Piatigorsky International Cello Festival

Piatigorsky International Cello Festival The official page of the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival, presented by the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, in partnership with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

Operating as usual

If you're still sad about the Piatigorsky Festival not happening this year (we know you are), check out The Strad's fabu...
03/23/2020
Cello Focus | The Strad

If you're still sad about the Piatigorsky Festival not happening this year (we know you are), check out The Strad's fabulous digital tribute to the Festival, "Cello Focus." There, you'll find Ralph Kirshbaum, Mischa Maisky, Yo-Yo Ma (age 7), and more. It's all free through April 23. What are you waiting for?

The Strad has put together a digital tribute to the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival, including reports on previous Piatigorsky events and a selection of the best cello coverage from our extensive archive, in collaboration with our sponsors.

03/11/2020

The University of Southern California has announced the cancellation of the 2020 Piatigorsky International Cello Festival, scheduled to take place March 13-22. The University made the decision as a precaution due to the uncertainty around the COVID-19 virus and its impact on large scale events and gatherings as well as the travel disruption our artists and participants may experience.

We are heartbroken about the cancellation of this unique celebration of music, held every four years in Los Angeles. The Festival’s 42 meticulously planned events were to be the culmination of three years of planning, collaboration and visionary programming.

“We want to thank everyone who has worked so hard to create this extraordinary festival,” said Ralph Kirshbaum, the Festival’s artistic director, “from the musicians here in Los Angeles to those who were set to travel the world to be here, to our remarkably supportive sponsors, and to the dozens of USC staff members who have attended to every detail in order to provide all of us with an extraordinary, seamless experience. If any reassurance of the warmth, affection and generosity of spirit of my beloved colleagues in the cello world was needed, the events of the past 24 hours have amply provided it. The unanimity of their concern, compassion and encouragement has been overwhelming.”

Among the many delights that would have greeted visitors at the Festival is a very special “Cello Tree,” tracing the pedagogic lineage of cellists at the festival through the generation of teachers that came before them, including Piatigorsky and Rostropovich, to Pablo Casals, and even further back, to the 18th century. We hope you enjoy perusing this remarkable genealogical document. You can see it here: https://bit.ly/33bivIb

Four LA Phil concerts at Walt Disney Concert Hall, which were included as part of the festival, are scheduled to take place as planned: March 20 with soloist Laura van der Heiden, March 21 with soloist Kian Soltani and March 22 at 2pm with soloist Ralph Kirshbaum as well as the Colburn Celebrity Concert on March 22 at 7:30 pm. For more information, visit: https://www.laphil.com/

Kirshbaum added, “We hope everyone, not least our artists, Fellows, patrons and enthusiasts, stays healthy and safe. Know that we will look to create another great cello festival as soon as circumstances permit.”

03/09/2020
✨ Meet Our Jury ✨

Our very own Ralph Kirshbaum is one of the members of the jury at the upcoming Menuhin Competition Richmond 2020 in May. As you can see, he'll be in excellent company. We're guessing he won't really get excited about that until, say, March 23.

Welcome back to our #Menuhin101 series! In this video we get to know our distinguished jury and why they're so excited to be a part of the Menuhin Competitio...

Festival cellist Jakob Koranyi has officially thrown his hat into the ring for the "best hair in classical music today" ...
03/06/2020

Festival cellist Jakob Koranyi has officially thrown his hat into the ring for the "best hair in classical music today" contest, arguably in a close tie with Steven Isserlis and Official: Mischa Maisky. It's all subjective...

The PICF is presented by the USC Thornton School of Music and the LA Phil, with support from The Strad and Classical KUSC.

03/06/2020

We want to let you know that, unfortunately, Giovanni Sollima was forced to cancel his appearance at the Festival due to the COVID-19 quarantine in Italy.

But the good news is that we have wonderful artists stepping in to perform in his place.

On Sunday evening, March 15, Narek Hakhnazaryan, a winner of the 2011 Tchaikovsky Competition who has since delighted audiences and critics around the globe, steps in with pieces by Boccherini and Giovanni Sollima.

On March 19, the Evening Recital will now feature the cello quintet SAKURA with a selection from their unique repertoire.

Wishing a very happy birthday to PICF Artistic Director Ralph Kirshbaum!
03/04/2020
Kirshbaum Associates

Wishing a very happy birthday to PICF Artistic Director Ralph Kirshbaum!

Wishing you the happiest of birthdays dear Ralph!! 💙

02/27/2020
Maria Kliegel's Tennis Match

Ask German cellist Maria Kliegel about the gym, and she’ll tell you it’s overrated. Maria likes to stay fit, but a yoga mat or tennis court is usually enough for her.

