February 28, 2019
Piatigorsky International Cello Festival Announces 2020 Festival

Following the unprecedented success of the previous Piatigorsky International Cello Festival in 2016, which welcomed more than 5,300 Festival attendees, the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music and the Los Angeles Philharmonic have announced the third iteration of this truly unparalleled, 10-day, 42-event Festival, will take place from March 13-22, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.  Bringing together masters of the cello and young cellists from around the world, this remarkable celebration of the cello, its music and musicians will present more than 30 renowned international artists representing 15 countries and four continents.  The Festival will also feature the world premieres of several newly commissioned compositions.

The Festival's Opening Gala Concert, taking place at USC Bovard Auditorium, features the USC Thornton Symphony, conducted by Carl St. Clair, in a vibrant program including R. Srauss's Don Quixote Op.35 with the inimitable Mischa Maisky.  The LA Phil subscription series, a series of three concerts conducted by Karen Kamensek, includes distinguished soloists Ralph Kirshbaum, Laura Van der Heijden, and Kian Soltani.

This year, the Festival presents a new music series, the Bach Series.  Each of the six programs features one of the Bach Cello Suites to be performed by a different Festival artist.  The Festival’s Lunch Series recitals provide an exciting diversity of works ranging from contemporary compositions, hidden gems, and beloved masterpieces.  In addition to these daily performances, Festival days are saturated with invaluable opportunities for audiences and young artists to interact with each other and with the resident artists via masterclasses, lectures, workshops, and forums.

“Yet the Piatigorsky Festival—a ten-day affair, divided between the University of Southern California and Disney Hall—was not the place to muse on the cello’s reputation for solemnity,” wrote New Yorker following the 2016 Festival. “A try-anything atmosphere prevailed, with a hint of late-night collegiate shenanigans sneaking in. Cellists sang, shouted, and banged gongs during performances. The renegade Italian cellist-composer Giovanni Sollima led exercises in improvisation, from Baroque styles to avant-garde noise-making. The repertory ran the gamut from Gesualdo (the SAKURA cello quintet arranged his madrigals) to Radiohead (Matt Haimovitz and Christopher O’Riley played the band’s “Pyramid Song”). The festival seemed intent on maximizing that familiar sense of the cello’s humanness: in every imaginable way, the instrument became a proxy for the person behind it.”

The grand finale of the 2020 Piatigorsky International Cello Festival, a Los Angeles Philharmonic Colburn Celebrity Series Concert, includes performances by Jean-Guihen Queyras, Camille Thomas, Narek Hakhnazaryan, the SAKURA Cello Quintet, and over 100 cellists in a single, mass cello ensemble on the stage of Walt Disney Concert Hall.

The Festival's roster includes some of the world’s most celebrated cellists - Mischa Maisky, Steven Isserlis, Jean-Guihen Queyras, David Geringas, Frans Helmerson, Giovanni Sollima, and Raphael Wallfisch, among others – some of whom carry on Piatigorsky’s legacy as his former pupils.  “The PICF programme reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of the cello world,” stated International Arts Manager at the previous Festival

Artistic Director and acclaimed cellist and pedagogue Ralph Kirshbaum, the Gregor Piatigorsky Chair in Violoncello at USC Thornton and Chair of the Strings Department, leads the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival, named in honor of the legendary cellist, Gregor Piatigorsky.  Piatigorsky, truly one of the legends of the cello and master of both performance and teaching, spent a period of incredible dynamism in the cultural life of Los Angeles when he settled there in the final years of his luminous international career.  Piatigorsky taught at the University of Southern California from 1962 until his death in 1976.  USC supports the Festival through Visions and Voices, a university-wide arts and humanities initiative which began in 2006.  Emphasizing the university’s commitment to interdisciplinary approaches and a variety of academic and artistic topics, the initiative features a wide range of events throughout the year.  

