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Lisa Batiashvili :

Sibelius Violin Concerto



"Batiashvili's Playing is Full of Mood, Poise and Charisma" – New York Times
Georgian-born violinist Lisa Batiashvili (pronounce BAH-tee-AHSH-vee-lee) will release the first recording under her exclusive Sony BMG Masterworks contract on October 2.  This must-have release features concertos by Finnish composers Jean Sibelius and Magnus Lindberg, deftly performed by Sakari Oramo and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. 

The dazzling Sibelius Concerto, recorded live in Helsinki in May 2007,  has been a staple of Batiashvili's repertoire.  Her international career was launched at the International Jean Sibelius Competition in 1995, when, at the age of 16, she was the youngest-ever competitor and the Second Prize Winner.  In a performance review last year, the Chicago Sun Times commented on her "stunningly confident performance" of the work (with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra), hailing her "confidence and elan," "emotional as well as musical weight" and "sense of organic unity."  The Chicago Tribune praised Batiashvili as "terrifically gifted... she played as beautifully as she looked, her pure yet firmly projected tone cutting through the dark scoring.  It's rare to hear any fiddler, especially one so young, play... with such rapt lyricism.  And you could only be astounded by her gutsy virtuosity, uncanny digital prowess and leonine bow arm.  A spontaneous standing ovation was her richly deserved reward....A concert to be long remembered."

Lindberg's Concerto, written for expressly for Batiashvili and recorded in the presence of the composer in Helsinki, received its debut by the violinist last year at Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival, where critics praised her "staggering achievement," (Financial Times), "spectacularly poised" performance (Newsday), "the almost spiritualised intensity of her fine, high playing... [and] the fierce physicality of her virtuosity" (The London Times). 

"It is so well written, so rich and musically written," commented Batiashvili about the Concerto. "I was really very excited to hear [Lindberg's] orchestration, and the harmonic and linear writing are so interesting. The piece is so clear, it speaks for itself. It was easy to make music out of it... I'm still finding more in this piece each time I play it. It's a piece with an amazing future."

As Allan Kozinn described the work in his review for The New York Times, "In the [concerto's] opening pages, the solo violin line was surrounded and eventually engulfed by the orchestral strings, which created the clean, icy texture that became the spine of much of the 25-minute score. Eventually this texture became the backdrop for embellishments of all kinds, ranging from adventures in gamelan scales, to moves that sounded like lost visitors from the world of film soundtracks.

"Lisa Batiashvili played the solo violin line with energy and agility, and a tightly focused sound that wove easily in and out of the orchestral fabric, and she seemed unfazed by the line's postmodern shifts from Bartokian angularity to lyrical sweetness.

The lengthy, riveting cadenza near the end of the work is full of beauty and surprise, and it samples the full gamut of violin technique, from pizzicato to sliding and trilling, to lush melodies in double stops. Ms. Batiashvili made the most of its showpiece qualities but also maintained its internal coherence."

An international "violin star" (Billboard), Batiashvili will return to the U.S. for two series of concerts this season, performing Beethoven with Lorin Maazel and the New York Philharmonic (September 19 – 21) and Shostakovich with Osmo V?nsk? and the Minnesota Orchestra (October 4 & 5).

Born in Tbilisi, Georgia and educated at the Musikhochschules in Hamburg and Munich, where she is currently based, Lisa Batiashvili is an exclusive Sony BMG Masterworks recording artist.  She performs with the most prestigious international orchestras and was celebrated as one of the first BBC 'New Generation Artists' in 2001.  In 2003 she was named winner of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival's Leonard Bernstein Award and, more recently, was the recipient of the Beethoven Ring Prize from the Beethoven Festival Bonn. She continues to make an indelible impression on the international music scene, with stunning successes throughout Europe, North America, Australia and the Pacific Rim territories.  Batiashvili plays the 1709 Engleman Stradivarius, loaned by the Nippon Music Foundation.

RCA Red Seal, Sony Classical, deutsche harmonia mundi, Masterworks Broadway and Masterworks Jazz are labels of SONY BMG MASTERWORKS.  For e-mail updates and information regarding RCA Red Seal, Sony Classical, deutsche harmonia mundi, Masterworks Broadway and Masterworks Jazz artists, promotions, tours and repertoire, please visit www.sonybmgmasterworks.com.