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5th Cello Cēsis International Festival

From 13.-15. September the fifth edition of the Cello Cēsis Festival invites you to witness the values, the musical qualities that define the 21st century. Our Time. New revelations; novel experiences; openness enjoying cello scores by some of the world’s greatest composers; musical pieces that have not been heard, have not been performed in Latvia; unusual cello sounds; synergy of music with visual art and dance. Experienced cello masters and young stars from America, Germany, Japan and Latvia in unique festival programmes. The fifth festival speaks about us and Our Time in the most concentrated form and manner.

Inese Zagorska, Artistic Director of Cēsis Concert Hall


Friday, 13 September 2019, 19:00, Great Auditorium


Ashley BATHGATE, cello/USA

Reinis ZARIŅŠ, piano

Programme: Ken Thomson, Restless; Reiko Fueting, Kaddish: The Art of Losing; Jack Perla, Persistence of the Blues; Martin Bresnick, Prayers Remain Forever; Amy Williams, Stop/Yield The opening concert of Cello Cēsis Festival offers its listeners an opportunity to acquaint themselves with contemporary music written for the cello. The American cello player, member of the brilliant and internationally acclaimed avant-garde ensemble Bang on a Can All-Stars Ashley Bathgate, and the outstanding Latvian pianist Reinis Zariņš have architecturally constructed a programme highlighting modern, contemporary American music like a brightly-lit skyscraper against the New York sky ‒ cello music written in this age, brilliantly interpreted by young talents.

Ashley Bathgate is ‘a bright light on the new-music scene’ (The New York Times), ‘a phenomenally gifted cellist … [showcasing] bee-like inquisitiveness and ceaseless energy’ (Boston Music Intelligencer). As a performer, Bathgate bases her philosophy in a desire to create a dynamic energetic exchange with her audience. She is open to an undiscovered innovative world of sound that transcends the traditional voice of the cello. Captivated by Ashley Bathgate’s striking talent and intense performance, many American composers have dedicated countless new musical pieces to her.

Ashley’s partner on stage will be the London-based Latvian pianist Reinis Zariņš ‒ an outstanding interpreter, whose profound musical revelations and conceptually crafted programmes never  leave the audience indifferent. Reinis Zariņš is a three-time Grand Music Award nominee in the Outstanding Interpretation category.

Saturday, 14 September 2019, 10:00–12:00, Chamber Auditorium

MasterClass with ASHLEY BATHGATE /cello, USA/

Ashley Bathgate, American cellist and a member of an internationally renowned sextet Bang on a Can All-Stars, is giving a masterclass in the interpretation of contemporary music.

Ashley's experience in contemporary music interpretation techniques, the use of electronic elements, and collaboration with composers are topics of interest to young performers, educators, and experienced music professionals.

Language: English

Duration: 2h

Saturday, 14 September 2019, 11:00–15:00, the concert hall restaurant “Epikūra dārzs”


Join us for a Saturday brunch set in a mood of cello music. An opportunity to enjoy a leisurely and delicious meal in the company of Cello Cēsis artists and a wonderful panoramic view of the Cēsis rooftops, all in a pleasant festival atmosphere. The brunch menu features various pancakes, freshly squeezed juices, hot and cold appetisers and a selection of desserts. For more information and booking, please call 62006777.

Saturday, 14 September 2019, 14:00, Great Auditorium


Ēriks KIRŠFELDS, cello

PERPETUUM RITMICO percussion ensemble

Every year, the programme of Cello Cēsis Festival features a concert that takes by surprise with its unusual combinations of musical instruments. Our listeners have already had an opportunity to listen to concert programmes for cello and saxophone quartet or for cello and vibraphone. This year, we will be able to enjoy the voice of cello in conversation with a variety of percussion instruments. Performing with the outstanding Latvian cello player Ēriks Kiršfelds, amazing us with his brilliant appearances every year, will be the Perpetuum Ritmico ensemble of percussionists ‒ quite well known on their own right these days.

Just like the opening concert, this programme will also feature brilliant musical pieces written in our time. We will feel the breath of the world in  he Snow in June elegy for cello and percussion by the unique Chinese composer Tan Dun, in Third Construction, a piece for percussion by the American avant-garde composer John Cage, and in Concerto Rotondo for cello solo by the ‘crazy’ Italian cello player and composer Giovanni Sollima, often referred to as the rock star of classical music.

We are also going to hear works by Latvian composers Ēriks Ešenvalds, Kristaps Pētersons and Linda Leimane. We are proud of the fact that each edition of Cello Cēsis presents a new musical piece. This year’s festival will see Anitra Tumševica’s Secret of the Old Mountain performed for the first time.

