As the world slowly returns to normality, Tsinandali Festival is back again for its third edition in as many years. Throughout all the hardship of the past 18 months, the Festival has still managed to bring together classical music lovers in Tsinandali’s magnificent surroundings. It has been a source of light in a time of darkness.
Of course, as one of the founders I speak from a position of bias, but I believe in the Festival’s ability to bring together different cultures, peoples and ideas united by common respect and a shared love of music, breaking down barriers – in a way little else can.
The part of the festival that has always been closest to my heart is the Pan Caucasian Youth Orchestra, which gathers young musicians from across the Caucasus, Central Asia and wider region. Their collective brilliance is a living demonstration of the value of working cooperatively around a shared theme: the love of music. Founded in 2019 together with the Festival, the Youth Orchestra has been Tsinandali’s resident orchestra since day one and performed the first ever concert at the Festival.
Sadly, the pandemic has made it impossible to bring so many musicians from across the region together for the past two editions, but its spirit lives on. Celebrating young, up-and-coming musicians is central to Tsinandali’s values. That is why alongside established global stars, this year’s programme boasts young performers like the 32-year-old conductor Lahav Shani and 22-year-old pianist Mao Fujita. Georgia’s own youthful stars will include the 10-year-old pianist Tsotne Zedginidze, the 29-year-old mezzo Natalia Kutateladze, and 20-year-old pianist Sandro Nebieridze.
This element of the Festival holds special importance for me, because promoting and supporting the next generation is what our vision is all about. These festivals are more than a gathering of brilliant musicians, they are a platform to demonstrate their talents and, we hope, a springboard for future success.
Apart from the opportunity to see a new generation of musicians, alongside more established stars like Yefim Bronfman and Sir András Schiff, festivalgoers can look forward to the backdrop of the beautiful Tsinandali Estate and all it represents: where Georgia’s past, present and future join together. Built by the father of Georgian Romanticism, Prince Alexander Chavchavadze, it has long-been a centre of Georgian cultural life, arts, music and of course wine production – enjoyed by Alexandre Dumas and Alexander Pushkin alike.
The numerous vineyards and estate have been revived in recent years, creating a harmonic setting for the 12-day Festival. Visitors may explore the palace museum and Estate, reflecting not only on what the future holds, but what the past can teach us. What could be more inspiring before the concert than knowing you stand where some of the world’s great cultural figures have once stood.
Restrictions have inevitably limited both this and last year’s edition of the Festival. Nevertheless, with a programme ranging from Mozart and Brahms, to Debussy and Chopin, and even a little Jazz by Thomas Quasthoff & Co, there is so much to be excited about. Set in the iconic outdoor amphitheatre, music lovers like me will be able to enjoy an unforgettable experience and a glimpse of the return to normality that we have all been looking forward to for so long now.
Over the past eighteen months we have all had to find new ways to communicate and stay connected. In all the radical changes this has brought, it is important not to forget the timeless language of music and the bridges it can build. On the crossroads of Europe and Asia, the Tsinandali Festival is the perfect place to put this into practice – for this year, and for many more years to come.