Saulius Sondeckis is a Lithuanian violinist, conductor, orchestra leader and professor, People’s Artist of the USSR. Sondeckis was born in Šiauliai in 1928. He graduated from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (Vilnius Conservatory) as a violinist with Alexander Livontas in 1952 and then studied in Moscow Conservatory, while taking a master class of conducting with Igor Markevich.
Sondeckis began conducting in 1955 and in 1956 he led the Student Orchestra of the M. K. Ciurlionis School of Arts. In 1964, performing with the orchestra at the festival in Bucharest, Sondeckis was the first Lithuanian conductor who went on tour leading his own band. In 1960 he founded the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, being its artistic director and principal conductor until 2004. In addition, Saulius Sondeckis is the permanent head of the St. Petersburg State Hermitage Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the “Moscow Virtuosi” Chamber Orchestra, and Chief Conductor of the city of Patras in Greece (1999-2004).
One of the most illustrious Sondeckis’ achievements is associated with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – in particular, with all his clavier concertos executed in Vilnius, Moscow and Leningrad, and with a concert recording of the opera “Don Giovanni.”
Sondeckis is a prominent figure in contemporary classical music in Lithuania, including People’s Artist of the USSR (1980), a Laureate of the USSR State Award (1987) and winner of the Lithuania National Award (1999). He has served as a jury member of major international competitions, including Mozart in Salzburg, Tchaikovsky in Moscow and the Toscanini Competitions in Parma. He is also a member of the Herbert von Karajan Foundation in Berlin.