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The Fiddler’s Child, ballad for orchestra
Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54
Symphony no. 6 in D major, Op. 60
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.
The Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in A minor Op. 54, is the one and only piano concerto that Robert Schumann created. Its genesis was fraught with complications. In 1841, the composer wrote the Fantasie in A minor,for piano and orchestra, which, however, did not arouse much interest on the part of publishers and music event organisers alike. Four years later, he decided to remake the piece into a piano concerto. The Fantasie became its first movement, followed by another two, Intermezzo and Allegro vivace. The Concerto was premiered on 1 January 1846, with Clara Schumann performing the solo part. The Gewandhausorchester Leipzig was conducted by Ferdinand Hiller, to whom Schumann dedicated the piece.
In comparison with the concertos of the time, Schumann’s stands out owing to its symphonic nature, which is audible at first listen. The first movement is characterised by abrupt changing of the tempo and alternating moods, right from the opening bar. The initial “incursion” of the orchestra, ensued by the cascades of chords on the piano, gives way to a sentimental melody delivered by the oboe, immediately repeated by the piano. This first theme is the movement’s main subject. Ample cadenzas are a typical trait of Schumann’s. The short middle movement takes the form of a lyrical dialogue between the piano and the orchestra. The main theme of the first movement reoccurs and forms the transition to the final movement. The energetic Allegro vivace, borne in a triumphant, joyous atmosphere, features a number of forcible experiments with rhythm.
Dvořák composed Symphony No. 6 in D major, Op. 60 spontaneously in the fall of 1880. It is the first work of Dvořák’s symphonic series to be published in print and as the first of all his symphonies it was performed abroad. The symphony was created during a short time span. Dvořák sketched it between 27 August and 20 September 1880 and finished the score soon afterwards between 27 September and 15 October. This took place in his “Slavic” period when during the previous two years 1878–1880 he composed three Slavonic Rhapsodies, the first series of his Slavonic Dances, Czech Suite and Violin Concerto in A minor.
Symphony No. 6 is an optimistic work with a warm and sunny atmosphere. Dvořák said that he tried to write a viable work which would please him as well. The countless reviews and analyzes of this composition are clearly dominated by the opinion that this is an essentially intrinsically Czech work of a healthy and earthy character, very pleasant and typical of Dvořák. It is undoubtedly also thanks to the fiery dance furiant, suggesting an affinity with Slavonic Dances. The Symphony in D major has a classical formal structure and its sections are well balanced. Its symphonic expression is enriched by a strong national accent. The sonata allegro of the first movement overflows with jubilant joy; Dvořák here primarily works with the main idea. In doing so he lavishly presents a number of other great musical ideas. Adagio of the second movement in the form of song is deeply meditative as well as lyrical. Scherzo of the third movement is a stylization of furiant with two vivid themes and, which has a gentle charm of a trio. The finale is a culmination of previous sections with dazzling joy and celebration of life.
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