The iPalpiti Festival is a musical United Nations
The 25th season will showcase young classical artists from at least 16 countries in Encinitas, La Jolla and Los Angeles
It’s not often a 25-piece classical musical ensemble represents at least 16 different countries. The iPalpiti Festival of International Laureates purposely selects prize-winning professional newcomers from a global roster to help them get their careers started and to promote international peace.
The festival’s 25th edition is coming to the Encinitas Library Thursday through next Saturday afternoon, and to The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center in La Jolla next Saturday evening. A sampling of the countries represented: China, Ethiopia, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Venezuela and the U.S.
No wonder the festival — pronounced ePALpiti — has been called the “United Nations of Music.”
The Los Angeles-based iPalpiti Artists International, which oversees the festival, was founded by Eduard and Laura Schmieder, both professional violinists who immigrated to the U.S. from the former Soviet Union in 1979.
“Also being a renowned conductor, my husband participated on many juries of international music competitions,” Laura Schmieder said, recounting how the organization began. “He saw high-caliber artists and we realized they needed a way to move from competitions to their careers.”
Musicians are chosen, not just for musical excellence, but for their personalities. The goal is to create more than just musical harmony.
“Reviews of our concerts always note how well the musicians play together,” Laura Schmieder said.
“For example, take iPalpiti musicians from Armenia and Turkey. Their countries may be enemies, but the two musicians become friends. They return home with humanitarian ideals and the desire to promote the traditions of classical music.”
The festival, which will also feature concerts in Los Angeles between July 18 and 24, prides itself for presenting a wide-ranging international repertoire.
Conductor Eduard Schmieder does the orchestral programming for those concerts. The July 16 concert at The Conrad’s Baker-Baum Concert Hall will feature works by such composers as Ukraine’s Valentin Silvestrov, Romania’s Georges Enescu and Germany’s Paul Hindemith.
Hindemith’s “Minimax,” a parody of military music, fits in with the peace-oriented iPalpiti Festival.
“It’s not easy to make the musicians in an orchestra sound like they don’t know what they’re doing,” Laura Schmieder said of the Hindemith work.
“There’s whistling. Violins start to play out of tune and Eduard looks at them askance. Jokes are interspersed within the music. Audiences get the humor.”
Laura Schmieder programs the festival’s chamber ensembles, which will perform in Encinitas for its 10th year (2020 was held online because of the pandemic). From Beethoven and Grieg to Philip Glass and Samuel Coleridge Taylor, the varied selections showcase the talented young performers.
Grieg’s Sonata N 3 in C-minor will be played by violinist Samuel Nebyu, born in Hungary of Ethiopian-Jewish descent, and pianist Svetlana Smolina, a Russian-born alum of iPalpiti.
Next Friday’s concert will feature the Splot Quartet from Poland. Because of pandemic restrictions, Splot (which means tightly knit in Polish) performed virtually with iPalpiti in 2020 and was unable to travel here in 2021.
“This is a prime example of how iPalpiti works, of how one musician leads to another,” Laura Schmieder said.
“Agnieszka Podłucka was a violist with us in 2019 and loved iPalpiti. She formed this quartet and told them it was the best professional experience she’d ever had. So we said: ‘Come’!”
Splot also includes cellist Dobrawa Czocher and violinists Karolina Gutowska and Kornelia Grądzka. With Polish-American pianist Łukasz Yoder, they will play Grażyna Bacewicz’s Piano Quintet No. 2.
Eduard and Laura Schmieder are now celebrating the 25th iPalpiti Festival, followed by their 50th anniversary in December. How do they make it work?
“We don’t see each other all the time!” Laura Schmieder said with a laugh. “According to the zodiac, he and I should not be together. But it was love at first sight.
“The music is our priority. We are consistent in choice of repertoire, challenging but audience friendly. For these post-conservatory musicians, we give them a platform to start their careers. This exposure is important when they’re not yet known.”
iPalpiti Festival: Virtuoso Series
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 14 , and next Friday. July 15, and Saturday, July 16
Where: Encinitas Library, 540 Cornish Drive, Encinitas
iPalpiti Festival: On Wings of Peace Orchestra
When: 2 p.m. next Saturday, July 16
Where: Baker-Baum Concert Hall, Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, 7600 Fay Ave., La Jolla
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