Margarita Balanas

CONCERT CELLIST

Latvian cellist Margarita Balanas is considered to be 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 being hailed as “powerful, delicate, intense and brilliant” (GLAM Adelaide).

The upcoming 2017-2018 season will include a concert tour in Tel Aviv, performing Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto No. 1 with the Israel Camerata and Jonathan Spandorf, directing Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1 with the Cyprus Chamber Orchestra, and performances with the Orchestra of St. John’s and John Lubbock as part of the Ashmolean Proms. Other engagements include performances at Wigmore Hall, St Martin In The Fields, Barbican Centre in London, and participation in the International Cello Festival Shanghai, International Cello Cesis Festival in Latvia, and Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in Germany.

Ms Balanas made her solo debut at Wigmore Hall at age 17 and has since performed as soloist throughout Europe, Asia, North America, and Australia, including a solo debut recital at Royal Festival Hall in 2016. She has also appeared at the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival in Los Angeles and the Adelaide International Cello Festival in Australia. Last season she performed Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations with the Orquestra Sinfonica do Porto at Casa da Musica in Portugal. As a recording artist, Margarita has recorded for the ABRSM.

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, Carlos Izcaray, Thomas Riebl, Ilan Rechtman, and David Thomas. Most recently, she was extended an invitation to tour with the Mutter Virtuosi across South America and Europe, personally selected by Anne-Sophie Mutter.

As a chamber musician, she has appeared in International Musicians Seminar Prussia Cove, French Chamber Music Festival, Roman River Music Festival, Minoa Palace Chamber Music Festival, and Aurora Chamber Music Festival. Later this season Margarita will perform with her piano trio, Argenta Trio, at the Brighton Festival.  

Margarita regularly performs with her sister violinist Kristine Balanas and together they have performed across the globe, dazzling audiences with their virtuosic splendour. Most recently they performed on a concert tour throughout Israel and following the success of the tour, the pair have been invited back to perform in the 2018-2019 season, individually as soloists and as a duo. Later this season, the sisters will perform at the Montpelier Festival in France and next season they will make their Berlin Philharmonie debut performing Brahms’ Double Concerto. 

Margarita is a prizewinner of numerous international competitions, and is supported by the Anne Sophie Mutter Foundation, the Drake Calleja Trust, the Countess of Munster Musical 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 she was awarded the Worshipful Company of Musicians Silver Medal.

She began her musical studies at age six with Arvīds Tareila and Maris Villerušs at Emīls Darzins Specialist School of Music in Riga, Latvia, before moving to England to study with Alexander Boyarsky at the Purcell School of Music. Having completed her BMus degree at the Royal Academy of Music with Mats Lidström, she is currently continuing with her MMus degree. Mentored by cellist Lynn Harrell, she was selected as one of six cellists to take part in the third edition of Gautier Capuçon’s Classe d’Excellence de Violoncelle at the Louis Vuitton Foundation.

Margarita 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 in Israel commissioned a short documentary about the instrument, which is to be released and presented by them later this year. The film is being directed and produced by Conor Gorman Film.