Er wirkte seit 1998 in Europa und den Vereinigten Staaten. Er arbeitete dabei bisher unter anderem mit dem BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, dem Orchestre National de France, der Tschechischen Philharmonie, der Kremerata Baltica, dem Borodin Quartet, der Violinistin Isabelle van Keulen und der Nordwestdeutschen Philharmonie zusammen. In Deutschland trat er beim Kissinger Sommer und dem 17. Usedomer Musikfestival in Erscheinung.
Einige seiner eigenen Kompositionen erschienen bei Schott Music.
"In The Footsteps of Franz Liszt.Transcriptions and Paraphrases".
Part One. Transcriptions:
RapsodieEspagnole (transcription for solo piano by Vestard Shimkus)
Rhapsody In Blue (original version for solo piano)
Part Two. Paraphrases:
- "EU Variations on a Theme of Beethoven"
- "Flight Of The Drunk Bumble-bee" (paraphrase on "Flight Of The Bumble-bee" by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov)
- "Lullaby" (paraphrase on "GutenAbend, Gute Nacht" by Johannes Brahms)
- "Rondo allaTurca. The Ultimate Turkish Version" (paraphrase on "Rondo allaTurca" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)
- "Heartbeats of Astor Piazzolla" (paraphrase on themes from "Libertango", "Tango Suite",
"Milonga del angel" and "Sur: Regresso al amor" written by Astor Piazzolla)
Described as "a phenomenon" (conductor Paavo Jarvi), "superb" (American Record Guide) and "inspired" (BBC), pianist, composer and improviser Vestard Shimkus (born 1984, Latvia) has also been called "one of the greatest pianists of the young generation" ("Piano News", Germany).
Being the 1st-prize-winner of several competitions, including the Maria Canals International Piano Competition (Spain, 2009), he began to gain an international recognition after his performances with BBC Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Orchestre National de France as well as after performing at Lucerne, Schleswig-Holstein, Rheingau, Kissinger Sommer, Bergen and Lockenhaus festivals.
As a pianist, Vestard Shimkus is particularly interested in the music written within the last 100 years. In addition, he occasionally performs entirely improvised solo concerts inspired by jazz, contemporary classical music, film music, early music and folk music.
Likewise, he is also an accomplished composer - he has written two piano concertos and a number of solo piano and chamber music works some of which have been published by "SCHOTT", as well as music for cinema and theatre. In 2016, his original orchestral score for the full-length feature film "Ausma" ("Dawn", 2015, directed by Laila Pakalniņa) received the highest prize awarded in the Latvian cinema - Lielais Kristaps Latvian Film Festival Award.
He has also been awarded with "Lotto-Förderpreis des Rheingau Musik Festivals" (Germany, 2014) as well as nominated for the "International Classical Music Award" (2013) and awarded with TOYP (Ten Outstanding Young Persons) award of Latvian Junior Chamber International (2016).
Vestard Shimkus began his piano studies at age of five in Riga and subsequently studied in Los Angeles, Madrid and Munich with Dmitri Bashkirov, Claudio Martinez Mehner, Daniel Pollack and Vadim Suchanov. He has also studied composition with Pēteris Vasks.
Shimkus has released nine CD albums.