Margarita Balanas – Assistant Conductor 2023/24
Latvian Margarita Balanas will be Paavo Järvi’s Assistant Conductor this season.
Latvian Margarita Balanas, born in 1993, initially attracted attention as a cellist. She won her first competition at the age of eight and played at London’s Wigmore Hall by the time she was 17. She has performed with the Munich Philharmonic, played for King Charles III when he was still Prince of Wales, and been promoted by musicians such as Anne-Sophie Mutter, Lynn Harrell and Gautier Capuçon. Margarita frequently performs with her sister, the violinist Kristīne Balanas.
In the meantime, however, Margarita has also attracted attention as a promising conductor – with the Ensemble Anonimi, among others, which she founded. The orchestra experiments with many different styles and formats. Since attending the Academy in Pärnu, she has become part of the extended Järvi family: not only has she worked with Paavo Järvi, but also with his father Neeme Järvi and his brother Kristian Järvi.
Margarita Balanas is now to succeed Izabelė Jankauskaitė at the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich as our Music Director’s Assistant Conductor. As Paavo Järvi explains, he only selects talents for this position who he believes has the potential to have a real career as a conductor. «Nowadays, what it takes for this profession is more of a mystery than ever – but you can tell immediately whether someone has that certain something. And Margarita Balanas has it.»
As Assistant Conductor, she will attend rehearsals, compare what she hears with the score, take note of technical and interpretational details and – as Paavo Järvi's second pair of ears, as it were – check the sound balance. She herself will then be conducting at the final concert of the «What do you think, Ocean?» family project ( Abschlusskonzert «Was denkst du, Ozean?»).