"The opportunity to connect with so many of my esteemed friends and colleagues in the cello world---bringing their musical thoughts and passions, as well as their remarkable artistry and creative energy, into the heart of the Festival planning process from the outset---is one of the great pleasures and blessings of my life in music. The support and commitment of the formidable administrative and operational team at USC Thornton, together with the unwavering support of our partners at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, enable us together to create an experience that has proven to enrich, inspire, and at best indelibly transform the lives of so many," remarks Artistic Director Ralph Kirshbaum.

In addition to the nearly three dozen accomplished cellists invited to perform and teach during the Festival will be the young cello students from around the world, who will be selected to participate in these masterclasses and workshops, all of which are conducted in a public forum setting.  The Festival includes a Young Cellists Workshop, and an Improvisation Workshop led by Giovanni Sollima.  “But perhaps the festival's most important lesson to the young obsessives, and one true to Piatigorsky's legacy, is that as much as the cello may be the center of a great cellist’s life, for musicians to express life, they have to live,” said the Los Angeles Times of the 2016 Festival.

In honor of the Festival’s namesake, a 2018 documentary film by Murray Grigor and Hamid Shams will be shown, after which a panel comprising Piatigorsky’s students will discuss his teaching and enduring musical influence.  

Click below for snippet of Cellist: The Legacy of Gregor Piatigorsky

Uniting two of Los Angeles’s most treasured artistic institutions - USC Thornton School of Music and the Los Angeles Philharmonic - the 2020 Piatigorsky International Cello Festival aims to highlight the cello against the backdrop of one of the most culturally diverse and progressive metropolitan areas in North America. Simon Woods, CEO of LA Phil, states: “We are very pleased to once again be partnering with the USC Thornton School of Music to present the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival. Piatigorsky was an immensely important figure in Southern California’s musical community during his lifetime, and this festival is a wonderful celebration of his legacy as an artist and educator. We are especially excited to welcome so many new voices from around the world as part of the 2020 festival, and we can’t wait to fill Walt Disney Concert Hall with their collective sound!”

“Yet to focus on individual achievement, however laudable, may be to miss the festival’s larger point: its accumulation of talent and adventure in a fixed spot for a limited time—a cello Brigadoon, if you will. Comparing, say, Thomas Demenga, a Swiss of uncommon grace and probity, with David Geringas, a fierce and magnetic Lithuanian who studied under Mstislav Rostropovich, is to risk diminishing their abundant individual merits. And, indeed, to see both in performance at the festival (each also gave a master class) is to realize that the cello can easily accommodate a wealth of approaches. Some musical verities are unarguable, but the rest are subject to acts of persuasion. Mr. Kirshbaum’s festival afforded cellists and other music lovers the chance to consider many things—repertory, interpretation, pedagogy,” published the Wall Street Journal in May 2016

For more information about the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival, go to piatigorskyfestival.usc.edu

 

Cellists
Thomas Demenga • Chiara Enderle • David Geringas • Clive Greensmith • Narek Hakhnazaryan • Frans Helmerson • Steven Isserlis • Michael Kaufman • Terry King • Ralph Kirshbaum • Maria Kliegel • Jakob Koranyi • Benjamin Lash • Laurence Lesser • Antonio Lysy • Jens Peter Maintz • Mischa Maisky • Gabriel Martins • Yoshika Masuda • Peter Myers • Jean-Guihen Queyras • Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt • Inbal Segev • Andrew Shulman • Giovanni Sollima • Jeffrey Solow • Kian Soltani • Torleif Thedeen • Camille Thomas • Laura Van der Heijden • Istvan Vardai • Quirine Viersen • Raphael Wallfisch • Wendy Warner

Conductors
Karen Kamensek
 • Carl St.Clair

Ensembles
LA Phil • 
USC Thornton Symphony •  Piatigorsky Festival Orchestra •  SAKURA Cello Quintet

Collaborative Pianists
Bernadene Blaha • 
Ya-Fei Chuang • Kevin Fitz-Gerald • Juho Pohjonen • Robert Thie

 

Friday, March 13, 2020

Opening Gala Concert
7:30PM • Bovard Auditorium
USC Thornton Symphony
Carl St.Clair, 
conductor
Mischa Maisky, cello
R. Strauss: Don Quixote, Op. 35

