official web site since 1997 of the composer, author, poet and visual artist Joseph J. (Joop) Visser




a Čiurlionis Manuscript in the Museum in Kaunas

manuscript Čiurlionis at the museum in Kaunas / as the painting below


- ČIURLIONIS, Landscape and Colour Project -


1875 - 1911

Landschap in Litouwen geschilderd door schilder componist Ciurlionis

A Lithuanian Composer, Painter, and Draughtsman

for information on his life; scroll down


Auke de Boer and Bauke Reitsma looking at a display of manuscripts of music by Čiurlionis

Auke de Boer and Bauke Reitsma, both carilloneur, caught when reading Čiurlionis' autographs.

When in Vilnius and Kaunas the three musicians Bauke Reitsma Auke de Boer and Joseph J. Visser vigorously visited the City of Churches, Old Vilnius and Kaunas, the old Capital; both towns telling some of the many stories of Europe.

We were there playing carillon concerts as guests to the Pazaislio Festival.
More than anything the Čiurlionis Museum in Kaunas brought us together when looking at the paintings and reading the musical manuscripts.
All that was crying out for more study into the many aspects brought to our attention - all our creative powers were challenged - a further dialogue was asked for.
The days there and then already gave ample opportunity for 'common surveys'

A deeper digging project was in front of us. We decided to invite some of our international colleagues; first aim was to bring a wider interest for Čiurlionis into the artists' worlds of Western Europe.

And surely Čiurlionis' legacy could be an ispiration to all of us, and to our very own individual work of today.

the carilloneurs caught going through some musical bars, of a Stabat Mater, when visiting a churche - with chapel on the top floor - the idea for a Čiurlionis Project was born there and then!

this project is open to all artists - we would need at least three copies of original entries (for exhibiting purposes) to stay in museum collections in Lithuania and the Netherlands) - to begin with

we have specially invited

Klara Khomskii
Hanne Matthiesen
Inga Kramer-Haantjes
Marlies Louwes
Thomas Siemon

others may follow

On a first concert tour - invited by the Pažaislio Muzikos Festivalis making a beginning of an exchange between Dutch and Lithuanian musucians/artists, and as an opening moove to introduce Dutch 'beiaardiers' (carillon-players) to the carillons of Lithuania, we were a small group of four musicians:
Gerda Peters, Gijsbert kok, Bauke Reitsma, Auke de Boer and myself, Joseph J. Visser, as a composer/visual artist; 
I work together with Kestutis Vasiliunas as 'go between' of Dutch and Lithuanian artists ever since such initiative of Kestutis in 2009.
We had a series of exhibitions and projects in the Academy in Vilnius (where Kestutis has a post as a professor in the Book Arts department) and the Frysian Graphics Museum (where I had a post as a curator for some 13 years; and at the time a temp. lectureship at a the Academy for Arts in Kampen/Zwolle under the authority of the organisation for European Cultural Capital)

Bauke Reitsma, Auke de Boer and I made up the first group to play concerts:
- in Vilnius; Dominican church (a new, 2016, Royal Eijsbouts carillon; 5 octaves, 61 bells, B-flat0 C1 to C6)
- Kaunas; Vytautas-Museum (a Belgian, 1935 carillon, having been restaured and enlarged to the Royal Eijsbouts carillon of 2006).
Gerda Peters and Gijsbert Kok would follow later in that summer playiing the instruments in Klaipeda and Kaunas.

I am not a player to the instrument.
I am happy to have my compositions performed by these two internationally renowned campanologists, as indeed it was at these concerts.

Bauke was new to Lithuania.

Auke had been there earlier,
having played the bells of the Kaunas carillon in 2014, as part of my lectures to the Academy of Arts.; he played Music of older Dutch composers, some of my work,a new piece by Danish artist Hanne Matthiesen and a piece by the Bulgarian composer Julia Tsenova.

