Numerous highlights at the Tbilisi Piano Fest

Georgia's capital in a piano frenzy for ten days: The Tbilisi Piano Fest, founded by Dudana Mazmanishvili and partnered by C. Bechstein, thrilled the Georgian audience. International and local pianists gave concerts in the beautiful hall of the State Library and in the Great Hall of the National Conservatory as well as master classes in the National Youth Palace. Highlights were two open-air concerts with the Georgian Phiharmonic Orchestra under Moritz Gnann with Dudana Mazmanishvili and Cyprien Katsaris as soloists.

Maria Canals winner Sandro Gegechkori filled in on short notice and opened the festival in his home country. Jerome Rose gave a master class and played a joint concert with the well-known Georgian pianist and television presenter David Aldiashvili. Great evenings were given at the Conservatory by Konstantin Lifschitz, as well as by Alexei Volodin and Edith Peña. Lifschitz triumphed with Bach's Goldberg Variations that the audience was still talking about days later. Standing ovations and waves of applause also for Severin von Eckardstein, whose extraordinary recital included his own transcription of "Death and Transfiguration" by Richard Strauss as well as Beethoven's last sonata.

Etsuko Hirose delighted the audience at the State Library with works by Weber, Liszt, Turina, De Falla, Moszkowski and Chopin. Jeffrey Swann explained the different perceptions of time of Beethoven and Schubert with Beethoven's Waldstein Sonata and Schubert's great B-flat Major Sonata. Bechstein-Bruckner Prize winner Irma Gigani was congratulated by half of Tbilisi after her wonderful concert in the Great Hall of the Conservatory. And Festival Director Dudana Mazmanishvili made hearts beat so high with her fine Mozart playing that after the open-air concert in front of the Palace of the President of the Republic she was presented with a whole sea of flowers! Cyprien Katsaris, together with Moritz Gnann and the Georgian Philharmonic Orchestra, provided the final highlight of the festival with his sophisticated interpretation of Beethoven's Third Piano Concerto. The anticipation for next year is already aroused!