Georgia’s Road to Carnegie Hall



Georgia is becoming ever better known internationally. This time, it was not Georgian wine that was presented, it was the music talent of Georgia that charmed the United States.

David Gvinianidze, a Georgian baritone currently based in the US, along with Georgia-based music professionals, organized a concert series titles “The Road to Carnegie Hall”. Talented Georgian youth got American media coverage and wide attention. GEORGIA TODAY sat down with Nana Doghonadze, award-winning pianist, the author of the project and its director, to discuss pursuing the American Dream and the successes of the Georgian-American project.

Tell us about ‘The Road to Carnegie Hall.’

The core of our project “The Road to Carnegie Hall” is the pure talent and professionalism of the participants – the Georgian youth. Our project enables each musically talented youngster to perform and present their unique abilities on the first stage in the world: Carnegie Hall.

The project consisted of two phases; the first was a nationwide competition. Participants from all around Georgia (the contests took place in Kutaisi, Batumi, and Tbilisi) took part in our auditions. The competitiveness was astounding and we had a hard time figuring out the winners. The three who came in first place in various genres got full scholarships from David’s Fund ‘Talents of the World.’ These winners were: Sophio Giorgadze on the violin, and Saba Mikeladze and Tamaz Mzhavanadze on the fortepiano. Anamaria Khingava on the violin, Lizi Megrelishvili on the fortepiano and Aleksandre Zazarashvili (vocal) got 50% scholarships, while those who came third in the auditions were financed for USA visas. These were: Amiran Beridze (flute), Mariam Kuchava (vocals), Nika Nikabadze (fortepiano). The orchestra maester was Nana Doghonadze.

The second phase was the culmination: days spent touring in the United States.

How did the project come about?

I always wanted to create a high-quality, ambitious project that would encourage our talented youth and promote their career growth, integrating them in international professional circles. That was the idea that united us. Our enthusiasm enabled us to create a project never before seen in Georgia. Our project was called ‘Musical Gallery – The Road to Carnegie Hall.’

Tell us how the organizing group got to Carnegie Hall.

I contacted my friend, David Gvinianidze, the founder and president of the foundation ‘Talents of the World,’ an art-director and author of concert programs, a classical singer and concert touring singer, an adjudicator for different vocal contests and festivals, a teacher and regular member at various musical TV-programs and talk-shows of Russian and American national cable television. By happy coincidence he had the same dream as me: to create this ambitious, and for Georgia unique project. Our cooperation then created an American-Georgian staff. The organizing team’s hard work enabled the project to be this successful.

David contributed to the project greatly. His altruistic nature, love and dedication to the work, his high-quality expertise and full financial support made our project successful. I can’t thank him enough for bringing this project to life. If it weren’t for David, his amazing personal and professional qualities, this massive project would probably have stayed a mere idea.

Tell us about your American tour.

The process leading up to our American tour was interesting and professionally dynamic. We had one year of rehearsals as all of us fully realized the responsibility that lay on our shoulders, the responsibility of performing on the stage of Carnegie Hall.

David put our group of young talented professionals on the big stages of the US; on the stage of his Culture Center in Philadelphia, on the stage of the Parliament Concert Hall in Boston and finally the legendary stage of Carnegie Hall in NYC.

It’s a joyous occasion when a performer stands in front of a professional audience. The most memorable of all was Boston, where Berkeley professors gave us high evaluations. We were then asked to perform on the Berkeley Conservatoire stage. Obviously, the Carnegie Hall performance will remain in our memories as the highlight of the tour.

How did the media and the public respond to your performances in the USA?

The public greeted us with full support and amazement. What more could we ask for? Our concerts had full house attendance, all on their feet applauding us. The American press and television attention and interviews before each concert was what gave our participants extra encouragement to deliver their best on the world-renowned stages.

What doors did the project open for the talented Georgian youth?

Pursuing the American Dream was something all the participants aspired for. It is a professional project like this and the right management that motivates and enables young musicians to find their place in the world’s artist society.

One of the favorites from the project was Aleksandre Zazarashvili, the winner of Ukraine Voice Kids and I would like to proudly note that it was we who first discovered Aleksandre and his unique abilities. His fantastic voice and extraordinary talent was a win-win for us as a project and for him as he is now known internationally. He was invited to one of Hollywood’s most popular and prestigious events – I can’t name the project as I am not allowed to but you will soon see Aleksandre on one of the greatest shows!

‘The Road to Carnegie Hall’ opened the doors of success for many, but we can’t discuss it quite yet. I can say this: our project rooted massive projects that we will see in the future.

What future plans can you share with us?

At the start of November, the youth will perform for a Georgian audience. We will go on tour to different cities and towns of Georgia. Our ‘Road to Carnegie Hall’ is not a one-time project; in 2020 we will organize new, now international auditions that will enable another round of talented youth to pursue their American Dream.

By Nini Dakhundaridze

17 October 2019 17:59