rokas zubovas

Michael AskillThe pianist Rokas Zubovas, a faculty member at the Piano Department of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre since 2000, for six years (1994-2000) taught in the Music Department of Saint Xavier University in Chicago, Illinois. A winner of the Frinna Awerbuch International Piano Competition in New York and the M. K. Ciurlionis International Piano Competition in Vilnius, Lithuania, he has appeared in recitals and at various festivals throughout the United States, Canada, Argentina, Uruguay, Switzerland, Norway, France, Italy, Greece, Lithuania, Russia, Bulgaria, and other countries of Europe. He also frequently performs in a piano duo with his wife, pianist Sonata Deveikyte-Zuboviene and also as a chamber musician with various soloists and ensembles.

Born in Lithuania, Zubovas started his piano studies in Kaunas, under Rimante Šekšnyte. He received his undergraduate degree from the Lithuanian Academy of Music under Prof. J. Karnavicius, and later earned a Master of Music degree from DePaul University in Chicago under Prof. D. Paperno. In addition, he has studied extensively in Zurich, Switzerland, at the International Heinrich Neuhaus Institute where his teacher was pianist Esther Yellin. In the United States, Rokas Zubovas also studied with pianists Edward Auer and Andrius Kuprevicius.

Occupying a special place in his repertoire are the works of his great-grandfather, the famous Lithuanian composer and artist Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis (1875-1911). He has developed and presented in many cities of the United States, Canada, Norway, France, Italy, Russia, Argentina, and Uruguay lecture-recitals combining music, literary works and paintings of M. K. Ciurlionis: The World of M. K. Ciurlionis and Ciurlionis: In Pursuit of Soundscapes. He has also recorded piano works by Ciurlionis for LAFA and Bomba Records.

This was a most enlightening lecture-recital and possibly without precedent within recent memory. Mr. Zubovas performed beautifully-shaped melodic lines and bravura passages with astounding ease. (Piano Teachers Congress News, New York, 1999)

Pianist Rokas Zubovas recreates majestic, mysterious and at the same an time intimate world of Ciurlionis' artistic images with great expression and mastery, time and again inspiring listeners to fall in love with our great artist. (Draugas, Chicago, 1998)

Rokas Zubovas is not only an accomplished performer of the piano works of Ciurlionis, but also an insightful explorer of musical associations in the artist's paintings. I venture to say that with his piano performance, analytic thought, and elucidative explanations, Rokas Zubovas is a complete interpreter, the 'Magister' to the full extent of what Herman Hesse has signified in his novel "The Glass Bead Game". (Los Angeles, 1998)

To open Sunday's concert, Rokas Zubovas played four Curlionis preludes, which revealed the composer's kinship to Chopin but also his own tender and stormy character. Zubovas gave vivid performances of each prelude, delineating the expressive worlds through transparent unfolding of thematic ideas and inner voices. (Cleveland, The Plain Dealer, November 14, 2000)

Michael Askill
Dr. Darius Kucinskas, Rokas Zubovas & Vidmantas Labasauskas (Director, Technologija, Kaunas, Lithuania) examining Dr. Kucinskas's new book, the catalogue of Ciurlionis music manuscripts.