Latvian cellist Margarita Balanas is considered to be one of the most promising and versatile artists of her generation. Mentored by cellist Lynn Harrell, she has been selected as one of the 6 cellists to take part in this year's third edition of Gautier Capuçon’s Classe d’Excellence de Violoncelle at the Louis Vuitton Foundation.
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 under Mats Lidström.