Saturday, 14 September 2019, 17:00, INSIGNIA art gallery at Cēsis Concert Hall


One of the most distinctive artists of her generation, Daiga Krūze stands out among others with her highly individual style, original expression and sophisticated sense of colour relationships. While preserving and respecting the values of classical painting, she knows how to introduce new dynamism into them. Daiga Krūze’s paintings are defined by their freedom, freshness, playfulness and ease, expressively vivid explosion of colour. Observations from nature and in-depth exploration thereof is combined with visualised images of the artist’s emotions, which,  aptured in the air, end up on the canvas in the shape of a landscape.

Saturday, 14 September 2019, 19:00, Gret Auditorium


Margarita BALANAS, cello

Kristīne BALANAS, violin

Danjulo ISHIZAKA, cello/Germany

Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra

Conductor Robertas ŠERVENIKAS

The Cello Cēsis Festival gala programme features two talented Latvian musicians, two sisters who currently star on some of the world’s greatest stages, both as solo musicians and as a duet ‒
cellist Margarita Balanas and violinist Kristīne Balanas. Appearing with the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, they will perform the original Double Concerto for Violin and Cello by Philip Glass.

In 2010, the Nederlands Dans Theater commissioned from the composer music for their Swan Song ballet. Instead of composing a traditional-form piece for a dance production, Philip Glass wrote a double concerto where two soloists (cello and violin) are like avatars of the two leading dancers. Traditionally, the soloist is musically either contrasted with the orchestra or they create
an interplay with an emphasis on the solo parts. In this sense, this double concerto is truly unique: Glass has ignored all the usual forms, and every orchestra part opens with a duet. At the Cello Cēsis Festival Glass’ masterpiece will be performed by the marvellous Balanas sisters. The second part of the concert offers a performance by the special guest of the festival, the German-Japanese cellist Danjulo Ishizaka, one of the world’s greatest cello players of his generation. He is ‘a veritable musical personality, phenomenal in his technical potential’ (Süddeutsche Zeitung),  spectacular, brilliant and highly expressive’ (FAZ); Danjulo ‘sings on the cello (…), each melodic vibration expresses an emotion, profoundly musical and profoundly human’ (Süddeutsche  eitung). Ishizaka will perform Sergei Prokofiev’s Sinfonia Concertante, a piece dedicated to one of the greatest legends in the history of cello music, Mstislav Rostropovich.

Sunday, 15 September 2019, 13:00, INSIGNIA art gallery at Cēsis Concert Hall


Music Painting Live by Margarita Balanas

Ramón JAFFÉ, cello/ Germany

Aina KALNCIEMA, harpsichord

Margarita BALANAS, painting

In this concert at the art gallery, music meets painting. We will listen to a wonderful interplay between the cello and harpsichord when two old friends and like-minded musicians, the harpsichordist Aina Kalnciema and Germany-based cellist Ramón Jaffé, meet in a programme of Baroque and contemporary music. They will take us on a musical history-filled journey, from the ancient pieces by Bach and Handel to original works by our contemporaries, Pēteris Vasks, Juris Karlsons and the cellist Ramón Jaffé. The programme comes with a surprise, a performance by the cellist Margarita Balanas who is a soloist at the festival gala ‒ she will transform the mood of the concert into colour, painting accompanied by live music.

Sunday, 15 September 2019, 15:00, Lielā zāle

Musical shadow and picture show for children TANABATA OR THE LEGEND OF TWO STARS

Guna ŠNĒ, cello

Agnese EGLIŅA, piano

Elīna ENDZELE, percussion

Minako SUZUKI, dance

Hiroko OSHIMA, stage design

Director Varis KLAUSĪTĀJS

An ancient Japanese legend of life in the Kingdom of Heaven, of Princess Orihime, her beloved Hikoboshi and Emperor Tentei, told like a dream in real life, music, pictures and dance. The thousand-year-old tale of love and heavenly bodies is revealed in a wondrous play, conjuring up the fairy-tale characters in pictures, shadows, music and dance. Three well-known Latvian musicians and two Japanese artists ‒ a dancer and an artist ‒ will engage in this imaginative play of fantasy. Guided by the director Varis Klausītājs, they will reveal the story of the characters of this ancient Japanese legend. Join us at the creative workshop before the event.

Tickets are available at Concert hall "Cēsis" ticket office, "Biļešu Paradīze" ticket offices and on the internet at For more convenient price a festival subscription is available.

Cesis Tourism Information Center

Address: Baznīcas laukums 1, Cēsis

Latvija, LV-4101

Tel. +371 28318318

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