Even though she was warned not to -- for fear of injuring her hands -- Maria’s been playing tennis for almost 40 years. Staying active and engaging in something outside of music has kept her soul healthy and happy. Plus, unlike the stage, the court doesn’t have rules against screaming out with anger or joy…

On March 15, Maria will present a masterclass, and on March 16, she’ll perform in the Evening Recital with Robert Thies, Pianist, alongside cellist David Geringas.

Festival Info Here: https://piatigorskyfestival.usc.edu/
March 15: https://calendar.usc.edu/event/picf_20_recital_gala_570
March 16: https://calendar.usc.edu/event/picf_20_piatigorsky_festival_orchestra

The PICF is presented by the USC Thornton School of Music and the LA Phil, with support from The Strad and Classical KUSC.

March is just around the corner — the Festival will be here before you know it!
02/25/2020

March is just around the corner — the Festival will be here before you know it!

See you soon, LA! My wonderful pianist Juho Pohjonen and I will perform Poulenc's Sonata for Cello and Piano at the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival on March 18. I will also play Gity Razaz's very cool piece “Legend of Sigh” for cello and electronics. Hope to see you there!
Photo credit: Lisa-Marie Mazzucco.

https://piatigorskyfestival.usc.edu/

Too excited to wait 'til March? Check out Festival cellist Giovanni Sollima's recently released album, Natural Songbook,...
02/24/2020
Sollima: Natural Songbook by Giovanni Sollima

Too excited to wait 'til March? Check out Festival cellist Giovanni Sollima's recently released album, Natural Songbook, from Warner Classics & Erato Italy featuring 19 original compositions!

Preview, download or stream Sollima: Natural Songbook by Giovanni Sollima

There are still three days left in The Strad's giveaway contest. Enter now to win!
02/20/2020
The Strad

There are still three days left in The Strad's giveaway contest. Enter now to win!

Don't forget to enter our competition in association with the 2020 Piatigorsky International Cello Festival, taking place 13–22 March:

bit.ly/371pLqd

Some people like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, cellist Inbal Segev's family prefers a tour with a bit more history...Inbal...
02/19/2020

Some people like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, cellist Inbal Segev's family prefers a tour with a bit more history...

Inbal and her family have traveled to destinations like Paris and Yellowstone, but some of their favorite memories include visiting the homes of Bach (Eisenach, Germany), Beethoven (Bonn, Germany), Schubert (Vienna, Austria), and even Holyrood Abbey – the inspiration for Mendelssohn’s Scottish Symphony – among others!

At this year’s festival, make sure to catch Inbal at the Lunch Series Concert on March 18, where she and pianist Juho Pohjonen will perform the works of Poulenc and Razaz.

March 18: https://calendar.usc.edu/event/picf_20_lunch_series_concert_5702
Festival Info Here: https://piatigorskyfestival.usc.edu/

The PICF is presented by the USC Thornton School of Music and the LA Phil, with support from The Strad and Classical KUSC.

A sweet #TBT from festival cellist Evan Drachman's childhood. Once a year, his family would go across the country to LA ...
02/13/2020

A sweet #TBT from festival cellist Evan Drachman's childhood. Once a year, his family would go across the country to LA to visit his maternal grandfather, Gregor Piatigorsky.

“He had a remarkable connection with children and a magnetism that made me, even as a small child, want to be near him. He never spoke down to me. I didn’t always understand everything he said but I felt special. I remember him taking me out to a fancy dinner when I was about ten years old. We were both dressed in coat and tie. When the waiter came to take our order, I copied what my grandfather was having – steak and potato. The waiter then inquired what type of dressing I would like on my salad. I looked to my grandfather and he said ‘Russian!’ I think of my grandfather often. His warmth, charm, wisdom and wit have a unique place in my heart and mind. I still miss him today and wish we could discuss music, cello and life.”

On March 14, Evan will be joining former students of Piatigorsky at the Film Screening & Panel Discussion to discuss his teaching and lasting musical influence.

Photo Circa '72:
Back: Evan Drachman, Gregor Piatigorsky
Front: Jonathan Drachman, Anton Piatigorsky, Auran Piatigorsky, Eric Drachman

March 14: https://calendar.usc.edu/event/picf_20_maisky_discussion#.XkHLJzJKjcs
Festival Info Here: https://piatigorskyfestival.usc.edu/

The PICF is presented by the USC Thornton School of Music and the LA Phil with support from The Strad and Classical KUSC.

