Star Performance of Exquisite Lady of Grand-Piano
25 October, 2012
Star Performance of Exquisite Lady of Grand-Piano

Telavi International Music Festival did not let down Georgian audience

Every Autumn, town of Telavi in Kakheti region turns into the venue of a wonderful event – International Music Festival. The main star of the event is a real magician of the modern pianism, Eliso Virsaladze. The festival was traditional during the Post Soviet time, like many other good cultural traditions that died away.

However, it has been restored presently to the delight of the old and new generation, which did not

have a chance to attend those magnificent soirees. From 2010, renovated Telavi International Music Festival opens annually for all music lovers and professionals.

The aim of the festival is to preserve, develop and popularize the classical music. This is the jubilee festival, dedicated to the 50th anniversary of Eliso Virsaladze’s creative life.

The grand occasion was opened by the performance of two young pianists – Evelyne Berezovsky from Great Britain, and Kim Tae-Hyung from Korea. In September program of the festival, famous young Georgian violin-player Lisa Batiashvili and well-known pianist Boris Berezovsky also participated. The festival comprised 6 concerts and the orchestras were staffed specially for the events by highly-professional musicians. The initial concerts were performed by Symphonic orchestras, directed by Anatoli Levin and the main discovery of the festival, 18-year-old Timur Zangiev from North Ossetia, whom the European audience knows well despite his young age. The festival was quite representative in which musicians from Georgia, Germany, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, Switzerland, Great Britain, Armenia, Korea, Portugal, Spain, Russia and Kazakhstan took part. All of them were hosted by Telavi Drama Theatre.

The festival’s soirees offered the colorful program to the audience; the line-up was augmented with international classic masterpieces. For the first time in Georgia, Robert Schumann’s Concert for Violin was performed.

Telavi International Music Festival has rather a long history and great musical traditions. Founded by Eliso Virsaladze in 1980s, titled at that time “Praise for Vine”, it had no analogue on the territory of former Soviet Union with its format (including series of concerts and master-classes), nor with the participants and its scale. In 2010, after almost 20-year-long interval, on the initiative of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and piano star Eliso Virsaladze, the festival was brought back under the new name. The administration purchased two “Steinway & Sons” grand-pianos especially for the festival. “I am happy that Telavi International Festival is gradually gaining momentum and is turning into a traditional festival. I am glad to see that the state supports the festival of classical music. It is also encouraging that the festival has got new trusties, which gives us hope that taking care of culture is becoming a matter of high priority in modern Georgia”, Eliso Virsaladze said.

The festival was capped with two Chamber music soirees. From the pieces of Mendelssohn, Chopin and Brahms, for me personally the most touching was the performance of the last one – quintet played by Eliso Virsaladze, Natalia Gutman (Cello), Ingolf Turban (Violin), Maria Kagan (Violin) and Nodar Zhvania (Viola). They were all good, but watching and listening to Eliso Virsaladze was so exciting that I had no words to express my respect towards this sophisticated performance of the great lady of piano. It is so very difficult to define where her magic sounds start and where they end – it is an endless river of music that engulfs you in a heavenly oblivion. “Eliso is an artist of great distinction, perhaps the greatest woman pianist of our time. She is a serious, deeply sincere and unpretentious musician… Eliso is an unforgettable Schumannist”, wrote Russian pianist Sviatoslav Richter. The closing day was very interesting – Schumann, Mozart and Chopin.

Eliso Virsaladze, 69, works as hard as ever. She has defeated her age both physically and spiritually and continues to star with major orchestras of the world. She often acts as an assessor for the most prestigious international competitions and is a professor of the Moscow Conservatory as well as at the Musikhochschule in Munich, with characteristic stamina, lady-like manners and modesty, which is so rare nowadays.

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