 

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Maisky Discussion
11:00AM-12:30PM • Alfred Newman Recital Hall

Piatigorsky Film and Panel
Cellist: The Legacy of Gregor Piatigorsky
3:00PM • Alfred Newman Recital Hall
Panel featuring students of Piatigorsky
Terry King (
Official Biographer of Piatigorsky)
Laurence Lesser
Mischa Maisky
Jeffrey Solow
Raphael Wallfisch

Recital Gala
7:30PM • Bovard Auditorium
Cellists
Thomas Demenga
Chiara Enderle
David Geringas
Frans Helmerson
Antonio Lysy
Mischa Maisky
Andrew Shulman
Quirine Viersen
Raphael Wallfisch

Pianists
Bernadene Blaha
Jujo Pohjonen
Robert Thies

With a 7:00PM Pre-Concert Talk presented by American cellist, Jeffrey Solow

Schumann: Five Pieces in Folk Style, Op. 102 (Demenga)
                     Adagio and Allegro  (Enderle)
                     Fantasy Pieces, Op. 73 (Helmerson)
Mendelssohn: Sonata in B-flat Major, Op. 45, Op. 3, No. 1 (Lysy)
                          Cello Sonata in D Major, Op. 58, No. 2 (Geringas)
Variations Concertantes, Op. 17 (Shulman)
 Song Without Words (Viersen)
Brahms: Sonata in E Minor, Op. 38 (Wallfisch)
Sonata in F Major, Op. 99 (Maisky)

 

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Master Class with Maria Kliegel
10:00AM • Alfred Newman Recital Hall

Lunch Series Concert
1:00PM • Alfred Newman Recital Hall
Jakob Koranyi, 
cello
Juho Pohjonen, piano
A. Hillborg: Duo for Cello and Piano
M. Lysenko: Sum, Elegy for Cello and Piano
Shostakovich: Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op. 40

Master Class with Frans Helmerson
3:00PM • Alfred Newman Recital Hall

Bach Series
7:00PM • Alfred Newman Recital Hall
Thomas Demenga, 
cello
Bach: Cello Suite No. 1

Piatigorsky Festival Orchestra
8:00PM  Bovard Auditorium
Thomas Demenga, 
cello
Jens Peter Maintz, cello
SAKURA Cello Quintet
Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt, 
cello
Giovanni Sollima, cello
Istvan Vardai, cello
Raphael Wallfisch, cello
Vivaldi: Concerto for two cellos in g minor, RV 531 (Maintz and Schmidt)
Weinberg: Concertino (Wallfisch)
Sallinen: Nocturnal Dances of Don Juan Quixote (Demenga
Giovanni Sollima: Violoncelles vibrez! (Sollima, Vardai, and SAKURA)
Costanzi: Concerto in G major (Sollima)
Costanzi: Concerto in F major (Sollima)

 

Monday, March 16, 2020

Master Class with Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt
10:00AM • Alfred Newman Recital Hall

Lunch Series Concert
1:00PM • Alfred Newman Recital Hall
Quirine Viersen, 
cello
JacobTV: Glacier (US Premiere)
Britten: Cello Suite No. 1

Master Class with Ralph Kirshbaum
3:00PM • Alfred Newman Recital Hall

Bach Series
7:00PM • Alfred Newman Recital Hall
Frans Helmerson, 
cello
Bach: Cello Suite No. 2

Evening Recital
8:00 PM • Bovard Auditorium
Maria Kliegel, 
cello/Robert Thies, piano
David Geringas, cello/Bernadene Blaha, piano
George Onslow: Sonata Op. 16, No. 3 (Kliegel)
Camillo Schumann: Cello Sonata in G Minor, Op. 59, No. 1 (Kliegel)
Fazil Say: Four Cities: IV. Bodrum  (Kliegel)
Weinberg: Sonata, Op. 63, No. 2 (Geringas)
Grigory Krein: Poéme (Geringas)
Julian Krein: Sonata-Poem for Cello and Piano (Geringas)