Here are some seriously fun facts that you probably didn't know about the members of SAKURA, who'll be performing in the...
02/11/2020

Here are some seriously fun facts that you probably didn't know about the members of SAKURA, who'll be performing in the Festival this year.

One of cellist Laura van der Heijden’s favorite hobbies is baking sourdough bread from scratch. She kindly shared her re...
02/06/2020

One of cellist Laura van der Heijden’s favorite hobbies is baking sourdough bread from scratch. She kindly shared her recipe with us below:

Making sourdough bread from scratch is an extremely satisfying process that always gives perfect results – until it doesn’t. It's simple yet complicated. Like life

You need FLOUR, WATER, SALT, and an oven.

To begin, all you need is a good starter: a mixture of water and flour that’s left to ferment for at least a week, made from a combo of flours, such as rye or spelt.

You also need to make a “levain” (another mixture of water & flour) and “autolyse” the flour (a gentle mixing of the mixture). Or just make it all at once, and leave the mixture for 1–24 hrs until it’s changed size in some way.

Then put it in the fridge overnight or just for 20 min. Or definitely don’t put it in the fridge.

Bake it for 30 min. at 270° or bake it at a different temp for 1 hr or until it looks done – just make sure to bake it in a tin. Or without one if it’s wet, so that the mixture turns into a flat pancake.

Enjoy your varied results which still are somehow always edible 😂

The PICF is presented by the USC Thornton School of Music and the LA Phil with support from The Strad and Classical KUSC.

Cellist Terry King studied and worked with the master himself  for many years, and recalls this exchange with Piatigorsk...
01/30/2020

Cellist Terry King studied and worked with the master himself for many years, and recalls this exchange with Piatigorsky… for today’s #TBT:

Our classes were formal affairs, with coats and ties. We always stood when he entered the room and addressed him as Mr. Piatigorsky. Once after a lesson at his home, he asked if I liked the Los Angeles Lakers (the LA basketball team). I, of course, said I did. “Well, there’s a game in a couple of hours, shall we go?” I enthusiastically responded, “yes!”

“Do you think a few students would like to go?” he asked. “Of course!” I responded. He then gave me his phonebook and asked that I call a few: “I’m at Piatigorsky’s. We’re going to a Laker game, want to come?” After my calls, I asked why he didn’t speak to them. He replied, “I just wanted to know how you referred to me when not in the class.”

They did actually go to the Lakers game that day (in case you were wondering). On March 14, Terry will be joining other former students of Piatigorsky at the screening of a documentary about the great cellist followed by a panel discussion on his teaching, lasting musical influence and perhaps his personality, as well.

Photos above:
Left: Terry and Piatigorsky at his home in 1975
Middle: Terry adjusting Piatigorsky’s robe at Grinnell College where he was given an honorary doctorate.
Right: Terry and Piatigorsky at Grinnell College in 1976

The PICF is presented by the USC Thornton School of Music and the LA Phil, with support from The Strad and Classical KUSC.

Festival Info Here: https://piatigorskyfestival.usc.edu/
March 14: https://calendar.usc.edu/event/picf_20_maisky_discussion#.XjHt4DJKjcs

You may know Steven Isserlis​ as one of the world’s leading cellists. But here are 4 things you might not know:1. He cam...
01/28/2020

You may know Steven Isserlis​ as one of the world’s leading cellists. But here are 4 things you might not know:

1. He came up with two of the best titles ever for the children’s books he wrote and published (in several languages): Why Beethoven Threw the Stew and Why Handel Waggled his Wig.
2. He is a big fan of the Marx Brothers, and making other people laugh.
3. Though he is not related to Groucho Marx, his family tree can be traced back to Karl Marx. And Felix Mendelsohn, for good measure.
4. He might have the best hair in classical music today, although it’s arguably a tie with Official: Mischa Maisky!

Steven also knows a thing or two about classical musicians. If you think do too, try out his quiz here: http://stevenisserlis.com/quiz/

Steven will be doing a PICF masterclass on March 19 and an evening recital of Beethoven, Schumann and Kabalevsky with pianist Ya-Fei Chuang on March 20.

March 19: https://calendar.usc.edu/event/picf_20_master_class_with_Steven_Isserlis#.Xe7HP5NKjcs
March 20: https://calendar.usc.edu/event/picf_20_evening_recital_3470

The PICF is presented by the USC Thornton School of Musicc​ and the LA Phil, with support from The Strad​ and Classical KUSC​.

