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Margarita Balanas (cello) and Ilan Rechtman (piano) play Schumann and Beethoven

Wednesday April 18, 2018 at 13:10
St James's Church, Piccadilly, London
Free admission – no ticket required

  1. Adagio and Allegro for cello and piano in A flat Op 70 - Robert Schumann
  2. Sonata for Cello and Piano No 3 in A major Op 69 - Ludwig van Beethoven
  3. 3 movements for cello and piano, in memory of Leonard Bernstein - Ilan Rechtman

Latvian cellist Margarita Balanas is considered to be one of the most promising and versatile artists of her generation.

The 2017-2018 season includes a concert tour in Israel, performing Saint-Saens Cello Concerto No.1 with the Israel Camerata and Jonathan Spandorf as well as piano trio performances with her sister violinist Kristine Balanas and pianist/composer Ilan Rechtman. Other engagements include performances at Wigmore Hall, St Martin In The Fields, The Barbican Centre in London, participation in Shanghai International Cello Festival, International Cello Cesis Festival in Latvia, Aurora Chamber Music Festival in Sweden, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in Germany, and the 6th Minoa Palace Chamber Music Festival in Crete.

Balanas’ 2016-2017 season included a debut recital at the Royal Festival Hall, performances at Wigmore hall and appearances at the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival in Los Angeles. Margarita was invited to the Adelaide International Cello Festival in Australia, and performed Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations with the Orquestra Sinfonica do Porto at Casa da Musica in Portugal.

Margarita 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, Christoph Richter, Thomas Riebl and Carlos Izcaray, and has performed in masterclasses with Ralph Kirshbaum, Steven Isserlis, Frans Helmerson, Colin Carr, Natalia Gutman and Mischa Maisky.

As a recording artist, Margarita has recorded for the ABRSM, and as a chamber musician she has appeared in IMS Prussia Cove OCM, French Chamber Music Festival, Roman River Music Festival, and Aurora Chamber Music Festival. She regularly performs with her sister violinist Kristine Balanas. In summer 2015 she toured Finland with the contemporary music ensemble ÄÄninen.

Margarita is a prizewinner in numerous international competitions including the Antonio Janigro Cello Competition (Croatia), Wettbwerb Violoncello (Austria), and Talents for Europe (Slovakia). Balanas was one of the three finalists in the 4th International Guilhermina Suggia Gift in Porto and the Pau Casals Scholarship Competition. Margarita has won awards from the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, the Drake Calleja Trust, the Philharmonia Orchestra's Martin Musical Scholarship, the Craxton Memorial Trust, the Tillett Trust, the Hattori Foundation and the Nicholas Boas Charitable Trust. Most recently Ms Balanas was awarded the Worshipful Company of Musicians Silver Medal.

Ms Balanas began her musical studies at age six with Arvids Tareila and Maris Villeruss at Emils Darzins Specialist School of Music in Riga, Latvia, before studying at the Purcell School of Music with Alexander Boyarsky. Margarita was awarded The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music Scholarship and Zara Nelsova Award to undertake her undergraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music where since 2013 she studies with Mats Lidström. Ms Balanas is mentored by cellist Lynn Harrell, and has been selected as one of the 6 cellists to take part in the third edition of Gautier Capuçon’s Classe d’Excellence de Violoncelle at the Louis Vuitton Foundation.

llan Rechtman gave his first performance with the Israel Philharmonic at age 11, performing Mozart concerto in D minor K. 466. Since then, he performed 15 more times with this orchestra. He also performed several times with most of the other orchestras of his native country, Israel. Outside Israel, Rechtman performed with the symphony orchestras of London, New Zealand, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Colorado, New World, Grand Rapids, Boston Pops, among others. As a recitalist and chamber musician, Rechtman traveled in over 50 countries and performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, 92nd St. "Y", Avery Fisher, Alice Tully, Weill and Merkin halls (New York), Symphony Hall and Jordan Hall (Boston), Symphony hall (Chicago), Barbican Center and Wigmore Hall (London), Pleyel Hall and the Louvre Museum, (Paris), Suntory Hall (Tokyo), Seoul Arts Center and many other major halls around the world. Among the artists and groups Rechtman appeared with are Yo-Yo Ma, Ivry Gitlis, Gary Hoffman, Sharon Kam, Alisa Weilerstein, Miriam Fried, Matt Haimovitz, Arnaud Sussmann, Peter Bruns, Anna Tifu, Lara St. John, Chen Reiss, Ori Kam, Ittai Shapira, Guy Braunstein, Zvi Plesser, Amihai Grosz, St. Lawrence, Aviv and the Jerusalem String Quartet and the Mark Morris Dance Group. Rechtman is the winner of several prizes and awards, among them, the Norry Prize (NY) through the America Israel Cultural Foundation, the Clairmont and the Shapira Awards (Israel) and the first San Antonio International Piano Competition. Rechtman has recorded several CDs on various labels, among them Naxos, Bis, Well-Tempered Productions, Centaur, Meridien, Omega-Vanguard, Cembal d'Amour, and others. His solo recording of Villa-Lobos’ Chôros No. 5 was awarded the Gramophone Magazine’s Editor’s Choice.

As a composer, some of Rechtman's works have been published by the Theodore Presser Company, USA, Hofmeister Musikverlag in Leipzig, Germany and Bottle Cello Publishing in San Francisco, USA. His compositions "Rondo Op. 5" and "Fanfare by the Red Sea" have been commissioned and conducted by Maestros Zubin Mehta and Lorin Maazel, respectively. Rechtman was also commissioned to compose a special work for the 125 years celebration of the Chautauqua Music Festival, the oldest music festival in the USA. Some of Rechtman's orchestral compositions have been performed by the Boston Pops, Pittsburgh, New World, Augusta, Grand Rapids & Cape Cod symphonies. Rechtman was the music director and founder of the Israel Virtuosi, director and founder of the "Sundays on the Island", a baroque music series which ran weekly nearly 15 years, as well as the recital and chamber music series at the Wales - Mansfield in Manhattan, NY, which ran over 10 years. During the 6 years Rechtman lived in Brazil (2001-2007), he performed as soloist with the State Orchestra of São Paulo, Campinas and Riberão Preto symphonies, and was director of the "Um Certo Olhar" chamber music series at Sala São Paulo. As a composer, Rechtman wrote scores to various Brazilian films, as well as to the long running "Esperança" telenovela, which reached an audience of nearly a billion spectators around the world.

Rechtman performs frequently as soloist and as chamber musician, and in the past season (2013-14) has performed in the USA, Italy, Germany, Japan, S. Korea, Brazil, Thailand, and Israel, and collaborated with such artists as violinists Dylana Jenson, Tamaki Kawakubo, Claudio Cruz and cellists Alisa Weilerstein, Gary Hoffman and Wolfram Koessel.

In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Rechtman's music was used by Nastia Liukin when she won gold medal in her floor exercise. His music was also used in the 20th season (2015) of “Dancing with the Stars” in the USA.

In 2007, Ilan Rechtman was nominated as music director of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art concert programs, the oldest and largest presenter of classical concerts in Israel, a position Rechtman holds till present. In this capacity, Rechtman is responsible for presenting about 70 concerts per season.

St James's Church, Piccadilly
197 Piccadilly
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