Celebrating 50 Years!

Upcoming events:

Lithuanian Art Songs

A Lecture - Recital by San-ky Kim and Rokas Zubovas

Friday, December 2 @7 pm

This special musical presentation will feature Dr. San-ky Kim, Fullbright scholar and Associate Professor of Voice at Texas Christian University, who has recently published an anthology of Lithuanian art songs, and Rokas Zubovas, Professor of Piano at the Vytautas Magnus University Academy of Music in Kaunas, Lithuania.

Anthology of Lithuanian Art Songs

Throughout her turbulent history, Lithuania maintained her distinctive cultural characteristics. At the beginning of the twentieth century, as Lithuania finally gained political independence, creative artistic output deeply rooted in such “Lithuanian” characteristics flourished and helped to define a national identity. Closely wedded to the grass-roots Lithuanian-speaking population, Lithuanian folk songs inspired many early Lithuanian composers and poets alike, laying the foundation for Lithuanian art songs – songs composed specifically for Lithuanian texts.

Although many volumes of Lithuanian art songs pertaining to individual composers have been published, there has never been a compilation made available to an English-speaking audience. The lecture-recital on Dec. 2 will highlight the Anthology of Lithuanian Art Songs.

Dr. San-ky Kim, Associate Professor of Voice at Texas Christian University, has compiled and edited an anthology of 24 Lithuanian art songs with English translations and a pronunciation guide with the assistance from the Fulbright foundation. The anthology also provides brief biographical notes on each composer and poet, thus giving a broad overview of flow in compositional approaches. An accomplished operatic tenor, Dr. Kim has performed in more than 40 major operatic roles throughout the world as well as in chamber and oratorio settings.  Further biographical information on Dr. Kim can be found by clicking here.

Pianist Rokas Zubovas, Professor of Piano at the Vytautas Magnus University Academy of Music in Kaunas, Lithuania edited the piano parts for the anthology. Professor Zubovas has previously thought at the Saint Xavier University in Chicago, Illinois, and Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre in Vilnius, Lithuania. As a pianist, he has performed in most countries of Europe, as well as Argentina, Uruguay, United States and Canada. An expert of music and art of the famous Lithuanian artist Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis, Prof. Rokas Zubovas has recorded all piano works by the composer, wrote articles and lectured on his art in International conferences (Belgium, Argentina, Estonia, Lithuania), performed his music internationally. Further information on Prof. Zubovas can be found by clicking here.

Admission: $15 | Members: $10
Location: Balzekas Museum, 6500 S. Pulaski Rd., Chicago, IL 60629

For more information, please call Rita at 773-582-6500

San-ky Kim
San-ky Kim
Artist Rokas Zubovas
Rokas Zubovas

The Program

The proposed presentation will be a lecture recital, with remarks by both editors of the Anthology on the historical, cultural, stylistic and other aspects of the Lithuanian art songs. The performance part of the presentation will survey the works of such early composers as M.K. Čiurlionis and Groudis, through the works of composers in diaspora, as well as the ones remaining in Lithuania during the Soviet era, to the living composers who bridged into the twenty-first century. The entire program is approximately 15 minutes of lecture, and 35 – 40 minutes of music.

  • Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis (1875 – 1911)
  • Lithuanian Folksong arrangements for piano solo
  • Mikit, lankos (1902)
  • Juozas Gruodis (1884 – 1948)
  • Rugiagėlės (1921)
  • Aguonėlės
  • Pavasario Naktis Berlyne (1922)
  • Antanas Belazaras (1913 – 1976)
  • Obelys
  • Aleksandras Kačanauskas (1882 – 1959)
  • Vai, Gražu
  • Balys Dvarionas (1904 – 1972)
  • Žvaigždutė
  • Konstancija Brundzaitė (1942 – 1971)
  • 2 Raudos
  • Algimantas Bražinskas (b. 1937)
  • Ugnelė
  • Jerominas Kačinskas (1907 – 2005)
  • Kur tavo dainos (1994)
  • Konradas Kaveckas (1905 – 1996)
  • Susitikt tave norėčiau vėlei
  • Giedrė Dabulskienė
  • Duno (2015)

Christmas Straw Ornament Workshop

Saturday, Dec. 3 @ 10 am

Learn how to create beautiful Lithuanian straw Christmas ornaments at this year's Straw Christmas Ornament Workshop at the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture.  Instead of the traditional threaded ornaments--wherein straws are threaded with string to make intricate 3-dimensional designs--instructors Donatas and Kathy Astras will teach how to score and flatten shafts of wheat straw to make wheat straw applique ornaments (see photo above). The Astrases are carrying on a tradition started by Donatas's late mother, Ursula Astras, an award-winning folk artist who for many years taught classes at the Museum. Examples of her straw ornaments will be featured at the worskhop. Celebrate and pass on this centuries-old folk art tradition to your family.

