Music Faculty Spotlight: Dainius Vaičekonis

I have taught SPU private piano lessons, piano ensemble, beginning keyboard, and music theory classes since 2014.

I was born in Vilnius, Lithuania.  It is almost as if my parents chose the profession of music for me by naming me Dainius. In Lithuanian, my name means “singer” or “troubadour.” My dad, who was well-known choir conductor in my country, noticed early my musical gifts.  I entered the Čiurlionis National School of Arts for gifted children, where I received well-rounded musical and general K-11 education and was majoring in piano. Music surrounded my childhood and youth, and my dad introduced me to different genres of music including opera, choral and symphonic music.  However, I stuck to piano because I felt this is my own.

My childhood and youth coincided with the period of Cold War after my country was occupied during World War II by Soviet Union. Because of the communist regime I grew up without the freedom of being able to say openly what I thought. My family, along with other Christians, had to practice religion and celebrate Christian holidays secretly. Through many injustice and sufferings I faced in my youth, my faith remained constant, and music to me was as a form of self-expression.  It is hard to describe the joy and excitement of the time when Lithuania restored independence from the Soviet Union in late 80’s – early 90’s. I am proud that I was a witness and took active part in the extraordinary events of the Singing Revolution.  

When I finished my BM degree from Lithuanian Music Academy I was teaching and performing in Lithuania and Europe. A few years later I was invited by an American professor to pursue my master’s degree in piano performance. Upon completing the program, my wife and I decided to continue our graduate studies in the US.  We fell in love with Seattle, and it became our home since. I received the fellowship for DMA studies at the University of Washington, and as I completed my doctorate degree my career started in full swing.

I was adjunct faculty and staff at many different campuses across Washington including Western Washington University, Shoreline Community College, and Music Works Northwest.  Prior to SPU, I was Artist-in-residence at the University of Washington.  I was a soloist with many orchestras of the America’s Northwest region, performing two or three concert programs a year, giving lectures and recitals in universities and concert venues in US and Europe.  As piano pedagogue I managed to maintain large private studio.  My students successfully participate and become winners in piano festivals and competitions, pursue piano performance degrees in universities or continue pianist’s careers. 

I am blessed and honored to be able to realize myself as a professor, artist and scholar in the Seattle Pacific University.  My colleagues of the Music Department is true inspiration to me, their artistry and dedication to the students and the future of young generation continue to amaze me.  I believe, through deep learning and sincere practicing my students will become not only better musicians, but also better people.  I hope music will shape their character, and through music they will be able to inspire others.

Eric Johnson

Student Eric Johnson shares about his experience in the Music Department.

Sprezzatura Trio

Meet the members of the Sprezzatura Trio, a music ensemble comprising three SPU alumnae.