George Edelman is the founder and Art Director of the ELBA ISOLA MUSICALE D’EUROPA Festival. Trained pianist, authoritative teacher, he has a long experience as founder and director of internationally renowned music festivals.
Born in the Soviet Union, he settled in New York in 1978, starting an intense activity in the United States as a sought after chamber music player and as a professor of piano and chamber music at the Mannes College of Music and The New York University (NYU) both in New York City.
In 1986 he was appointed Director of the New York University Summer School in Italy, where he taught the history of chamber music and conducted a seminar on German Lied for a large group of students from the NYU. To give more breath to the event, on that occasion he invited several illustrious fellow musicians to participate in a series of chamber music concerts together with the students: this improvised musical gathering was enormously successful and became, in fact, the first step towards the foundation of the Camerino International Chamber Music Festival, which started in 1987. After eight years of constant growth and excellent results, Edelman decided to leave the Artistic Direction of the Camerino Festival to face new challenges, aware of having created a well-rooted event.
In 1988, George Edelman returned to Europe, choosing Paris as his city and the basis of his activity as an organizer of musical events. In 1997, together with the famous violist Yuri Bashmet, he founded the ELBA ISOLA MUSICALE D’EUROPA Festival, contributing with this initiative to bring back to life and restore the fascinating Teatro dei Vigilanti, the historic theater of Portoferraio, built in 1814 by Napoleon Bonaparte. The theater, abandoned for almost fifty years, was reopened for the opening concert of the Festival in October 1997. Since then, every year, an exceptional group of artists, chamber orchestras and internationally renowned ensembles have come together to make music on this lovely island.
In 2004 George Edelman was appointed Artistic Director of Ferrara Musica by its founder and president Claudio Abbado: for ten years Edelman ensured the continuous presence of Abbado in Ferrara until the death of the Maestro in January 2014, regularly producing his concerts and opera performances with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Orchestra Mozart. Edelman directed Ferrara Musica until 2018. In 14 years he has significantly contributed to the growth of its audience through numerous initiatives, such as the establishment of innovative subscription formulas, the production of ancient and baroque music events valorizing the historical and architectural splendour of Ferrara and capitalizing on its unique musical past, the hybridization of the public thanks to the series of contemporary music concerts at the local Jazz-club, drawing new enthusiasts through trendy concerts on Sunday morning, as well as the organization of Ferrara Sintonie – poetry and music themed evenings. As part of his work in Ferrara, Edelman led the Gustav Mahler International Youth Academy, dedicated to the advanced training of young orchestra musicians.
Tireless and passionate cultural operator, George Edelman currently focuses his creative energies on the ELBA ISOLA MUSICALE D’EUROPA Festival, in view of its 25th anniversary (2021).