The Jauna Muzika choir was founded in 1989 by the conductor and composer Remigijus Merkelys and long-time director Algimantas Gurevičius. Since 1992 Jauna Muzika has been led by the conductor and composer Vaclovas Augustinas. In 1994 Jauna Muzika became the choir of Vilnius Municipality and Salomėja Jonynaitė took over as director.
The members of the choir are professional musicians - graduates and students of the Lithuanian Academy of Music. Depending on the repertoire being performed, the number of singers ranges from 24 to 50. Jauna Muzika is a very active choir, and arranges over 60 concerts at home and abroad every year. The choir's mission is to present an extremely diverse and valuable a cappella choral repertoire.
From 1990 to 1996 the Choir won 15 first prizes in various categories and six Grand Prix in 16 international choral competitions around the world. In the year 1993 in Varna, Bulgaria, the choir was awarded with the highest prize, the Grand Prix Europeo, in a competition organised by the International Federation of Choral Music.
Alongside a cappella works, the Choir performs with Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra and Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra and during numerous concert tours - with foreign orchestras, such as the Tel Aviv Symphony Orchestra, Israel Camerata Orchestra Jerusalem, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Ludwigsburger Schloßfestspiele Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Berlin Soloists, Moscow Virtuosi, St. Petersburg Camerata, Novosibirsk Camerata and Novosibirsk Chamber Orchestra. The Choir has been conducted by many masters of the baton, including Rinaldo Alessandrini, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Frieder Bernius, Avner Biron, William Boughton, Anders Eby, Reinhard Goebel, Wolfgang Gönnenwein, Simon Halsey, Peter Hanke, Albert Hartinger, Manfred Honeck, Chifuru Matsubara, Hermann Max, Nicholas McGegan, Werner Pfaff, Johannes Prinz, David Shallon, Noam Sheriff, Murry Sidlin, Vladimir Spivakov, Pinchas Steinberg, and the Lithuanian conductors Saulius Sondeckis, Gintaras Rinkevičius, Robertas Šervenikas, Modestas Pitrėnas, Vytautas Lukočius, Donatas Katkus.
The Choir has toured in Europe, China, Japan and Israel, appearing at the most famous concert halls, such as the Munich Philharmonic, the Suzan Dellal Center (Tel Aviv), the Fredric R.Mann Auditorium (Tel Aviv), the Haifa Auditorium, Bimot (Jerusalem), Festsaal Kulturpalast (Dresden), Ludwigsburg Theater im Forum, St Mathias Church (Budapest), Alte Oper (Frankfurt), the S. Rachmaninov Hall (Moscow), the Berlin Philharmonic Chamber Hall, the Berlin Festspiele Theater, and the Shanghai Opera House.
The Choir has given concerts with many celebrities of the music world: the cellist Mark Drobinsky, the singers Robin Blaze, Eva Ben-Zvi, Benno Schollum, Adam Zdunikovski, Anatoli Safiulin, the cantor Joseph Malovany, and famous Lithuanian singers, such as Virgilijus Noreika, Vladimiras Prudnikovas, Sigutė Stonytė, Judita Leitaitė, and Algirdas Janutas.
Jauna Muzika is a member of the International Federation of Choral Music. In 1999 in Rotterdam the choir represented the Lithuanian choral art at the World Symposium on Choral Music, which takes place once in five years in different countries. The choir has received the “Vilniaus garsas” award in 2003 for spreading the name of Lithuania and its capital city in the world.
Besides concert activities, the Vilnius Municipal Choir Jauna Muzika has originated a number of significant projects in Lithuania. Every year since 1995 Jauna Muzika has held workshops on choir conducting and interpretation led by the world’s leading choir conductors.
In the autumn of 1998 on the initiative of the Choir an international festival “Amžinoji šviesa ” was held in the major concert halls of Vilnius – the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Hall, the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre and the Town Hall. The festival featured many outstanding Lithuanian and foreign artists performing with Jauna Muzika. In the year 2000 Jauna Muzika together with the Vilnius Town Hall Festival invited the lovers of Baroque music to a concert series “English and French Baroque Music”, in which The King’s Consort from Great Britain and Il Seminario Musicale from France appeared, and in 2001 to “The Days of German and Polish Baroque Music”, which featured Musica Antiqua Köln from Germany and Capella Gedanensis from Poland. In 2002 the choir put on a series of five concerts, which was devoted to the rebuilding of the Vilnius Evangelical Lutheran Church and featured unconventional programmes of vocal and instrumental music. One of the most successful modern interdisciplinary projects, implemented together with composer Giedrius Kuprevičius and producer Gytis Padegimas, was the production of opera-zarzuela DaliGala at the Vilnius St. Catherine church in spring 2008. From 2006 onwards the choir is organising a concert cycle at the St. Catherine church.
In 2009 the Choir was celebrating twenty years of concert activity. In the year 2010 choir‘s artistic director, conductor and composer Vaclovas Augustinas was awarded with the Lithuanian National Culture and Art Prize for the development of choral powers and the modernity of sacral music.
In more than 20 years Vilnius City Municipal Choir Jauna Muzika has collected a diverse and precious repertoire, embracing scores for choir a cappella, vocal-instrumental music masterpieces and premières, created by masters of all epochs.
The choir has produced secular and sacral works of J.S. Bach, George Frideric Handel's oratorio Judas Maccabaeus, Antonio Vivaldi's Gloria, Joseph Haydn’s oratorios The Creation and The Seasons, Gabriel Fauré's Requiem, impressive performance of Carl Orff’s oratorio Carmina Burana, new British choral music (John Tavener, Tarik O'Regan, Gabriel Jackson, Howard Skempton, etc.), traditional programmes of gospels and spirituals (arranged by Hall Johnson, Steve Dobrogosz, Henry Smith, Moses Hogan, Jim Raycroft, Bob Chilcott), especially rarely performed polychoral music of the 16-17th century Venetian and Flemish great polyphony artists (Orlando di Lasso, Luca Marenzio, Orazio Benevoli, Nicholas Gombert, Giovani Gabrieli ect.), not once John Rutter's chants and Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols had been performed on Christmas time. In the international modern music festival “Gaida” in the year 2010 the choir performed Gérard Grisey's Les chants de l’amour, which requires extreme precision and high professional level.
Exceptional attention is given to the performance and spread of new choral works of contemporary Lithuanian composers. The choir's repertoire presents the works of worldwide acknowledged composers, such as Algirdas Martinaitis, Mindaugas Urbaitis, Vaclovas Augustinas, Bronius Kutavičius, Vytautas Miškinis, Svilainis, Vidmantas Bartulis and other. From 2007 onwards the choir together with other partners has been initiating the young composers' choral music competition-concert “Vox Juventutis”, which aims to expand the repertoire of choral music and raise its popularity.