Constella adds fresh names

Constella adds fresh names, maintains creative mix

Arjun Verma, sitar, with tabla player Indranil Mallick, will now open the Constella Festival, April 15. Photo by Kwik Pin Photography

As the makers of the 2001 action film “The Fast and the Furious” found out, sometimes it’s unwise to become “2 Fast, 2 Furious.”

Just ask Constella Festival founder Tatiana Berman, who learned she shouldn’t always measure success in growth. About to head into its fifth season, April 15-24, the festival offers an eclectic mix of unconventional classical programs at varied venues, featuring notable visitors with established and emerging local talent. Visual art and dance also color the festival.

“In our second year, we expanded to 24 events, but it was a logistical nightmare,” Berman said. “I’ve grown the brand since the inception, so for me growing the size of my audience is not really the main goal. We’re hoping to be sold out, which to me is more important than growing the size of our venues.”

Berman is a fiery violinist in her own right, as displayed in performances during previous Constella seasons and less formally through occasional Classical Revolution showcases at the Northside Tavern. With the Constella Festival, she amplifies that monthly mission, to showcase local musicians and ensembles outside the “big five or six” organizations and make classical music accessible and enjoyable to those who don’t see Music Hall as welcoming.

With early support from enthusiastic donors, Berman attracted superstar violinists Hilary Hahn and Joshua Bell to the inaugural festival in 2011. In recent seasons, Berman has sought artists with reputations that don’t command large font sizes on the marquee.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: In a late roster change, Sura & Max have had to cancel their appearance here. The opening concert will now feature Arjun Verma, sitar, and Indranil Mallick, tabla, in an evening of North Indian classical music. Other programs feature Constella Dance (April 16), Classical Revolution (April 17), pianist Zhang Zuo (April 21), an evening of new music from composer and pianist Michael Csányi-Wills (April 22), the first Constella music video and visual art competition (April 23) and a festival-closing recital with mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer (April 23).

Tickets for most events are $10 for students and $25 for adults, with festival passes running $60 for students, $119 for adults.

“This year, I’m just being creative and bringing in exceptional musicians who are not as well known in the U.S., and we can do that now that we’re more established,” Berman said. “If we’re true to our mission, presenting the highest-caliber musicians, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the names everybody knows.”

Artist trove Tatiana Berman

Violinist, founder and artistic director of the Constella festival, artist, music producer. International soloist and recitalist Tatiana Berman is "a young violinist with a mature, compelling musical personality" (The Strad).

Tatiana Berman is founder and Artistic director of the Constella Festival of Music and Fine Arts in Cincinnati, USA. Among the many festival events, Constella Festival presents world-class musicians, dancers, visual artists as well as newly commissioned world premiere music and choreography works.

As a chamber musician and soloist, Tatiana has collaborated with Joshua Bell, Jeremy Denk, Bryce Dessner, Ivry Gitlis, Sarah Ioannides, Steven Isserlis, Paavo Järvi, Elizabeth Leonskaja, Nico Muhly and Ted Nash. Tatiana performs with Constella string trio and is also a founding member of concert:nova, the Cincinnati-based multidisciplinary chamber music ensemble

Constella Festival

Great opportunity to inspire your friends and colleagues #daretoinspire #constella2016 Dare to Inspire!

For a limited time, buy one ticket to any Constella performance, and get another to share your experience with someone absolutely free! Art means so much more when we pass it on. #daretoinspire #constella2016

Constella Dance: Old World, Modern Expressions

constellafestival.orgDo you like ballet + modern dance + cool music? Tatiana Berman is performing alongside wonderful dancers from the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and selected dancers from the Cincinnati Ballet and CB2! More info Constella presents Cincinnati Ballet, CB2 & DCDC dancers in a premiere dance project alongside Max Baillie, Tatiana Berman + other guest musicians.

