Last September at the invitation of our friend George Ramishvili, chairman of Silk Road Group, I was privileged to attend the inauguration of the fabulous first Tsinandali Festival of classical music.
I admired to see how he has continued to believe that modern business forms an integral part of the world’s social and cultural community since our cooperation for “Dialogue with Emperor Qin: China EU Contemporary Sculpture Exhibition” in 2010.
Today, with his very bright and efficient team, Martin Engstroem and Avi Shoshani —who are the artistic directors and also founders of Tsinandali Festival —, they have created this top quality, international festival of classical music, which is absolutely innovative and without precedent in Georgia. They have brought together old and young world-class musicians and conductors, with the experienced Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra and the Pan-Caucasian Youth Orchestra. The latter was George’s wish, to bring the hope of living in peace to the young generation in Georgia and the neighboring countries. He believes that the most powerful weapon in this region is music. Classical music is anchored in the heart of the people. The Pan Caucasian Youth Orchestra is composed of 80 talented young members (aged 18-28), showcased for the very first time at the Tsinandali Festival. The following countries also support them: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Ukraine …
What are your ambitions for the Tsinandali Festival ?
To contribute to the upholding and continuation of the Tsinandali Estate’s historical, cultural and educational traditions has been an ambitious undertaking to start with. The Tsinandali Festival forms a perfect embodiment of this continuation: it has made my dream of making the Tsinandali Estate a cultural and educational center of international importance come true.
The Festival is a partnership with your company Silk Road and the State of Georgia. What benefits can you expect for your organization?
First of all I want to express our gratitude to the government of Georgia for its support given to the festival, which I think is unprecedented even in comparison with many wealthier states. We hope that this first festival has done its job and that future festivals will do even better. We expect benefits for both Georgia and Tsinandali, claiming a place on the map as one of the best classical music events. Apart from its cultural and educational impacts, it will have an indirect economic impact with the growth of tourism, with more people appreciating the beauty of our country, bringing progress and a better life to its inhabitants. There is a real example of this in Verbier from where we took inspiration and we hope to repeat this in Kakheti. If you mean any tax-related benefits or anything of that sort, there are none.
Why the choice of classical music?
There is a rich tradition of classical music in Georgia. Many Georgians are internationally renowned musicians, be they opera singers, violinists or pianists. Classical music is a universal language of culture and we are happy to have Georgian and international musicians and audience speak this language in Tsinandali, the language of peace and harmony.
The performing artists come from all around the world, is it your intention to make this festival an international event?
Yes, this is our intention, our dream and hope.
George Ramishvili is the Founder and Chairman of Silk Road Group. An entrepreneur with over twenty years’ experience, George founded SRG in 1996.
Silk Road Group (SRG), a privately held investment company, owned and run by Georgian and European partners, is active in Energy, Transportation, Hospitality, Entertainment, Real Estate and Telecommunications. Every SRG business has been established with the vision that Georgia is an integral part of the historic Silk Road trading route, the ancient geopolitical axis connecting Asia with Europe, where currents from the East link to those from the West, diverse ideas are exchanged and differences bridged by common values.
In a push to rediscover Georgian heritage through the revival of the country’s wine making traditions, SRG invested in a project to restore and promote the famous Tsinandali estate and gardens in the Kakheti region, the 19th Century Chavchavadze family manor house, its landscaped garden, a historic winery, wine cellar, hotel, museum and café, operating as a cultural and educational center. Tsinandali hosts numerous events and exhibitions, including an international classical music festival of growing importance.
Testimony by the promising young violinist Diana Sargsyan from Armenia
Today I live in Yerevan, Armenia, where I study at the music conservatory. I first began violin lessons aged 8, in my city Gyumri. I learnt about the festival from posters put up in the conservatory. When I researched it, I then found more information on the official pages. I was shocked to discover that it was the biggest festival I’d ever heard of. We were to play in a Pan-Caucasian orchestra, in concerts with the most amazing talented soloists in the world, such as Mischa Maisky, Yuja Wang, Lahav Shani, and Denis Kozhukhin. The concerts are conducted by major conductors (Gianandrea Noseda, Sir Andras Schiff, Gabor Takacs-Nagy, Pinchas Zukerman, Claudio Vandelli …) from all over the world. I came to this orchestra having had very little experience of playing in orchestras but I now feel that I’ve gained huge experience after only 40 days.
Dr Pick Keobandith,
Founder and Director Inspiring Culture