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Bridging Cultures And Empowering Women

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Award-winning concert pianist and multifaceted entrepreneur Olga Balakleets speaks to Bahrain This Week.

By Raji Unnikrishnan

Bahrain, a land steeped in history and vibrant traditions, has recently welcomed a distinguished visitor – Olga Balakleets, the internationally celebrated concert pianist and visionary entrepreneur. As she stepped onto the sun-kissed shores of the island kingdom, the ancient souks, the modern skyline, and the warm hospitality of the Bahraini people have already captivated Olga.

In an exclusive interview with Bahrain This Week, Olga shared her excitement about her first visit to Bahrain and her exploration of its rich cultural fabric. But beyond the awe-inspiring landscapes and architectural marvels, Olga’s purpose here transcends mere admiration. She envisions Bahrain as a hub for creativity, a place where women’s voices can resonate and flourish.

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“Yes, this is definitely one of the reasons for my stay, which is really to discuss this point and I can’t wait to bring Creative Women Forum to Bahrain,” said Olga.

Creative Women International Platform, which spans over 50 countries, champions successful female entrepreneurs who infuse creativity into their businesses. The annual conference organised by the platform serves as a catalyst for collaboration, empowerment, and innovation.

Olga reflected on her journey as a concert pianist to becoming a female entrepreneur, which led her to establish the Creative Women International Platform in 2016, transcending mere networking.

“When I was honoured with recognitions for my entrepreneurial strengths initially, I realised that it was also a recognition for the woman in me,” she said.
“This set my thoughts on the need for doing something for female entrepreneurs, which was the trigger for the Creative Women International Platform.”

As a pianist, Olga has left a significant mark on the world of music and culture. Her journey is a harmonious blend of creativity, leadership, and philanthropy. Olga’s musical talents were discovered at a young age, thanks to her mother, a piano teacher. She honed her skills at a music school in southern Russia and later secured a coveted spot at the Special Conservatory School in St. Petersburg.
“My journey was marked by challenges, but my passion for music propelled me forward,” said Olga with a smile.
As a soloist, Olga has graced prestigious stages worldwide, collaborating with renowned orchestras such as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Big Band, and Ensemble Modern. Her performances at international music festivals have garnered critical acclaim, captivating audiences with her virtuosity and emotional depth.

Beyond the piano, Olga is a multifaceted entrepreneur. She founded Venus Global Events, an international events company based in London. Under her guidance, Venus Global Events orchestrates cultural and philanthropic projects across the globe. Iconic venues like the Royal Opera House, London Coliseum, and the Royal Albert Hall have hosted these remarkable gatherings, reaching audiences far beyond their physical walls.

“I felt I could polish on my skills in putting together events and taking it beyond networking—yes, it was not easy; there was much to do and a lot of risks involved, especially with the big budget events, but I liked the challenges,” she explained.

Olga’s exemplary services did not go unnoticed. She has received prestigious accolades, including the St. Prince Dmitry Donskoi and St. Sergey Radonezhsky awards. Her commitment to culture, philanthropy, and creativity continues to inspire and uplift.

Olga also features at international conferences as a speaker, sharing her insights on cultural and philanthropic matters. Her writings find a home in several international publications, contributing to global dialogue. Her visionary spirit extends to Theatrum Vitae, a global venture uniting people through performing and visual arts. This initiative aims to dissolve barriers and create a lasting cultural legacy for generations to come.

Beyond the realm of music, she actively contributes to the sports and youth development sectors. Notably, she holds a position on the steering committee of Football for Peace (FfP), an organisation patronised by eminent figures such as Pope Francis, the Prince of Wales, and Prince Albert of Monaco. Additionally, Olga serves on the Board of Directors of Nicosia Young Ballet and leads the International Department of SIFFA, an organisation dedicated to the global advocacy of female football.

Olga continues to inspire and uplift, leaving a mark on the global cultural landscape. Her passion, vision, and dedication serve as a beacon for others to follow, reminding us all that creativity knows no boundaries.

Olga is in Bahrain with her son, John Gallant, 21, a music scholar at Clare College at Cambridge University. They are hosted by Kaneka Subberwaal, a Bahrain-based art collector, curator, and businesswoman. Indian Kaneka is the founder of Art Select and Tarakeeb, a collection of Bahrain-inspired clothing, lifestyle items, furniture, and wall art.

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