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Othello, concert overture Op. 93
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini for piano and orchestra Op. 43
Symphony no. 7 in D minor, Op. 70
Born on 21 June 1987 in Tbilisi, Georgian pianist Khatia Buniatishvili was introduced to the piano at an early age by her mother. Aged six, she gave her début performance as soloist with an orchestra, and was subsequently invited to give guest performances in Switzerland, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Russia, Israel and the USA.
Above all, she embraces pianists from earlier generations such as Rachmaninoff, Richter and Gould. Khatia’s warm, sometimes sorrowful playing may reflect a close proximity to Georgian folk-music, which, she attests, has greatly influenced her musicality.
During her studies at Tbilisi’s State Conservatoire, Khatia won a special prize at the Horowitz International Competition for Young Pianists in Kiev in 2003 as well as first prize at the Foundation to Assist Young Georgian Musicians competition set up by Elisabeth Leonskaya.
At the 2003 Piano Competition in Tbilisi, she became acquainted with Oleg Maisenberg, who persuaded her to transfer to Vienna’s University of Music and Performing Arts. Winner of the Bronze Medal at the 12th Arthur Rubinstein Piano Master Competition in 2008, she was also distinguished as the Best Performer of a Chopin piece and as Audience Favourite.
Khatia Buniatishvili has given critically acclaimed solo recitals and chamber music concerts at such renowned venues as London’s Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and the Musikverein in Vienna. In 2008 she made her US concert début at Carnegie Hall (Zankel Hall), performing Chopin’s Second Piano Concerto.
Buniatishvili has played with, among other orchestras, the Orchestre de Paris under Paavo Järvi, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre National de France under Daniele Gatti and the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. She has also performed chamber music with musicians including Gidon Kremer and Renaud Capuçon.
A BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist for 2009–2011, Khatia regularly collaborates with BBC orchestras. In 2010 she received a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award and has been nominated by Vienna’s Musikverein and Konzerthaus as a Rising Star for the 2011/12 season.
In 2011 Khatia Buniatishvili made her recording debut with a Liszt recital on Sony Classical, following with her first recording accompanied with orchestra for a Chopin album.
In 2014, Buniatishvili released her third album on Sony Classical, titled Motherland. Rather than being devoted to one particular composer as her previous albums were, Motherland was an assortment of personally significant pieces, including music from her homeland Georgia. She dedicated the album to her mother. Her fourth album, Kaleidoscope, was released in 2016. It featured her interpretation of Pictures at an Exhibition as well as works by Ravel and Stravinsky.
Khatia Buniatishvili speaks five languages fluently and lives in Paris.
Chief Conductor and Artistic Director, Czech Philharmonic
Principal Guest Conductor, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor Laureate, BBC Symphony (London)
Renowned Czech conductor Jiří Bělohlávek was appointed Music Director and Artistic Director of the Czech Philharmonic in 2012, following on from his successful tenure as Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, of which he is now a Conductor Laureate. He was Chief Conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra (1977–89), Music Director of the Prague Philharmonia (1994–2004), was appointed President of the Prague Spring Festival in 2006. From 2013 to 2017, he was Principal Guest Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.
In opera, he has collaborated with the Vienna State Opera, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, New York’s Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Opéra National de Paris, the Teatro Real Madrid, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Zurich Opera, and the National Theatre in Prague. He has also conducted and recorded several opera-in-concert presentations with the BBC Symphony, to great acclaim. Confirming his preeminence as the conductor of Janacek, this past season he conducted the Czech Phil in a concert presentation of Jenůfa at the London Royal Festival Hall, as well as in full production the San Francisco Opera. This was followed by a performance of Janacek The Makropulos Case with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms.
Under his leadership the Czech Philharmonic is enjoying unprecedented success both at home in Prague, and on extensive tours. Together they have toured in the past three seasons on three continents, including Europe, Asia and North America. Their recent residency in Vienna at the Musikverein was a great success, and has lead to similar events being planned in other world capitals. The Czech Philharmonic announced in January 2017 that their partnership with Maestro Bělohlávek is now officially extended to 2022!
In addition to his ongoing Prague seasons and touring engagements with the Czech, he continues to perform as a guest conductor with the world’s major orchestras, including recent appearances with the BBC Symphony Orchestra (including at the London Proms), New York Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Washington National Symphony, and Deutsches Symphony Berlin, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and Vienna Symphony Orchestra. In the coming season, in addition to major projects with Czech Phil, he looks forward to engagements with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Bayerische Rundfunk Orchestra Munich, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, St Petersburg Philharmonic, and more.
With the Czech Philharmonic, he will conduct a major Asian tour in Autumn 2017 with concerts in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, in addition to appearances on tour in Europe, the highlight of which will be a performance of Janáček Glagolitic Mass at the Salzburg Festival in August 2018.
Jiří Bělohlávek has recorded extensively, with recent projects with the Czech Philharmonic including the complete symphonies and concertos of Dvořák. The series with Decca continues in the coming season, when a major disc of Suk will be recorded.
In 2012 he was awarded an honorary CBE for his services to British music.
According to the magazine Dalibor of 14 November 1891 Dvořák dedicated the concert overture Othello Op. 93 to Hans von Bülow. By representing the destructive passion of jealousy, it has the most dramatic, the most extensive and the most concrete program of the trilogy based on the pentatonic motifs. Dvořák began it in November 1891, but he had to interrupt the work because he went to England to attend the premiere of his Requiem in Birmingham on 9 October 1891. However, on 18 January 1892 the score was already finished. Othello is still in the classical sonata form, although in a rather loose concept, and unlike the two earlier overtures, full of expressive impulses, it is strongly dramatized.
In Seventh Symphony in D minor the composer presents an unusually grim position of himself, which is difficult to explain by the “objective” reality of his contemporary living conditions. Dvořák composed it in 1884 on a commission from the London Philharmonic Society, whose honorary member he became thanks to the success of his oratorios in Britain. The premiere, which took place on 22 April 1885 in St. James’s Hall under his direction, was a huge success – the audience applauded after every movement.
Having written four piano concertos, in 1934 Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff (1873–1943) composed his Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini for piano and orchestra Op. 43. He chose the Italian master’s Caprice for Solo Violin as the basic theme, to which he applied the variation form. The tumultuous orchestral introduction is in fact also the first variation, followed by the theme proper on piano. The subsequent variations bring a wide range of moods, from emotional, unrestrained musical textures to gloomy atmospheres and sorrowful episodes, to passionate, fervent expression, so typical of the composer’s performance practice at the piano. Showing his unique invention, Rachmaninoff’s masterpiece is often related to the constructivism fashionable at the time of its composition; obviously it is cited as a counterweight and contrast to the interwar directions in contemporary European music.
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