Workshop participants will be able to complete one straw ornament (4-inch diameter) and have step-by-step instructions to make more at home. The workshop includes:

  • A viewing of examples of Ursula Astras’ exquisite designs and artwork
  • Lithuanian Christmas traditions
  • A step-by-step process that you can repeat at home
  • Templates of designs
  • Guidance by Don and Kathy Astras
  • Tool kit and materials
  • Instruction in English
  • Refreshments will be served

**Note: Each participant is asked to bring a pair of scissors and a ruler.**

Workshop Location: Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture, 6500 S. Pulaski Rd., Chicago, IL 60629
Admission: $25; Museum Members $10

Additional patterns and designs by Ursula Astras as well as infomation about her life and work can be found on her website at LadyofWheat.com and can serve as templates.
For more information about the workshop, please call 773-582-6500.

Reserve Your Workshop Tickets Today!

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė ~
The Balzekas Museum's 2016 'Person of the Year'

Stanley Balzekas presents the 2016 Award of Excellence to Her Excellency Dalia Grybauskaite, President of the Lithuanian Republic

Her Excellency Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of the Republic of Lithuania, is the recipient of the Balzekas Museum's 2016 Award of Excellence. She is recognized for her courageous leadership and her dedication to a secure, democratic, and sovereign Lithuania. The award presentation took place at a private ceremony at the Lithuanian Consulate in New York on September 22, 2016, during the President's visit to attend the United Nations General Assembly. The Museum's president and founder, Stanley Balzekas, Jr., (right) presented the award.

Watch this video directly on Vimeo

President Grybauskaitė's greeting to the Balzekas Museum 50th Anniversary Award Gala attendees was recorded in Vilnius, Lithuania, and played during the Gala on October 29, 2016, in Oak Brook, Illinois.

Stanley Balzekas Receives President's highest honor
From the Left: Stanley Balzekas, Jr., Lithuanian Ambassador Rolandas Kriščiūnas, and Consul General Marijus Gudynas - Photo: Karilė Vaitkutė

Museum founder receives surprise honor at 50th Anniversary Gala

In a surprise ceremony at the Museum's 50th Anniversary Gala on October 29, 2016, Stanley Balzekas, Jr. was presented the Order of Merits, Grand Class, by Lithuania's Consul General in Chicago, the Hon. Marijus Gudynas and Lithuania's Ambassador to the United States and Mexico, His Excellency Rolandas Kriščiūnas. The order was presented on behalf of Her Excellency Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of the Republic of Lithuania, who conferred the distinction on the Balzekas Museum's founder for his life-long service to Lithuania.

The Order is reserved for citizens of Lithuania and foreign nationals for distinguished services promoting the name of Lithuania; expanding and developing international relationships; distinguished merits in social, culture, science, business, sport, the military, among other areas. The award is presented in five classes: in ascending order, Knight, Officer, Commander, Grand Commander, and Grand Cross. For his service to Lithuania, Stanley Balzekas, Jr., received the highest distinction: the Grand Cross.

This is the fourth and highest honor that Stanley Balzekas, Jr. has received from Lithuania for his work on behalf of Lithuania and Lithuanians in the United States and abroad. Read more about Stanley Balzekas here.

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2017 Tour to Lithuania & St. Petersburg

June 25 – July 7, 2017


Through Dec. 31, 2016

On Tour:

Science, Industry, and Business Library of the NYC Public Library


Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture

6500 S. Pulaski Rd., Chicago IL 60629

And on DisplacedPersons.org 

"No Home To Go To" Tour at the NYC Public Library

After a two-week run at the United Nations in late August, the "No Home to Go To: The Story of Baltic Displaced Persons 1944-52" exhibition is now on view at the Science, Industry and Business Library of the New York Public Library through Dec. 31. 2016. Read more on the DisplacedPersons.org website >>>

Photo from the exhibition opening reception at the New York Public Library

Contact Us

Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture
6500 South Pulaski Road
Chicago, IL 60629
P: (773) 582-6500

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About Us

Founded in 1966 in Chicago, Illinois, the Balzekas Museum is dedicated to the preservation and perpetuation of Lithuanian culture. The Museum celebrates the notable achievements of Lithuanian Americans, the Lithuanian nation, and Lithuanian communities world wide. The Balzekas Museum is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.