coincidences, because I believe in patterns.

Modestas Pitrėnas

I must admit that I wouldn’t know what to ask my ancestors if I had the chance. I live in the here and now, in an interesting time with a lot of tension, apocalyptic phenomena and eclecticism. I feel like a child of my own time and I have no wish to time travel. I wouldn’t ask for advice or directions from my ancestors. I want to feel and try everything myself, because more than the destination I enjoy the journey.

People I would like to thank are not only my parents and teachers, whose values have influenced me greatly, but also malevolent and envious people who have only strengthened my choices. I truly believe that every person I meet is the image of God that creates my present and future – I only need to see and feel how he or she wants to participate in my life – in a constructive or destructive manner.

The best advice I ever got is my grandmother’s words whispered to me just before her departure. After she asked how I was holding up, I started to breathlessly reel off all my activities and professional duties. After hearing me out she was silent for a moment then looked at me and eventually asked, “Dear child, but what is it all for?” Again, I wanted to start explaining about the importance and uniqueness of my work, but thankfully I had enough sense not to open my mouth and only gaze back at her in apology for my vanity.

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