I had been introduced to Lithuania by Kestutis Vasiliunas when Vilnius was appointed Cultural Capital of Europe in 2009
I had been offered a temp. lectureship to the Department of Book Arts
to the Vilnius Academy of Arts (erected 1793) – 
working together with my colleague in visual arts / the graphical arts, and book arts
Kestutis Vasiliunas;
we both specialize in artist's-books.

trees Neringa

The colour &
landscape project
Joseph J. Visser

The Auke de Boer
carillon arrangements









organ and voice


Concert in Kaunas of Dutch Carillon Music
(best with Safari, Quick Time Player)
pages with movies of live recordings of compositions by J.J. Visser

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14 Canziones
scroll to mid-page on CALENDAR 2002



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Jervaulx Abbey, 21 exercises









Walking during the holidays in the Caucasus

Born in Senaji Varena - eldest son in a family of nine children.
The family lived in Ratnyćia 1876 - 1877; 1888 moving to Druskininkai

- interesting/coincidently for the Dutch: in 1891 Chaim Jacob Lipschitz was born in Druskininkai, at the time a famous spa and holiday resort.

His father taught him to play the piano and the organ.
A family friend recommended him to the Michal Oginski orchstral school in Plungé.

1889 - 1893 Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis learned to sing and play various instruments;
as a fluteplayer in the Oginski School Orchstra (making a few concert-tours: Riga, Rietavas, Palanga)
In the orchestra he earned his school fees, his keep, and a salary.
He started to study composition, using his spare time for drawing.

The Oginski family offered their supported for his studies at the Warsaw Institute of Music (piano and composition).
There he attended choir class, and widened hishorizon reading harmony, the theory and history of music, natural sciences, astronomy, philosophy, numismatics and mineralogy - living up to the classic ideal of a 'renaissence man'.
He was known reading Adam Mickiewicz, Juliusz Słowacki, Bolesław Prus (Aleksander Głowacki)

- in the light of the 'nationalist movement(s)' of the time it is worth noting that these three were from the 'Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth' (stretching from the Baltic till the Black Sea), were born in the Belarus, Poland or the Ukrain, and died in Constantinopel, Poland, and France -

furthermore, Fyodor M. Dostoyevsky, Lev N. Tolstoi and Friedrich Nietsche.

All that time he wrote many pieces for a grand diversity of musical instruments and voices.
He graduated with 'De Profundis', a canmtata for mixed choir and symphonic orchestra.

After the graduation he went to see his family in Druskininkai where he was keen on drawing whilst teaching music to his siblings.

He was close friends with composer and painter Eugeniusz Morawski Dabrowa - fell deeply in love with his sister - her father married her with someone with a proper status in life.

- again: It is kind of funny (and interesting to learn about) that the two friends were drawn to the nationalist movement; be it Čiurlionis to the Lithuanian movement and Morawski to the Polish movement (nationalism at the time was a Europe-wide 'positive' movement).

From E.Morawski Dabrowa (who worked for some time in France) there's not to much work left as a result of the devastation of Warsaw in the 2nd World War.

Mikalojus K. Čiurlionis lived in Warsaw 1899-1901, and worked as a music teacher to support his brother Povilas who studied to be (it seems to run in the family – or should we indeed say it was a time when talent was urged to be used to its full extend) a pianist, organist, choir director, architect, engineer, and musician.

His time as a student in composition classes at the Leipzig Conservatory he used thoroughly whilst at the same time writing new work, reading aesthetics, history and psychology, working in the library of C.F. Peters Publishing house on orchestratioon as of Berlioz and R. Strauss, and indeed kept time for serious drawing.

This was followed by some years drawing school in Warsaw - a time when he supported himself and his brother by giving private music lessons

/ composing and painting from now on came closely together, themes being worked on at the same time in both disciplines. That time, 1904, he is a very active student (doing drawing, sculpture, and painting) at the Warsaw School of Art - he made some book cover and stained glass design led the school choir, attending plain air sessions in summer; he was very active in painting, exhibiting a cycle 'Storm' amongst other paintings in an exhibition.

Summer 1905 he spends his holidays in Anapa (Black Sea, and travelling in the Cauicasus painting and making photographs).

Somehow travelling through more of Europe than 'modern man' would even know the existace of seems to draw him ever more to the cause for an independant Lithuania.
1906 Back in Druskininkai Čiurlionis makes new arrangements for Lithuanian folk songs, writes to his brother that he will now 'dedicate his past and future works to Lithuania', and begins to think of an opera




museum of missing and older pages