Night Serenades Festival 2019

Renowned American musician Billy Joel one said: “It's an explosive expression of humanity. It's something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we're from, everyone loves music,” and really, what could be better than listening to a piece of great musical composition and delving into an endless universe of imagination?

In Georgia, locals and guests of the country have for years been given the chance to attend performances of an increasing list of wonderful artists and enjoy incredible music. 2019 is no exception and after hosting the world stars of the pop music genre, among them Jessie J and the Black Eyed Peas, two Georgian cities Tbilisi and Batumi are to launch the 11th edition of the Night Serenades Festival, a real celebration for the classical music enthusiast.

The story of the Night Serenades Festival began more than three decades ago, in 1982, when prominent Georgian violinist and conductor Liana Isakadze launched the first concert within the scope of the festival in the city of Pitsunba, Abkhazia. However, due to political developments, the event was suspended for a number of years and was given a new life just 11 years ago, in 2009. The Night Serenades has found it own niche in the hearts of classical music-lovers and has become an inalienable part of the Georgian summer, as it takes place at the end of the month of August.

GEORGIA TODAY sat down with Giorgi (Giga) Isakadze, Creative Director of the Festival and nephew of Liana Isakadze, to learn more about the upcoming event.

“This year, we launched a very interesting and direct program in terms of soloist pieces,” he starts with enthusiasm. “That’s as well as an incredible orchestra program, which will include Serenade of Tchaikovsky, Barber’s Adagio, Chamber Symphony of Schostakowitsch and more.” He does not forget to mention the local composers, saying that the miniatures of Georgian Sulkhan Tsintsadze will also be performed at the Festival.

“The symphonic orchestra program is equally wonderful, though,” continues Isakdze, noting that the guests of the festival will have an incredible chance to enjoy Beethoven’s 8th Symphony, which in general is performed rarely and has not been played for wide audiences in Georgia for 20 years.

In addition, Isakadze tells us that the five-day festival will be completed by Nino Surguladze, famous Georgian Opera singer, who is to take to the stage with Manuel De Falla’s “El Amor Brujo”, which in English is translated as “Magical Love”. While speaking about Surguladze and her piece, Isakadze’s enthusiasm was impossible not to see.

“De Falla’s ‘Amor Brujo’ is full of Spanish-Gypsy fiery temper and emotions, strongly accentuating the brilliant performance the Georgian singer is expected to offer listeners.”

Isakade says he had a great desire for the program to include a number of works of Georgian composers and goes on to share an interesting story with us.

“This year, we invited an absolutely fantastic cellist, Jan-Erik Gustafsson, who has his own festival in Finland after Night Serenades and is terribly busy. But despite this, he accepted our invitation with pleasure and is now preparing to mesmerize the audiences of Georgia,” he says with a smile. “I sent the concerto of Vaja Azarashvili, firstly performed by my father, National Artist of Georgia and Professor Eldar Isakadze. My father and Liana successfully introduced the work of Azarashvili beyond the borders of our homeland. Music itself, which Vaja devoted to the memory of his father, is absolutely mesmerizing in its depth. Gustafsson admired it and accepted my request he perform it.”

Isakadze also noted the wonderful novelty that the world-renowned musician will include a part of the Georgian musical treasure in his repertoire. Vaja Azarashvili is also to be among the honored guests of the festival.

Along with Jan-Erik Gustafsson, famous violinist Anna-Liisa Bezrodny will also take to the stage and offer a virtuoso duet to the attendees. Aside from stunning performers, this concert is outstanding for yet another feature as it is to introduce the perception of music in colors, where the works of Vivaldi will be played against a background of wonderful artistic works.

At the Night Serenades Festival, Sandro Nebieridze, a young and promising Georgian pianist, will also perform.

The Creative Director of the event also focuses on the charity elements of the Festival and notes that on August 27, locals and foreign visitors in Batumi will have a chance to attend one of the concerts for free.

“The program of the festival is certainly very diverse and brings together numerous themes. And it takes a lot of time and effort from our team to form a descent program, which will underline the individualism of performers and offer an absolutely new concept.”

We ask Giga Isakadze about the audience and interest of youngsters in classical music.

“Today, youngsters are actively offered different genres of music, representing a part of the commercial sector and a source of major financial gain. It is obvious that classical music concerts cannot have such a large-scale. However, we do everything we can to make our festival interesting for all age groups and the fact that we also have youth performers may also serve as an inspiration or motivation for adolescents,” he tells us.

We also ask him to share his plans for next year’s Night Serenades, to which he replies with a smile, “All will be revealed!”

By Ketevan Kvaratskheliya

22 August 2019 17:09