Tatiana Berman

constellafestival.orgTatiana Berman will be performing a world premiere violin concerto by Michael Csanyi-Wills. Jose Luis Gomez is conducting this fabulous performance which also features the world premieres of the Maestro suite. More info @

91.7 WVXU Cincinnati

Tatiana Berman is on Around Cincinnati this Sunday at 7 pm talking briefly about the upcoming Constella Festival

91.7 WVXU connects you to a world of ideas with NPR, local news from our award-winning news team, and music/entertainment programs heard only on public radio.

Hey Cincinnati! Constella Festival is offering FREE PERFORMANCES for kids - if you know of a school or an educational institution interested in presenting the programs please send us a message and we will direct you to the contact person. Thanks!!


Hope to see some St. Louis friends tomorrow night!

Tatiana Berman

culturemonster.orgNot So Classical is next week, do you have your tickets yet?

Constella 2016 announcement

For Good

Constella 2016 will push classical music boundaries to engage audiences

The annual Constella Festival has been presented at Memorial Hall and other venues

The annual Constella Festival has been presented at Memorial Hall and other venues

Constella Festival of Music and Fine Arts has announced its 2016 season, which is invigorated with new collaborations that push expectations and conventions for classical music into new territory.

The 10-day festival kicks off April 15 and, according to renowned Russian violinist and founder of Constella, Tatiana Berman, is designed with audience experience at the forefront.

“Constella has become known as a creative incubator for artists of the highest caliber,” Berman says. “We’ve always taken chances, learning from our experiences and audience reactions along the way. Our audience tell us that Constella affects their life, opening doors to new works, artistic expression.”

String performances of Baroque dance music and West African bardic spirituals will converge. Local electronic media students will contribute digital art to be paired with classical piano performances. World premieres of ballet and contemporary dance will grace the stage.

“Amazing things are happening in Cincinnati,” Berman says.

New this year: Grammy-award winning musicians, gallery owners and film industry professionals will judge music videos and fine art created by students competing to win $2,000 in prize money.

An effort to engage audience members of all ages is ongoing. Children’s concerts have been a success in the past, and they will continue this year with interactive components intended to pique the interests of young people who gain exposure to the scene in a unique, fun way.

“There’s energy one can feel just by walking around downtown,” Berman says. “We want to harness that energy. It’s the people of this city who inspire us. We hope to inspire them in return.”

Do Good: 

• Purchase a 2016 Constella Festival pass here for shows April 15-24 at the Cincinnati Art Museum, Aronoff Center for the Arts and National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

• Connect with Constella by signing up for the Constella Club newsletter.

• Support Constella by donating.

Stirring Narrative, Tatiana Berman

Berman, Kholodova Create Stirring Narrative

Mary Ellyn Hutton Posted: Apr 18, 2015 - 2:08:00 PM in reviews_2015

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Tatiana Berman
kholodova_image.jpgElena Kholodova







  Using ten short pieces, the concert mixed live performance and video monologue to present a narrative of Berman’s life. Selections ranged from Bach to Arvo Pärt, and each was exquisitely performed by the two artists. There was beautiful lighting (front and back) and a video screen, where Berman’s comments were projected. Century-old, beaux-arts style Woodward Theater, currently undergoing renovation, made a welcoming venue. The entire performance was filmed. Featuring violinist/Constella managing artistic director Tatiana Berman and Cincinnati collaborative pianist Elena Kholodova,  it was about the experience of music and how it can both affect and reflect our lives.“Not So Classical,” seventh event of the 2015 (fourth annual) Constella Festival of Music and Fine Arts Thursday night at Woodward Theatre in Over-the-Rhine, was something special.

Berman, a native of Moscow, began in her native country with memories of visits as a child to her grandmother’s garden. This was reflected in the gentle, affecting Arioso from Bach’s Cantata No. 156. Following this came the plaintive Melodie from Gluck’s opera“Orfeo ed Euridice.” The latter, she said, recalled the moment tragedy struck with the death of her mother when she was 12. Bathed in blue light, she gave it an extremely touching performance, recalling how “knowing and remembering my mom’s spirit kept me going.”

