Violinist Atis Bankas emigrated from Lithuania in 1982. A graduate of the School of the Arts for Gifted Children in Kaunas, Lithuania, and the Lithuanian State Conservatory, where he received the Diploma Cum Laude in violin performance, chamber music, pedagogy and orchestral performance, Mr. Bankas pursued postgraduate studies in violin performance at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory David Oistrakh's violin department from 1977-81. His principal teachers were Victor Radovich and Semyon Snytkovsky, both students of David Oistrakh.
First prize winner of the International Violin Competition in Tallin, Estonia, Mr. Bankas has performed as a soloist in the former Soviet Union, Europe, the United States, and Canada; and as soloist with orchestra under the direction of Nejme Jarvi, Iona Brown, and Andrew Davis, among others. He serves as concertmaster of the Canadian Chamber Academy, was Assistant Concertmaster of the Lithuanian Philharmonic Orchestra. Mr. Bankas has been a member of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra since 1982.
An avid chamber musician, he has been a member of New World Trio, the Krieghoff String Quartet, Toronto Piano Trio and Trio Rachmaninoff. Currently Mr. Bankas is first violinist with the Gould String Quartet. His solo and chamber music appearances have been featured on CJRT, CFMX, CBC and NPR radio networks.
Mr. Bankas has taught at the Moscow Gnessin Pedagogical Institute (chamber music) and was a professor of violin at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin and Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore and the University of Toronto (since 1992 - 2003). He is currently a professor at the Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto (since 1982).
Many of Mr. Bankas' students are top prize winners of international and national competitions, such as Paganini International Violin Competition, Niagara International Music Competition, the Toronto Symphony and Montreal Symphony competitions, Edward Johnson Music Competition, Kiwanis Festivals, and the Canadian Music Competitions. He has offered master classes in Japan, Europe, the United States, and Canada. A regular participant in summer festivals including the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival, Weathersfield Music Festival, Shandele Music Festival and Silver Bay Summer Music Festival.
Mr. Bankas has served as Artistic Director of Windermere Music Festival and the Muskoka Lakes Music Festival, and presently is Artistic Director of the Niagara International Chamber Music Festival, and Director of the International School for Musical Arts.
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