"Lithuania-the crossroad of Europe"
About Mr. Landsbergis
Vytautas LANDSBERGIS was born on October 18, 1932 in Kaunas, Lithuania. The son of architect Vytautas Landsbergis - Žemkalnis and eye doctor Ona Jablonskytė - Landsbergienė. In Kaunas, he completed gymnasium and the J. Gruodis School of Music. In 1950, Mr. Landsbergis entered the Lithuanian Conservatoire in Vilnius. He graduated from it in 1955 and has lived in Vilnius ever since. Mr. Landsbergis began his career as an educator while a student in Vilnius, from 1952, and remained in the teaching profession until his election as President of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania in 1990.
He has lectured at the M. K. Čiurlionis Music School, the Lithuanian Conservatoire, the Vilnius Pedagogical Institute and at affiliated Conservatoire departments in Klaipėda. Mr. Landsbergis defended his doctoral dissertation in 1968 and from 1978 to 1990, was a professor of music history at the Lithuanian Academy of Music. In 1994 he defended his thesis of doctor habilis there. Mr. Landsbergis has written ten books in musicology, art and music history (primarily monographs on the work of Lithuanian artist and composer M. K. Čiurlionis). He edited scores and recorded long - plays of Lithuanian piano music. Five books of political texts and one of poetry also belong to Mr. Landsbergis. He was also well known for his role in community affairs: for a long time he was a member of the Executive Board and Secretariat of the Lithuanian Composers' Union and of other science and art councils as well as editorial boards.
He continues to be president of the M. K. Čiurlionis Society. Mr. Landsbergis has received awards for his outstanding contributions to the music field among which is the 1975 Lithuanian (= soviet administration) State Prize for his monograph on the life and work of M. K. Čiurlionis. Since 1995 he is Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the International M. K. Čiurlionis piano and organ competition. Mr. Landsbergis is also Chairman of the non-profit organization "M. K. Čiurlionis Competition".
On June 3, 1988 Mr. Landsbergis was elected to the initiative Group of the Lithuanian Reform Movement "Sąjūdis", and during Sąjūdis Founding Congress on October 22–23 to the Sąjūdis Seimas (Assembly) and Seimas Council. On November 25, 1988, Vytautas Landsbergis was elected Chairman of the Sąjūdis Seimas Council. Since December 15, 1991, he holds the title of Honorary President of Sąjūdis. On May 1, 1993 the Lithuanian Conservative Party - Homeland Union was founded and Mr. Landsbergis was elected its chairman, reelected in 1995.
On March 26, 1989, Mr. Landsbergis was elected in the city of Panevėžys to represent Lithuania in the USSR People's Deputies Congress. Following his election to the Supreme Council of Lithuania on February 24, 1990, Mr. Landsbergis was elected on March 11, 1990 to lead the Council as its President and head of state, and presided over the session of Parliament which proclaimed the restoration of the independent Republic of Lithuania that day.
Mr. Landsbergis was one of the leaders of the Council of the Baltic States (1990 – 1992) and in 1990 – 1991 was Chairman of the Commission for the New Constitution of the Lithuanian Republic, as well as of the State Delegation for the negotiations with the USSR. Under his leadership Lithuania resisted the armed violence and blockade of the USSR and achieved the international recognition for its restored independence and also an agreement with Russia to withdraw Russian troops from Lithuania.
After the elections in October – November, 1992 Mr. Landsbergis became a Member of Parliament and was then elected leader of the opposition in the Lithuanian Seimas (Parliament). He was also a member of the Lithuanian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe as well as a member of the Lithuanian to the delegation to the Baltic Assembly.
During the elections in October – November 1996, Vytautas Landsbergis again became a Member of Parliament, and on November 25, 1996 he was elected Chairman of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania.
In 1991 Mr. Landsbergis received the Norwegian People's Peace Prize for his role in the restoration of Lithuanian independence, the Award of Foundation du Future (France), the International Freedom Foundation's (UK) 1991 Freedom Award. In 1992 he received Herman Ehlers Prize, and in 1994, the 9-th International Ramon Liull Prize of the Catalonian Culture Congress Foundation. With the help of the Norwegian People's Peace Prize, Mr. Landsbergis established the Vytautas Landsbergis Foundation, a non-profit, charitable organization dealing with the care and education of handicapped children and young performing artists.
Mr. Landsbergis holds a Doctor of Laws from Loyola University in Chicago (USA), a Doctor of Humanities from Weber State University in Ogden (USA) and a Doctor of Philosophy from Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas (Lithuania). In 1992 Mr. Landsbergis was given honorary degree of Doctor of Laws by Yale University (USA).
Mr. Landsbergis is married, with three children. Mrs. Gražina Ručytė - Landsbergienė is a well known Lithuanian pianist and Associate Professor of the Lithuanian Academy of Music. His daughters Jūratė and Birutė are also musicians, and his son, Vytautas, is a writer and film - maker.