Jury Member, Piano Section
Elisso Virsaladze grew up in a family in Tbilisi, which was for generations involved in the art and culture of Georgia. She received her first piano lessons from her grandmother, Professor Anastasia Virsaladze. After attending the conservatory, she left her native city and moved to Moscow. At the age of twenty she won the third prize in the Tchaikovsky Competition.
In Moscow, she continued her studies with Heinrich Neuhaus and Yakov Zak. These gifted teachers had not only a deep influence on her artistic development, but also immersed her in the renowned tradition of Russian piano pedagogy. It is therefore not surprising that she is recognised today as an exceptional teacher whose students have won sensational recognition at competitions. Moscow conservatory and Munich Musikhochschule have made Elisso Virsaladze a regular professor and there is hardly any important international competition where she has not been invited to take part in the jury. To mention only a few where she is regularly invited: Santander, Geza Anda in Zurich or Rubinstein in Tel Aviv as well as of course Tchaikovsky (and lately Richter) in Moscow.
Her deepest love is for the composers of the late 18th and 19th centuries, especially Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin and Schumann. At the age of twenty-four, she won the first prize at the Schumann Competition in Zwickau, and she has been described by the international press as one of the great contemporary interpreters of Schumann. At the same time, the pianist is well known for her wide repertoire up to and including modern Russian composers. The Soviet Union has honoured her with its highest artistic awards.
Elisso Virsaladze regularly performs in London, Milan, Rome, Paris, Lisbon, Berlin and Barcelona; duo concerts with Natalia Gutman took place f. i. in Vienna, Berlin, Brussels, Madrid, Munich, Milan, Geneva, London and Lausanne, to name only the most important European cities. In chamber music and with orchestras such as Petersburg Philharmonic or Royal Philharmonic London she has toured North America, Japan and Europe extensively. Besides this Elisso Virsaladze regularly appears with prestigious orchestras in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Japan the US and other countries.
Elisso Virsaladze has worked with conductors such as Rudolf Barschai, Kyril Kondraschin, Riccardo Muti, Kurt Sanderling, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Evgeny Svetlanov or Juri Temirkanov– to name only a few.
The label Live Classics where numerous recordings have been published opens a wide perspective onto Elisso Virsaladze’s musical personality.