Georgia's preeminent classical music festival brings Europe and Asia together

Born in Paris and with a long career in diplomacy, it is fitting that Georgia’s President, Salome Zourabichvili, recently visited Tsinandali Festival – an annual classical music festival that is being billed as an international cultural hub.

Now one week in, the Festival seeks to “promote the language of music” in the “crossroads of Europe and Asia”. Since its launch on 8th September, the Festival’s 15 days of concerts are bringing together artists from across the classical music world – from America, Israel, Armenia, France, China, Sweden, Hungary, and more. Given the calibre and the diversity of its programme – organised under the aegis of the legendary founders of the Verbier Festival, Avi Shoshani and Martin Engstroem – the Festival has already received rave reviews from its international audiences.

The Festival’s in-house training programme, meanwhile, known as the Tsinandali Festival Academy, has offered a select group of 22 young pianists, violinists, violists and cellists from across the globe the chance to learn from, and play with, the best in the business.

The Festival itself owes its origins to successful collaboration between the world of music and the private and public sectors. The Georgian government provided headline support for the festival alongside Silk Road Group, a major Georgian company, and a range of international commercial sponsors. 

Yerkin Tatishev, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Singapore-based Kusto Group and one of the founding patrons who helped make Tsinandali a reality, has been “delighted” by the Festival so far. “It is off to a flying start!”

Yerkin Tatishev

Tatishev (pictured left) was particularly impressed by the musical training on offer at Tsinandali. The Festival has hosted the Pan-Caucasian Youth Orchestra (PCYO) – a project that has “brought together talented young musicians from Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Ukraine” to play with and learn from the leading figures in the industry. “The PCYO is a symbol of the Festival’s mission to unite people of different nations through a shared love of music.”

George Ramishvili, Chairman of the Board of Silk Road Group, agreed: “I had the pleasure of meeting some of the 80 talented young musicians from across the Caucasus and its neighbouring regions. This is what we want to achieve at Tsinandali. The orchestra demonstrates the power of music to promote cooperation and build bridges. This philosophy is very close to my heart and it was wonderful to see them take the stage in the Tsinandali amphitheatre.”

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

The Tsinandali Festival is proving more than just a celebration of musical talent. Rather, it is showcasing how culture can help forge closer partnerships in Georgia, the wider region and beyond.

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor and Brussels correspondent of EU Today.

An experienced journalist and author, he specialises in environment, energy, and defence.

He also has more than 10 years experience of working as a staff member in the EU institutions, working with political groups and MEPs in various policy areas.

In October 2021 POLITICO described Gary as "the busiest man in Brussels!"

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