Valerija Iljin

Valerija Iljinaite

(born 10th March, 1995 in Panevezys, Lithuania), is a Lithuanian operatic lyric soprano, song-writer, actress, musical theatre and vocal coach, music educator. Valerija was born into a family of teachers, her mother is a Russian and Lithuanian language teacher, and father - a professional musician and composer. In her early childhood Valerija’s father began teaching his daughter to play the piano. Valerija was taught English, sang in children‘s choir, and studied folk and contemporary dance at choreographer‘s Diana Ciobanu dance school. At the age of six, Valerija began learning to play the violin at the music school in Panevezys, in the class led by V. Kudukiene. During this time, she became the winner of many national and international contests, and performed with Chamber Orchestra in Panevezys. Upon deciding to continue on with her music studies in M. K. Ciurlionis arts school, and with the help of her current teacher N. Prasceviciene, Valerija discovered her talent for singing. Her first singing teacher was an expert music teacher at ‘Vilties’ progymnasium, Irena Gustiene.

The beginning of career in music - 2009

Encouraged by her teachers, Valerija began participating in many singing contests, many of which she won. These are the won prizes over the year: Aukstaitija talent show ‘10 points’, ‘JP music’ and ‘VU records’ special prize Festival - ’Stairway to heaven’ - nominated the most successful contestant International contest ‘Vejavaikiai’- first prize. Contest ‘Your chance’- the most successful contestant Contest ’Little star’ - 2nd place together with brother E. Iljinas. TV project ‘Lithuania has talents’ Valerija reached the semi-finals, where she performed along with the dance studio ‘DIANA’. Valerija graduated from Panevezys music school with singing speciality, and then continued mastering her singing skills with a Jazz vocal lecturer Steponas Januska.

Career boom - 2010 In 2010

Valerija began cooperating with a Jazz performer and composer, her mentor R. Bagdonas, and later was invited to participate in R. Bagdonas’ anniversary night, where the most famous Lithuanian Jazz performers, like A. Joffe, L. Sinkarenka, and V. Labutis played. Valerija performed a piece called ‘Bohemian blues’. That same year Valerija became the winner of the prestigious national song contest ‘Dainu dainele’, and the finalist in the festival ‘We are the world’. She participated in the TV project ‘Talent ring’, and became the most successful contestant at the Independence commemoration song festival in Panevezys. At the beginning of 2011, Valerija sang along R. Bagdonas’ led band ‘Jazz comfort’ at the Jazz club ‘Randevu’, which became Valerija’s first live music concert. Then Valerija appeared on a national TV show ‘Ryto suktinis’ with the same programme.

National and International achievements 2011-2016

In 2011 Valerija came second in the contest ’Skambek, Dzukija!’, and won two other international contests ‘Pavasario fiesta’ and ‘Jazz fountain’. In 2011 she was invited to participate in Vilnius big band festival along with Panevezys music school’s big band, and later participated in the international festival ‘Tartu 2011’ along with Panevezys Chamber Orchestra. In 2011 Valerija played her first lead role in the musical Mary Poppins at Panevezys Community House. Later that year she was a guest in the festival ‘Sugrazinkime klasika’, and came second in ‘Kaunas Talent’ contest. That same year she recorded a song ‘Take it back’ for Eurovision’s song contest along with a singer Vytautas Matuzas and a singer and composer Linas Adomaitis. In 2012 Valerija won ‘Dainu Dainele’ contest, and started learning vocal singing with Lithuanian popular music queen Rosita Civilyte. That same year, she was selected for a TV musical project ‘Lithuanian voice’, where she was mentored by an opera singer and tenor Merunas Vitulskis. The project offered her an opportunity to perform the Eurovision’s winning song ‘Fairytale’ along with the winner Alexander Rybak. Valerija left ’Lithuanian voice’ right before the superfinals, and together with a music agent E. Elzbergaite introduced an acoustical music project. Valerija performed with R. Laureckis, the member of ‘Pikaso’ band, where they toured around Lithuania with their project ‘Tribute to Rihanna’. That same winter she performed for the Lithuanian community in London. Later that year Valerija entered Vilnius J. Tallat - Kelpsa conservatory, the vocal singing class led by V. Sasnauskiene. Valerija won the first prize in the National Song Contest ‘Stairs to Heaven’. That same year the musician was invited to perform as the vocalist at ‘Panevezys sound’ orchestra along with Mindaugas Rojus. Valerija kept mastering her vocal singing skills, and in 2014 came second in the international jazz music contest ‘Jazz Fountain’, followed by performances in ‘Dainu Dainele’, and the international festival ‘Kaunas Jazz’. She won second prize in the national festival ’Spotlight’, and played one of the main roles in a musical ‘Publikai’. In 2016, while pursuing her vocal studies with the help of a lecturer D. Babilaite - Abare, Valerija was selected to represent Lithuania in one of the five biggest festivals worldwide - ’Slavianskij Bazar’, where she was awarded Honourable Mention. She then won ‘Grand Prix’ in the second international music festival ‘Music Talents League’, where upon a fateful encounter with an opera diva Nomeda Kazlaus, Valerija was invited to keep improving at the prestigious ‘Palanga summer academy’. At the famous festival ‘Riga Simphony’ the jury and maestro Raimond Pauls awarded Valerija with the ‘Grand Prix’ for the D. Pulauskas’ ‘Pavakarys’ original song arrangement. That same year in Venice (Italy) she won 2nd prize in the international contest ‘Orfeo in Italia’.

