Night Serenades and Liana Isakadze’s 70th Anniversary

Night Serenades, an international music festival founded back in 1982, was once held in the most beautiful region of Georgia – Abkhazia. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, it was cancelled. But after 18 years, in 2009, was it restored and brought back to the Black Sea coast, this time in Batumi. Its founder and artistic director is Liana Isakadze, a renowned violinist who this year celebrates her 70th anniversary together with the 35th jubilee of the festival itself.

Night Serenades kicked off on August 27 in Batumi and will close in Tbilisi on September 4 with a gala concert.

Over the years, increasing interest towards the festival has led to a broadening of its geography beyond the coast, since 2014 also being held in Tbilisi, and a change of name- since 2015 known as the Batumi-Tbilisi International Music Festival.

This year, Anaklia, a seaside village in Zugdidi (north-west Georgia), was added as a venue, which the organizers believe is symbolic as it is located close to the border with Abkhazia, the initial site of the festival. “Our aim is to continue holding the festival in Batumi until the day we can return to Bichvinta, Abkhazia,” Lasha Jhvania, Head of the Festival, told GEORGIA TODAY.

On August 27, the World Chamber Ensemble ‘Virtuosi,’ formed by Liana Isakadze, opened the grandiose musical event. The soloist was Isakadze on violin, playing together with prima female violinist from Kazakhstan, Aiman Musakhajayeva, and Alexei Ludevig, a viola player from Russia who played Vivaldi’s ‘Concerto for Two Violins and Orchestra,’ Mozart’s ‘Sinfonia Concertante’ and Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons.’ The concert was conducted by Isakadze, using another of her divine gifts, and Cesar Alvarez from Spain. The next day saw Isakadze playing with Elizabeth Wilson, a celloist from England/Italy, and Victor Tretiakov (Russia) on violin. The soiree was conducted once more by Alvarez.

On August 30, the festival travelled to Anaklia, where again Mozart and Vivaldi were performed.

To celebrate Isakadze’s 70th anniversary, the gala at the Opera House on September 4 will bear a particularly festive mood and offer a number of surprises. “It is a great honor to be received with such love. I thank all those parties who were involved in organizing the gala concert for me. I left Georgia in the 1990s and therefore I’m extremely happy that among Georgians, there is still so much affection and respect for me,” she told GEORGIA TODAY.

When asked what she thinks about modern Georgian musicians, she answered: “The level of Georgian musicians has improved drastically in all directions. I’m particularly delighted by violinists and pianists. I like the new generation very much, they are very talented.”

Virtuosi, which has already acquired world fame, has been the base orchestra for Isakadze since 2011. In 2014, they had a significant concert in London, and in 2015 held a charity concert in New York. It is staffed with musicians from Georgia and various other countries of the world (USA, France, Italy, Spain, England and Russia).

On September 2, our readers will have a chance to attend the first concert within the festival in Tbilisi, at the recently opened Hotel Biltmore, on Rustaveli Avenue, where Virtuosi, headed by Liana Isakadze and accompanied by Alexei Ludevig (viola, Russia), will present Mozart’s ‘Sinfonia Concertante’ and Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons.’

On September 3, in the Small Hall of Rustaveli Theater, will be the presentation of the five part music documentary TV film ‘Meditations,’ directed by Sandro Vakhtangov (a production of the Georgian Public Broadcaster). Isakadze and Virtuosi will also present Brahms’s ‘Concerto for Violin and Orchestra,’ conducted by Gintaras Rinkevicious from Lithuania.

September 4, the finale, is a gala concert of Night Serenades, dedicated to the 70th Anniversary of Liana Isakadze. Together with Virtuosi and Isakadze, Georgian pianist Tamar Licheli, pianist Sergei Babayan (USA), violinists Victor Tretiakov (Russia), Natalia Likhopoi (Russia), and Aiman Musakhajayeva (Kazakhstan), and drummer Vladimir Tarasov (Lithuania) will perform Rachmaninov, Bach, Tchaikovsky-Tsintsadze, Shostakovich, Piazzolla, Youmans, Gershwin and more.

All the concerts in Tbilisi start at 20:00.

Maka Lomadze

01 September 2016 18:52