Her life changed again, she said, when, after studying at the Specialized Music School in St. Petersburg, she received a scholarship at the Yehudi Menuhin School in London and the Royal College of Music. Here she learned “how big the world was,” she said. This was given voice by a delightful reading of “Vogel als Prophet” (“The Bird as Prophet”) from Robert Schumann’s “Waldszenen.” Berman darted around the violin, with merry trills and bird calls, truly embodying a young bird on the wing.

Debussy’s “Claire de Lune,” expressive of her first love and marriage, was soft, caressing and supremely musical, with a soaring arc to it. “Everyone can create their own beautiful love place when they hear this,” Berman said.

“Who was I? It took a while to discover,” she said, referring to the turbulence of divorce and needing to find her own identity again. Playing the third movement of Schumann’s Violin Sonata No. 1 “reminds me of that,” she said, giving it a performance that was both brilliant and boldly assertive.

Berman’s newly restored confidence, when she discovered “who I was and what I wanted to do,” received virtuosic expression in Tchaikovsky’s Russian Dance, Op. 40, No. 1. Her two daughters “were always there for me and I was always there for them,” she noted.

“I am interested in a lot of different things,” Berman said, introducing Four Preludes from Shostakovich’s Twenty-four Preludes for Piano, Op. 34, arranged for violin and piano by Dmitry Tsïganov. She had learned to “be yourself and create the things you really want to create” (including in 2011, founding the Constella Festival of Music and Fine Arts). Front lit in warm, red light (matching Berman’s gown), this energetic set ended with a decidedly arch-sounding Prelude No. 24 in D Minor.

Adding music for reflection, she and Kholodova performed Arvo Pärt’s dreamy, spellbinding “Spiegel im Spiegel” (“Mirrors in the Mirror”). Here, she said, “you feel like you are transported to a different place in time.”

Debussy’s lovely “La fille aux cheveux de lin” (“The Girl with the Flaxen Hair”) from his Preludes, Book 1, No. 8, tenderly played by Berman, recalled the moment, she said, “when I became open to new beginnings, when I was ready to love again.”

Capping the program was Berman’s own arrangement with Julie Spangler of the famous Chaconne in G Minor by Vitali. Entitled “Vitali Variations,” it signified the establishment of a “new chapter in my life,” Berman said. Lit in multi-colors she and Kholodova gave it a splendid interpretation. “Life is really about love,” Berman said, “and that is what matters.”

Berman and Spangler’s music video “Vitali Variations” (performed by Berman and Spangler) can be found on YouTube.

The Constella Festival continues with “Constella Late Night,” featuring The Happy Maladies, at 9 and 10 p.m. tonight at Ivy Lounge, 645 Walnut St. and “Constella Dance: Stories of Hope and Despair” with Berman, Kholodova and dancers from Cincinnati Ballet at 3 p.m. Sunday in Harriet Tubman Theater at the Freedom Center, 50 E. Freedom Way. Information and tickets at

Constella pushes new boundaries

Constella Music and Fine Arts Festival pushes new boundaries

Some people’s notion of classical music is very traditional, rooted in the past, with rules and behaviors that seem dictated by codes that only insiders and aficionados understand.

Russian violinist Tatiana Berman, now a Cincinnati resident, is decidedly not one of those people, although her life has been lived in the world of classical music.

But she is committed to finding new paths to the future and participating in musical forms that continue to evolve. Cincinnati area music lovers are lucky that, for the fourth year, Berman is masterminding the Constella Music and Fine Arts Festival, an event she founded, from April 8-19.

She combines an eclectic vision of what classical music can become with her worldwide connections to musicians who believe in pushing boundaries. The results again will be showcased in venues around Cincinnati during April.

WCPO Insiders can read about the artists who will perform at Constella and hear some of their music.