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 being hailed as “powerful, delicate, intense and brilliant” (GLAM Adelaide).
This season’s highlights include performances for the BBC Radio 3 In-Tune, at the Wigmore Hall and Southbank Centre. Balanas will also be giving public cello masterclasses in London and North America. Together with her sister, violinist Kristine, conductor Robertas Šervenikas and Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, she will be performing Philip Glass Double Concerto at the International Cello Festival in Latvia. Most recently, Margarita was extended a personal invitation by Anne-Sophie Mutter to tour with the Mutter Virtuosi across South America, India and Europe.
Balanas made her solo debut at Wigmore Hall at age 17 and has since has performed in venues such as the Berliner Philharmonie, Laeiszhalle Hamburg, Latvian National Opera, Foundation Louis Vuitton, Royal Festival Hall, 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 the Brahms Double Concerto at the Berliner Philharmonie, and toured France as part of the Festival Radio France Occitanie Montpellier. Their future collaborations include performances at the Cayman Arts Festival and Emergents Barcelona Music Festival at the L’Auditori de Barcelona where they will perform with the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Dalia Stasevska.
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, Christoph Richter, Carlos Izcaray and Thomas Riebl.
Ms Balanas is a prizewinner of numerous international competitions, and is grateful to the AnneSophie 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 for their continuous support. 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 began her musical studies with Arvids Tareila and Maris Villerušs at Emils Darzins Specialist School of Music in Riga, Latvia, before moving to England to study with Alexander Boyarsky at the Purcell School of Music and the Royal Academy of Music with Mats Lidström. 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.
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 November 2018.
Apart from being an international soloist and chamber musician, Margarita is also a painter. Her artwork can be seen around London. This autumn she will hold her first exhibition concert as part of International Cello Festival in Latvia.