Creative activity of 2013

In 2013, while in cooperation with a music composer Kristupas Bubnelis and an arranger Vytautas Karpauskas, Valerija Iljinaite introduced a song ‘Taip noriu vėl’, and participated in the national Eurovision selection contest. That same year she became the big band soloist of Vilnius J. Tallat - Kelpsa conservatory, and took part in the national big band festival ‘Flora Jazz’, and the international jazz music festival ‘Kaunas Jazz’, followed by a festival in Germany.

In 2014 Valerija released her original song, (and a video by Vilmantas Zilinskas) - ‘Eternity’. Later that year she released another song of hers (‘Liar’), and a piece ‘Prisijunk’ along with a music video. She then traveled across Lithuania with a musical project ‘Divas & the gentlemen’, performing along with an actress and singer Kristina Radziukynaite - Kayra. After graduation from the conservatory, Valerija continued studying musical theatre at Vilnius college, in actor Jokubas Bareikis’ course. In 2015 Valerija was invited to become the member of jury at ‘Jazz Fountain’ international contest, and later performed with Tomas Alencikas – Alen Chicco, participated in various events, and introduced another song of hers - 'Svarbiausia Dalis'. That same year Valerija went to the USA where she worked and attended summer term lectures at the New York drama academy AMDA, and enjoyed visiting Broadway shows.

2016 - 2019

n 2016-2017 V. Iljinaitė collaborated with the Swedish production company ‘Sweden Songs’, and successfully appeared in the National Eurovision Song Contest, where she reached the semifinals. She won 3rd place in the musical impostor project ‘We share the same blood’, embodying characters such as Montserrat Cabale and Merūnas Vitulskis. In 2019 Valerija was awarded a bachelor's degree in theatre studies from Vilnius College and London College of Music, and played in the operetta 'Gondoliers' production directed by David Henson in London. She represented Lithuania in international competitions 'Euro Stars' in Malta (won the Grand Prix), 'Carpathia 2019' in Poland (Honourable Mention), and Moldova (3rd place). Together with Aiste Pilvelyte, she successfully participated in the LRT TV project ‘Two Generations’, where they came third. In 2019 Valerija Iljinaitė was invited to a special inauguration concert of the President Gitanas Nausėda, where she performed with the wind orchestra ‘Trumpet’.

2019 - now. The beginning of an opera soloist career

Since autumn 2019 Valerija has been continuing her studies at the Trinity Laban Conservatory of Music and Dance in London, where she has been delving into the subtleties of operatic singing along with Joan Rodgers CBE, Sarah Pring and Helen Yorke. That same year, Valerija and Aiste Pilvelyte organised a live band concert tour in Lithuania, which was crowned by a gala concert at St. Catherine's Church, Vilnius.

In May 2021, Valeria was selected to work in rehearsals for the Bolshoi Theatre (Moscow, Russia), in Mussorgsky’s opera ‘Khovanschina’, along with Simon McBurney OBE, Gerard McBurney and Leah Hausman, playing the roles of Emma and Suzana. In the summer of 2021, Valerija attended the masterclasses with Yvonne Howard, Lynton Atkinson, Alison Wells, Joy Robinson, Janet Haney, James Ottaway, Tom Primrose, and others.

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