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The Tsinandali Festival is off to a flying start after a wonderful first few days.

I was proud to host Kazakh members of the Pan-Caucasian Youth Orchestra at a celebratory lunch attended by Yerkesh Shakeyev, one of our most globally recognised composers. The PCYO is a symbol of the Festival’s mission to unite people of different nations through a shared love of music, bringing together musicians from Kazakhstan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Armenia and Turkey.

Later that evening, the PCYO performed a monumental rendition of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2. Renowned conductor and the Festival’s musical director, Gianandrea Noseda, directed proceedings with typical panache and encouraged some captivating performances by soloists Ying Fang and Ketevan Kemoklidze. With esteemed guests in the audience, including notably the President of Georgia herself, it was a worthy opening to what I’m certain will be the first of many Tsinandali Festivals.

Now up and running, the Festival continues with two performances per day by acclaimed international and local musicians over a two-week period. A virtuoso performance by superstar pianist, George Li, followed the opening night, before audiences were treated to an evening with two of the biggest names in classical music, Sir András Schiff and Gabor Takács-Nagy. For classical music lovers, it hardly gets better than that, but this is only the beginning!

Over the past few days, guests have enjoyed drinking in the atmosphere at the Festival in the company of musicians and dignitaries from all over the world. The charming Tsinandali Estate sits in Georgia’s historic Kakheti region, home to one of the oldest wine-growing regions in the world, where the grape harvest is already in full swing. The Festival, I am glad to say, fits perfectly into the convivial traditions of the region at this time of the year.

Indeed, I was struck by the joyful atmosphere around the place. People just seemed so happy at the entire scene: the surroundings, the music, the camaraderie, and the hospitality. It made attending a truly special experience.

I wish to thank everyone who has helped to organise the Festival, especially my dear friends and co-founders, for their hard work in getting it off the ground. Our ambition is to make the Tsinandali Festival an unmissable fixture in the international classical music calendar. On this year’s showing, I have no doubt it will fulfil this promise.