 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Master Class with Torleif Thedeen
10:00AM 
• Alfred Newman Recital Hall

Lunch Series Concert
1:00PM 
• Alfred Newman Recital Hall
Kian Soltani, 
cello
Bernadene Blaha, piano
Arvo Pärt: Fratres
Reza ValiPersian Folk Songs (Set.16C)
                  The Girl from Shiraz
                  Love Drunk (mastom-mastom)

RachmaninovCello Sonata, Op. 19

Master Class with Thomas Demenga
3:00PM 
• Alfred Newman Recital Hall

 Bach Series
7:00PM 
• Alfred Newman Recital Hall
Jakob Koranyi, 
cello
BachCello Suite No. 3

Evening Recital
8:00PM 
• Bovard Auditorium
Cello Duello
     Jens Peter Maintz
     Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt

HaydnDuo in G Major Hob: XII:1+4
Adagio cantabile
Allegro
Minuetto
Allegro molto

DutilleuxTrois strophes sur le nom de Sacher (Maintz)
PaganiniCantabile (arr. Cello Duello)
ProkofievMarch for Children (arr. Piatigorsky) (Schmidt)
WeinbergPrelude No. 21
PiatigorskyPromenade: Prokofiev Meets Shostakovich
RostropovichEtude
WeberAdagio und Rondo (arr. Piatigorsky, transcribed for two cellos) (Cello Duello)
OffenbachDuo in E Major, Op. 54
Händel-HalvorsenPassacaglia (ar. Cello Duello)

 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Master Class with Jens Peter Maintz
10:00AM 
• Alfred Newman Recital Hall

Lunch Series Concert
1:00PM 
• Alfred Newman Recital Hall
Inbal Segev, 
cello
Juho Pohjonen, piano
PoulencSonata for Cello and Piano
Gity RazazLegend of Sigh: Concerto for Cello and Electronics

Improvisation Workshop
3:00PM 
• Alfred Newman Recital Hall
Giovanni Sollima, 
cello

Bach Series
7:00PM 
• Alfred Newman Recital Hall
Laurence Lesser, 
cello
BachCello Suite No. 4

Pre-concert talk at 6:30PM on the Bach Suites presented by Jeffrey Solow

Evening Recital
8:00PM 
• Bovard Auditorium
Torleif Thedeen, 
cello/Juho Pohjonen, piano
Wendy Warner, cello/Kevin Fitz-Gerald, piano
BarberCello Sonata, Op. 6 (Thedeen)
GriegCello Sonata in A Minor, Op. 36 (Thedeen)
MyaskovskyCello Sonata No. 2 in A Minor, Op. 81 (Warner)
BrittenCello Sonata in C Major, Op. 65 (Warner)

 

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Master Class with Laurence Lesser
10:00AM 
• Alfred Newman Recital Hall

Lunch Series Concert
1:00PM 
• Alfred Newman Recital Hall
Chiara Enderle, 
cello
Robert Thies, piano
BeethovenSonata in C Major, Op. 102, No. 1
PendereckiCapriccio per Siegfried Palm
StravinskySuite Italienne

Master Class with Steven Isserlis
3:00PM 
• Alfred Newman Recital Hall

Bach Series
7:00PM 
• Alfred Newman Recital Hall
Jean-Guihen Queyras, 
cello
BachCello Suite No. 5

Evening Recital
8:00PM 
• Bovard Auditorium
Giovanni Sollima, 
cello
Istvan Vardai, cello/Bernadene Blaha, piano
Giovanni SollimaConcerto rotondo (Sollima)
Giulio de Ruvo (sec XVII): Romanella and Tarantella for violoncello senza basso (Sollima)
Alfredo Piatti: Tema con variazioni sul Carafa (Sollima)
Eliodoro SollimaSonata 1959 for cello solo (Sollima)
Francesco CorbettaCaprice de Chaconne (arr. G. Sollima) (Sollima)
Traditional SalentoSantu Paulu (Sollima)
Giovanni Sollima Fandango after Boccherini (Sollima)
KodályCapriccio for Solo Cello (Vardai)
JanáčekPohadka (Vardai)
SchubertSonata in A Minor, D. 821 Arpeggione Sonata (Vardai)
PopperHungarian Rhapsody, Op. 68 (Vardai)

