Yerkin Tatishev of Kusto Group Unites Nations at Festival
By Space Coast Daily // June 21, 2023
Every year, musicians and spectators from all over the world flock to the classical music festival, which takes place in Tsinandali, Georgia.
The Tsinandali Festival was established four years ago to create a place where people from around the world could take part in open cultural exchanges and connect with other classical music fans from other countries.
The team behind the festival proved this in earnest in 2022, when musicians from Ukraine and Russia both performed in Tsinandali. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, tensions between the two countries have exploded. However, Yerkin Tatishev and his fellow festival co-founders succeeded in uniting performers from the two nations in rural Georgia.
It is not the first time that musicians from two countries in conflict have come together at the Tsinandali Festival stage. Performers from Armenia have stood side-by-side with Turkish artists despite the fact that Turkey is one of the only countries in the world to deny that the Armenian genocide took place.
From 1915 to 1923, up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by forces of the Ottoman Empire (present-day Turkey). It is a conflict that still lingers to this day.
Reaching a wider audience with the Tsinandali Festival
Yerkin Tatishev, who not only co-founded the Tsinandali Festival but is also the founder of the international holding company Kusto Group, recently said that cultural diplomacy continues to play a big role at the festival.
In Tsinandali, the founders hope that the annual festivities can help bridge people’s and countries’ differences through music.
“Today, the Tsinandali Festival is not only there to promote music and culture but also dialogue and conversations. By creating an inclusive and welcoming environment, we have encouraged artists and audiences from different nations to come together and engage in meaningful dialogue, create friendships and connect,” Yerkin Tatishev shared.
“Through music, we can transcend political, social and historical differences and focus on a passion that can be shared by all,” the Kusto Group founder added.
He also said that he and Kusto Group will continue to promote cultural exchange and foster the cultivation of artistic excellence at the festival in the future. In order to do so, they are working on getting more globally renowned artists to perform on the Tsinandali stage, thus reaching a wider audience.
Kusto Group and Yerkin Tatishev’ vision for the future
Education will also play a bigger role at the Tsinandali Festival in the future.
“We aim to enhance educational programs and initiatives that support emerging talents in Georgia and the region. We believe that by expanding the education programs, we can greatly enhance the young generations to take interest in classical music and embrace themselves in the creative processes that can inspire them to achieve great success in all walks of life,” Yerkin Tatishev revealed.
Moreover, as indicated by Yerkin Tatishev, cultural exchange will retain its crucial significance at the festival in the forthcoming years.
“The Tsinandali Festival will continue to foster positive relationships, promote cross-cultural understanding and serve as a testament to the unifying power of music. Together, we can continue to elevate the Tsinandali Festival and make it a central place for cultural exchange in the region,” he stated.
David Garrett takes the Tsinandali stage
The Tsinandali Festival recently delivered on its promise to attract artists that are known by a wider audience. It did so by announcing the performance of the German violinist David Garrett at the 2023 festival.
This year, the festivities take place from August 31st to September 10th. Tickets can be bought on the festival’s website.
David Garrett is scheduled to take the stage on September 7th at 7 PM. He is expected to play songs by Vivaldi, Fauré, Mozart, Schubert, Saint-Saëns, Dvořák and Kreisler, among others.
Renowned for his ability to blend classical and contemporary music, David Garrett has showcased his unique talent through remarkable renditions of songs such as Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” and Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida.”
Yerkin Tatishev: “We create environment where they can break down cultural barriers”
Lisa Batiashvili, Julien Quentin and the Pan-Caucasian Youth Orchestra are also on this year’s program. The latter is a Tsinandali Festival veteran. Comprising members hailing from Ukraine, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Georgia and Armenia, the ensemble serves as the festival’s resident orchestra.
Yerkin Tatishev recently explained that the orchestra was put together to provide young musicians of various backgrounds with the chance to unite in music and showcase their musical skills.
“By bringing together these talented individuals from the Caucasus, Central Asia and the wider region, we create an environment where they can learn from each other, break down cultural barriers and form lifelong connections and friendships,” he said.
“The impact has been tremendous over the years, not only in terms of musical development but also in fostering mutual respect and understanding among the participating musicians, and this is something that has been recognized by our audiences,” Yerkin Tatishev stated.