Margarita Balanas

St Laurence's Church

Fri Jul 31 | 7.30pm

Margarita Balanas
 Ligeti, who died nine years ago, may be known by his music in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, but cellist Margarita Balanas turned this extraordinary solo sonata into a dynamic tour-de-force  Hilary Behrens, Co-Founder International Musicians Seminar
The programme:
Grieg – Sonata in A minor, Op.36
Ligeti – Sonata for Solo Cello
Chopin – Sonata for Cello and Piano in G minor, Op.65
Paganini – Variations on One String on a Theme by Rossini

Latvian cellist Margarita Balanas is one of the most exciting and versatile artists of her generation. Known for her distinguished artistry and mesmerising stage presence, Ms Balanas has performed to audiences world-wide.

This season’s highlights include performances for the BBC Radio 3 In-Tune, at the Wigmore Hall, Berliner Philharmonie and Southbank Centre. Balanas was extended a personal invitation by Anne-Sophie Mutter to tour with the Mutter Virtuosi across South America this Autumn. As well as this, Margarita will be performing at Joseph Calleja Charity Gala with Malta Philharmonic Orchestra. Balanas will also be giving public cello masterclasses in London and North America.

Balanas made her solo debut at Wigmore Hall at age 17 and has since has performed in venues such as Royal Festival Hall, Laeiszhalle Hamburg, Foundation Louis Vuitton, Casa da Musica and Le Corum, and has appeared in festivals such as Piatigorsky International Cello Festival in Los Angeles, the Adelaide International Cello Festival in Australia, the International Cello Festival Shanghai, and International Musicians Seminar Prussia Cove and performed with the Israel Camerata, Sinfonie Orchester Berlin, Orchestra Filarmonica Marchigiana, Orchestra of St Johns, IASI Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfonica do Porto and Cyprus Symphony Orchestra.

Margarita regularly performs with her sister Kristine, and together they have performed across the globe, dazzling audiences with their virtuosic splendour. Most recently, the sisters performed Brahms Double Concerto at the Berliner Philharmonie, Philip Glass Double Concerto at the International Cello Festival in Latvia, and toured France as part of the Festival Radio France Occitanie Montpellier. Their future collaborations include performances at the Cayman Arts Festival, Emergents Barcelona Music Festival with the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, and performances with Saarbrucken Symphony Orchestra.

Margarita Balanas has collaborated with such artists as Trevor Pinnock, Murray Perahia, Paul Daniel, Sir Mark Elder, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Lynn Harrell, Peteris Vasks, Signum Saxophone Quartet and Carlos Izcaray.

Ms Balanas is a prizewinner of numerous international competitions, and is grateful to the Anne Sophie Mutter Foundation, the Drake Calleja Trust, the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, the Craxton Memorial Trust, the Tillett Trust, the Hattori Foundation and the Nicholas Boas Charitable Trust. Most recently Margarita was awarded The Musicians’ Company Silver Medal and nominated for the Grand Music Awards in Latvia as the Young Musician of the Year.

 Margarita Balanas and Lynn Harrell performed to a full house, as the attentive and enthusiastic crowd soaked in the stunning music ... Balanas appeared like a vision, and made it clear why she is featured at this cello-lovers festival. Her rendition of György Ligeti’s Sonata for solo cello was powerful, delicate, intense and brilliant ...  Gordon Forester, GLAM Adelaide

Ms Balanas plays the Charles Adolphe Gand Auguste Tolbecque 1849 cello generously on loan to her by the Little Butterfly Foundation. Camille Saint-Saëns wrote his cello Concerto No. 1 for Tolbecque who premiered the concerto on this cello in 1873. The Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Israel commissioned a short documentary about the instrument and Margarita’s performance at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, which was released and presented in 2018.

Apart from being an international soloist and chamber musician, Margarita is also a painter and actor. Last month, she gave her first live painting concert as part of the International Cello Festival in Latvia, and in Spring 2020 she will have her first short-film launch as part of Peteris Vasks Festival.

Margarita has a Website

[Picture credits: Janis Romanovskis (first pic); Dario Acosta (second pic)]