Oh, what a wonderful, majestic beginning. Mariam Batsashvili began Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in B minor powerfully – but not with violence, rather with grandeur. (…) The young pianist has a superbly clear attack, and technically speaking plays perfectly, without being interested in perfection or making a show of it. No, she is interested in something quite different: in maintaining intimate contact with the accompanying orchestra, for example, not only with her playing, but also physically, with looks and gestures. She understands music making as concert-giving in the best sense – together.
Süddeutsche Zeitung, Egbert Tholl, 13.5.2017
At just 24 years old, Mariam Batsashvili already ranks among the most promising young pianists of her generation. She gained international recognition at the 10th Franz Liszt Piano Competition in Utrecht 2014, where she won First Prize as well as the Junior Jury Award and the Press Prize. “Winner Batsashvili turns every phrase into something special”, headlined Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, and the international Jury called her a “complete artist” with a “tremendous touch” and “sincere emotion”.
Following this success, she gained her first experiences with leading symphony orchestras, including the Dutch Radio Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of James Gaffigan in the Concertgebouw Amsterdam (Liszt Piano Concerto No. 1), the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra under Rafael Payare (Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1) and the Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra (Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto No. 2). Mariam has also given recitals in more than 30 countries – among these China, South Korea, Indonesia, Brazil, the United States, South Africa, France, Spain, Norway, the Baltic countries, Benelux and Germany. She has been the guest of many international festivals, such as the Beethovenfest Bonn, Pianofortissimo Festival Bologna and the Delft Chamber Music Festival.
Mariam Batsashvili has just been announced as a BBC New Generation Artist and will perform at major festivals and concert venues across the UK as part of the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists scheme. She was nominated by the European Concert Hall Organisation (ECHO) as ‘Rising Star’ for the 2016/17 season, and performed in the most significant concert halls throughout Europe, including the Philharmonies of Paris, Cologne and Luxembourg, the Vienna Musikverein, the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, the Müpa Budapest, L’Auditori in Barcelona, the Stockholm Concert Hall, the Southbank Centre in London, the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, and returned to the Concertgebouw Amsterdam. She was enthusiastically received at London’s Wigmore Hall and gave her debut at the Piano City festival in Milan. She performed Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Wurttemberg Philharmonic Orchestra Reutlingen under Norichika Iimori in Munich’s Herkulessaal, and Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto with the Orchestre Dijon Bourgogne under Gábor Takács-Nagy.
The pianist’s 2017/18 season is also peppered with exciting debuts. As well as giving performances at the Philharmonic halls of St Petersburg and Berlin, she will appear at the Tonhalle Zurich and London’s Wigmore Hall. In September, she will make her debut at the Piano aux Jacobins festival in Toulouse. She will perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 K 488 with the MDR Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre National de Belgique and the Wurttemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn. Her touring schedule sees her appearing in countries including Mexico and the USA, and at the Rheingau Musikfestival she will give her first performance of Bach’s Goldberg Variations.
Born 1993 in Tbilisi, Georgia, Mariam Batsashvili first studied with Natalia Natsvlishvili at the E. Mikeladze Central Music School in her hometown, before continuing at the Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt in Weimar with Professor Grigory Gruzman. In 2011 she won First Prize at the International Franz Liszt Competition for Young Pianists in Weimar, and received the prestigious Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli Award in 2015. Mariam Batsashvili is a scholarship holder of the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben. She has been an official Yamaha Artist since 2017.
These youtube links take you to recordings from the 23° Festival Internacional de Piano Sala Beethoven 2017:
Liszt Piano Concerto No.1
Liszt Sonata en si menor
Link to Musical America article:
Review by Leslie Howard of Wigmore Hall concert on 17 January 2017:
MARIAM BATSASHVILI piano WIGMORE HALL Thursday, 19 January 2017 at 1pm
The whole audience at Mariam Batsashvili’s Wigmore Hall recital knew that this was a very special event; in what would have been exemplary playing in the hands of the most experienced master, we heard music played – simply, beautifully, brilliantly and winsomely – for all too short an hour, by a young artist of 23. Even her programme was reminiscent of the great performers of earlier times: one of Bach’s keyboard arrangements (of a Marcello oboe concerto, with its stunningly memorable Adagio); Liszt’s noble variations on the Sarabande and Chaconne from Handel’s Almira; Beethoven’s happy Rondo a capriccio; Bartók’s ground-breaking Allegro barbaro and finally two Liszt pieces – the proud thirteenth Hungarian Rhapsody and the engaging Tarantella from Venezia e Napoli. Mariam Batsashvili made every one of these works sound like a core-repertoire masterpiece, so honest and humble was her approach to the scores, so compelling and convincing her interpretations.
Bach’s homage to Marcello was deftly managed in the brisk outer movements, and the Adagio was played with solemn sincerity, the sound throughout being of an old-world refinement that conjured up the spirit of Josef Lhévinne. This spirit also informed Mariam Batsashvili’s account of Liszt’s late homage to Handel, ranging from intimate affection to alfresco celebration of the Baroque master, with some of Liszt’s marvellous late-Romantic sleights of hand with modulation and a truly wizard major-key transmogrification of the Sarabande at the peroration. This was Liszt playing as it ought to be: an abundance of technical facility placed absolutely at the disposal of the considerable musical substance – and which was further evidenced by Ms Batsashvili’s almost intimate conversation with the audience in the Rhapsody (with some exemplary pianissimo repeated notes, and the inclusion of Liszt’s rarely-played Eingang before the last page) and the Tarantella, which properly emerged from the murkiest depths into the most sparkling light. There was never any resort to the cheap and crude-sounding showmanship that is so often demonstrated to the detriment these pieces. The Beethoven Rondo was played with boundless charm and, for once, did not sound as if it was a trifle too long in the composition, and Bartók’s Allegro – often desecrated as a joyless showpiece by delinquents tyros – emerged as a very tough pronouncement delivered with utter conviction. The encore – the fiendish fourth of Liszt’s Grandes Etudes de Paganini – was played with a delicacy and charm that left the public lost for breath, let alone words.
Leslie Howard, London 2017
I am BBC New generation Artist 2017-2019!!!