01/24/2020
Zlatomir Fung's Bullet Chess Match

Washington Square Park in New York City is infamous for its built-in stone chess tables, where you can find enthusiasts and sharks playing for fun and money. Bulgarian-Chinese cellist Zlatomir Fung likes to play chess there when he can find the time, and he’s been honing his craft — Bullet Chess, to be specific — since he was 11.

While some boys played video games, Zlatomir took to playing online Bullet Chess — a faster version of chess that allows players less than 3 minutes of playing time per game. As you’ll see in the video of Zlatomir and his friend, Oliver, playing at the The Juilliard School Student Center below, things can get a little crazy when pieces get knocked over; playing online keeps it cleaner. When he can, Zlatomir tries to play for at least half-an-hour every day. And when he’s not playing chess or cello? Try the movie theater — he’s a diehard film fan, too.

On March 15, Zlatomir will be performing with the Piatigorsky Festival Orchestra, where he’ll be playing Sallinen’s Nocturnal Dances of Don Juan Quixote.

Festival info here: https://piatigorskyfestival.usc.edu/
March 15: https://calendar.usc.edu/event/picf_20_opening_gala_concert#.XiivCjJKjcs

The PICF is presented by the USC Thornton School of Music and the LA Phil, with support from The Strad and Classical KUSC.

Congrats to cellist and Festival Fellow Erica Piccotti for winning Young Artist of the Year at the International Classic...
01/22/2020
International Classical Music Awards 2020 names winners

Congrats to cellist and Festival Fellow Erica Piccotti for winning Young Artist of the Year at the International Classical Music Awards. We can't wait to have her and the other Fellows at this year's festival, where they'll get to participate in an Improvisation Workshop, various masterclasses, and the mass cello ensemble!

The international competition, which marks its 10th anniversary, has announced its list of winners, with two string players among them

If Andrew Shulman – principal cellist of the LA Chamber Orchestra – is cooking his Chicken Tagine, hopefully you'll have...
01/22/2020

If Andrew Shulman – principal cellist of the LA Chamber Orchestra – is cooking his Chicken Tagine, hopefully you'll have an invitation to join him for dinner.

Years ago, Andrew and his wife, Janet, tasted the dish on a trip to Morocco and became obsessed. He’s been trying to perfect his version of it ever since, and he's gotten pretty close. He was kind enough to share his recipe below – let us know if you try it out!

He also has REALLY cute dogs – but don't worry, they don't have anything to do with the Tagine.

Festival info here: https://piatigorskyfestival.usc.edu/
March 14: https://calendar.usc.edu/event/picf_20_recital_gala

The PICF is presented by the USC Thornton School of Music and the LA Phil, with support from The Strad and Classical KUSC.

Congrats to István Várdai - cellist​, who was recently named Artistic Director of the prestigious Franz Liszt Chamber Or...
01/21/2020
István Várdai named artistic director of Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra

Congrats to István Várdai - cellist​, who was recently named Artistic Director of the prestigious Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra in Budapest. We're looking forward to having István at our festival this year and wish him the best of luck in this new endeavor!

The PICF is presented by the USC Thornton School of Music​ and the LA Phil, with support from The Strad​ and Classical KUSC.

Hungarian cellist described the new post as 'a very inspiring and beautiful task'

Swiss-born cellist Chiara Enderle Samatanga - Cellist grew up around music — often playing, sleeping or listening backst...
01/17/2020

Swiss-born cellist Chiara Enderle Samatanga - Cellist grew up around music — often playing, sleeping or listening backstage with a babysitter — while her parents’ Carmina Quartet performed around the world. Today, Chiara spends time on stage as a passionate young soloist and chamber musician.

We love this photo of a glowing Chiara at her recent wedding in Zimbabwe, which (after an earlier celebration in Zurich) gave her husband's Zimbabwean family a chance to celebrate together and introduced some of the Europeans to a little bit of Zimbabwean culture. Chiara says Zimbabweans really know how to throw a party — any gathering is an excuse for everyone to dance. And then there is also the calm and peace she finds in her husband's rural village, blessedly out of reach of her cell phone.

At PICF, Chiara will be one of nine cellists in the opening Recital Gala on March 14. She’ll also be doing a Lunch Series concert with pianist Robert Thies on March 19, featuring music by Beethoven, Penderecki, and Stravinsky.

Festival info here: https://piatigorskyfestival.usc.edu/
March 14: https://calendar.usc.edu/event/picf_20_recital_gala#.Xe6jiJNKjcs
March 19: https://calendar.usc.edu/event/picf_20_lunch_series_concert_5036#.Xe6jo5NKjcs

The PICF is presented by the USC Thornton School of Music and the LA Phil, with support from The Strad and classical music radio Classical KUSC.

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