The iPalpiti Festival is a musical of the United Nations

It’s not often that a 25-piece classical music ensemble represents at least 16 different countries. The iPalpiti Festival of International Winners purposely selects award-winning professional newcomers from a global roster to help them jump-start their careers and promote international peace.

The 25th edition of the festival will be held at the Encinitas Library next Thursday through Saturday afternoon and at the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center in La Jolla next Saturday night. A sampling of the countries represented: China, Ethiopia, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Venezuela and the United States

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 United States from the former Soviet Union in 1979.

“Also a renowned conductor, my husband has participated in numerous international music competition juries,” said Laura Schmieder, recounting the organization’s beginnings. “He saw high caliber performers and we realized they needed a way to transition from competitions into their careers.”

The musicians are chosen, not only for their musical excellence, but for their personality. 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 the iPalpiti musicians from Armenia and Turkey. Their countries may be enemies, but the two musicians become friends. They return home with humanitarian ideals and a desire to promote the traditions of classical music.

The festival, which will also offer concerts in Los Angeles from July 18 to 24, prides itself on presenting an extensive international repertoire.

Conductor Eduard Schmieder is responsible for the orchestral programming of these concerts. The July 16 concert at the Conrad’s Baker-Baum Concert Hall will feature works by composers such as Ukrainian Valentin Silvestrov, Romanian Georges Enescu and German Paul Hindemith.

Hindemith’s “Minimax”, a parody of military music, is part of the peace-focused 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 Hindemith’s work.

“There is whistling. The violins start playing out of tune and Eduard looks askance at them. Jokes are interspersed with music. The audience has a sense of humor.

Laura Schmieder programs the festival’s chamber ensembles, which will perform in Encinitas for its 10th year (2020 was held online due to the pandemic). From Beethoven and Grieg to Philip Glass and Samuel Coleridge Taylor, the varied selections showcase talented young performers.

Grieg’s Sonata No. 3 in C minor will be played by violinist Samuel Nebyu, born in Hungary of Ethiopian Jewish origin, and pianist Svetlana Smolina, a former student of iPalpiti of Russian origin.

Next Friday’s concert will feature the Splot Quartet from Poland. Due to pandemic restrictions, Splot (meaning closely related in Polish) performed virtually with iPalpiti in 2020 and was unable to travel here in 2021.

“It’s a great example of how iPalpiti works, how one musician leads to another,” said Laura Schmieder.

“Agnieszka Podłucka was a violist with us in 2019 and loved iPalpiti. She formed this foursome and told them it was the best professional experience she had ever had. So we said, ‘Come’!

Splot also includes cellist Dobrawa Czocher and violinists Karolina Gutowska and Kornelia Grądzka. Together 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!” laughs Laura Schmieder. “According to the zodiac, he and I shouldn’t be together. But it was love at first sight.

“Music is our priority. We are consistent in the choice of repertoire, stimulating but friendly for the public. For these post-conservatory musicians, we give them a platform to start their career. This exhibition is important as they are not yet known.

iPalpiti Festival: Virtuoso Series

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, and next Friday and Saturday

Where: Encinitas Library, 540 Cornish Drive, Encinitas

Tickets: $25

On line: ipalpiti.org

iPalpiti Festival: Orchestra on the Wings of Peace

When: 2 p.m. next Saturday

Where: Baker-Baum Concert Hall, Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, 7600 Fay Ave., La Jolla

Tickets: $48

On line: ipalpiti.org