 

Friday, March 20, 2020

Exhibition Hall
9:00AM - 6:00PM • USC

Laura Van der Heijden with Los Angeles Philharmonic
11:00AM 
• Walt Disney Concert Hall
HaydnCello Concerto No. 1 in C Major

Lunch Series Concert
2:00PM 
• Alfred Newman Recital Hall
Camille Thomas, 
cello
Kevin Fitz-Gerald, piano
ProkofievCello Sonata
BeethovenCello Sonata in A Major, Op. 69

Master Class with David Geringas
4:00PM 
• Alfred Newman Recital Hall

Bach Series
7:00PM 
• Alfred Newman Recital Hall
Istvan Vardai, 
cello
BachCello Suite No. 6

Evening Recital
8:00PM 
• Bovard Auditorium
Jean-Guihen Queyras, 
cello
Steven Isserlis, cello/Ya-Fei Chuang, piano
LigetiSolo Sonata (Queyras)
KodálySolo Sonata, Op. 8 (Queyras)
Beethoven12 Variations in F Major Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen (Isserlis)
SchumannThree Romances, Op. 94 (Isserlis)
KabalevskySonata in B-flat Major, Op. 71 (Isserlis)

 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Exhibition Hall
9:00AM - 6:00PM 
• USC

Instrument Forum
11:30AM
 • Alfred Newman Recital Hall
Featuring Joseph Bein/Bein & Fuschi
Florian Leonard/Florian Leonard Violins
Simon Morris/J & A Beare
Bruno Price/Rare Violins of New York
Jason Price/Tarisio
Chris Reuning/Reuning Violins

Lunch Series Concert
2:00PM 
 Alfred Newman Recital Hall
Clive Greensmith, 
cello/Robert Thies, piano
Narek Hakhnazaryan, cello/Kevin Fitz-Gerald, piano
Pál HermannCello Concerto, First Movement (Greensmith)
MartinůCello Sonata No. 1 (Greensmith)
TsintzadzeFive Folk Pieces for Cello and Piano (Hakhnazaryan)
BagdasaryanNocturne (Hakhnazaryan)
HarutyunyanImpromptu (Hakhnazaryan)
TchaikovskyNocturne No. 4, Op. 19 (Hakhnazaryan)
Rostropovich Humoresque (Hakhnazaryan)

Master Class with Jean-Guihen Queyras
4:00PM 
• Alfred Newman Recital Hall

Kian Soltani with the Los Angeles Philharmonic
8:00PM 
• Walt Disney Concert Hall
SchumannCello Concerto in A Minor, Op. 129

 

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Workshop for Young Cellists
11:30AM 
• Alice and Eleonore Schoenfeld Symphonic Hall 
A workshop for young, emerging cellists

Ralph Kirshbaum with the Los Angeles Philharmonic
2:00PM 
• Walt Disney Concert Hall
Julia AdolpheWorld Premiere with the LA Phil Commission

Colburn Celebrity Series Recital
7:30PM 
• Walt Disney Concert Hall
Jean-Guihen Queyras, 
cello/Juho Pohjonen, piano
Camille Thomas, cello/Bernadene Blaha, piano
Narek Hakhnazaryan, cello/Kevin Fitz-Gerald, piano
SAKURA Cello Quintet
Mass Cello Ensemble

FranckSonata (Queyras)
DebussySonata (Thomas)
Milhaud: Braziliera (Thomas)
FaureElegy, Op. 24 (Hakhnazaryan)
PaganiniVariations on the A String (Hakhnazaryan)
Donald CrockettWorld Premiere, Comissioned by New Music USA (SAKURA)
Debussy The Girl with the Flaxen Hair (SAKURA)
Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasilieras No. 5 (Mass Cello Ensemble)
BachAir (Mass Cello Ensemble)

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