Žilvinas Smalys


Žilvinas Smalys was born in Vilnius, Lithuania in 1980 and currently resides in Santiago, Chile

​​He took his first music lessoons at "Ąžuoliukas" music school in Vilnius where he studied choral singing and recorder  with D. Tumėnaitė and A. Rakauskas.

​​​At the age of 13, he began studying bassoon at  M.K. Čiurlionis Art school with  prof. A. Ančerevičius -  principal bassoonist of Lithuanian National Philharmonic Orchestra.  Žilvinas graduated from the same school at the age of 18, already being a laureate of two national and one international woodwind competitions.

​He continued his studies at Lithuanian Academy of music with prof. J. Slankauskas - a former  long time principal bassoonist of Lithuanian National Philharmonic Orchestra.

​In 2000, as an exchange student (SOCRATES-ERASMUS programme)  Žilvinas studied at Utrecht Conservatorium (The Netherlands) with professor L. van Nunen - principal bassoonist of Dutch Radio Symphony Orchestra.

In 2001, he was awarded a scholarship by Guildhall School of Music & Drama (London, UK) where he obtained his Master’s degree. His professors were renowned British bassoonists - R. O’Neill, M. Alexander (principal bassoonists of The Philharmonia orchestra) and G. Sheen (principal bassoonist of the BBC symphony orchestra) as well as prominent contrabassoon players - G. Laing (The Philharmonia orchestra) and M. Field (Royal Opera Covent Garden).

​In 2005, Žilvinas was awarded a Swiss government scholarship that allowed him to study at Zurich Conservatorium with one of the most prominent bassoon players of our time - Pascal Gallois.

 He also actively participated in numerous masterclasses led by renowned bassoonists including A. Svendsen, U. Dengler, V. Zuchiatti, G. Mandolesi, S. Canuti, P. Hannevold, J. Miller, and G. Pfitzenmaier, among others.

As a soloist, Ž. Smalys has performed in Lithuania, Russia, Western Europe and Chile. His repertoire is very vast and extends from late Renaissance to 21st century and includes technically challenging works by B. Crusell, J.N. Hummel, O. Nussio, A. Jolivet, K. Stockhausen, M. Bitsch, F. Chagrin, among others. Žilvinas has also played as a soloist with Lithuanian National Philharmonic Orchestra, Lithuanian chamber orchestra, Guidhall Chamber orchestra, Orchestra of Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, Orquesta Filarmonica de Santiago, Camerata Andres Bello, Ensemble Solistico de Santiago and Orquesta de la Universidad Mayor.

​Chamber music is another important field  - Ž. Smalys played in Vilnius bassoon quartet, St Christopher woodwind quintet (founding member), early music ensemble “Banchetto Musicale”, instrumental trio “Ventis Nova” (founding member), took part in various chamber music projects in Europe and Chile.

​Žilvinas began his orchestral career as a member of international youth orchestras in Sweden, Lithuania, Denmark, Germany and France. He has held co-principal bassoon positions at Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre, and Lithuanian State Symphonic Orchestra. Since 2008, he is a principal bassoonist at Teatro Municipal de Santiago. Other engagements include Orquesta de Camara de Valdivia, Orquesta Sinfonica de Chile, numerous orchestras in Switzerland, Italy, UK and Lithuania.

Ž. Smalys has performed under the baton of  prominent conductors - H. Rilling,  P. Boulez, C. Davis, M-W. Chung, P. Jaarvi, V. Ashkenazy, M. Janssons, T. Sanderling, J. Frantz, D. Jurowsky, M. Benini, among many others.

​Teaching is a very important activity for Žilvinas. He is currently a professor of bassoon and chamber music at Universidad Mayor de Santiago. His students are already contributing to the cultural life of Chile - among them, there are members of Orquesta Nacional Juvenil, they also frequently perform as session musicians in professional orchestras across the country. As a musicologist, Žilvinas holds a Doctorate of Arts degree - in 2015, he presented a research paper dedicated to bassoon  history and its development.

​Apart from being a performer, teacher and musicologist, Žilvinas is also a composer. He closely cooperates with “Accolade” publishing house in Germany, and a his pieces for bassoon  are becoming increasingly popular and performed worldwide.

  Žilvinas Smalys