Karine Georgian cellist

Information for promoters

In this section there are short (230 words) and longer (630 words) biographical notes suitable for use in concert programmes. For high-resolution photographs, please see the press photos section.

Karine Georgian, short biog (230 words)

Born into a family of musicians in Moscow, Karine Georgian is today one of the outstanding exponents of the golden generation of Russian string playing. Studying initially with her father and later with Rostropovich, she won First Prize and Gold Medal at the Third Tchaikovsky International Competition, and launched immediately on a career debuting with the Chicago Symphony in the American première of Khachaturian’s Cello Rhapsody conducted by the composer. In 1994 her first visit to Australia included the Australian première of Britten’s Cello Symphony. Her repertoire encompasses over forty concertos and a huge range of instrumental and chamber music, while her interest in and special gift for contemporary music have associated her with many composers of our day, including Alfred Schnittke (US premiere of First Cello Concerto 1991 in Carnegie Hall, Sofia Gubaidulina, Alexander Goehr, Tigran Mansurian, Howard Skempton, Elena Firsova and Dmitri Smirnov.

In 1980 Karine Georgian settled in London. Having succeeded André Navarra as Professor of Cello at the Hochschule in Detmold, Germany, she now teaches at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and gives masterclasses worldwide. Recent CD releases of Britten and Shostakovich, the solo cello suites and gamba sonatas of J S Bach (the latter partnered by Gary Cooper), and the complete cello and piano works of Martinu, have been critically acclaimed. In March 2011 Naxos issued a Schumann recital.

Karine Georgian, long biog (630 words)

Born into a family of musicians in Moscow, Karine Georgian is today one of the outstanding exponents of the golden generation of Russian string playing. She began her cello studies at the age of five under her father Armen Georgian, a renowned Armenian cellist whose own teacher had been Anatoly Brandukov. As well as pursuing a career in chamber music with his own Trio and regularly broadcasting, Armen Georgian taught for over fifty years at Moscow’s Gnessin Institute, where Rostropovich came one day to listen to his young daughter, already making a name herself, performing in a school concert. The result was an invitation to join Rostropovich’s celebrated Class 19 in the Moscow Conservatoire, where Karine Georgian remained for the next seven years. After taking the First Prize and Gold Medal at the Third Tchaikovsky International Competition, she launched an international career that has since spanned all the countries of the former Soviet Union, Eastern and Western Europe, the Far East and the United States, debuting in Carnegie Hall with her compatriot Aram Khachaturian conducting his Cello Concerto, and the US premiere with the Chicago Symphony of the same composer’s Cello Rhapsody, also under the composer’s baton — their subsequent recording back in the Soviet Union with the USSR State Symphony Orchestra is no longer in the catalogue but can be heard on Youtube (there are three files).

Today Karine Georgian continues to bring her wealth of experience performing around the world to the concert platform, having appeared with many of the leading orchestras and conductors of our time. Her repertoire encompasses more than forty concertos and a huge range of instrumental and chamber music. As well as bringing unique insights into the core repertoire of Russian and European Romantic masterworks, the range of her intuitive and interpretative sympathies extends from the eighteenth century to the present day. In 2010, more than forty years after she first began serious study of Bach’s suites for solo cello, she committed them to CD, while throughout her performing career she has been associated with leading composers of our day, several of whom have written works for her. They include Alfred Schnittke (Hymn No. 4), Tigran Mansurian (Cello Concerto No. 2), Alexander Goehr (Sonata for cello and piano, op 45), Dmitri Smirnov (Cello Concerto, premiered with the BBC Philharmonic in 1996), Howard Skempton, and Elena Firsova (Chamber Concerto No. 5). Karine Georgian gave the US premiere (1989) of Schnittke’s First Cello Concerto in Carnegie Hall with the American Symphony Orchestra, and the Australian premiere (1994) of Britten’s Cello Symphony with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

In 1980 Karine Georgian left the USSR to settle in London. Two years later she succeeded André Navarra as Professor of Cello at the Musikhochschule in Detmold in Germany, a position she held for twenty years. Currently she teaches at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. She gives masterclasses in England, Italy, Germany, Japan, Switzerland and Austria, and has been one of the longest-serving performers and teachers at the Dartington International Summer School of Music, having appeared there every year between 1989 and 2010.

Although normally based in London, when not travelling for concerts, recordings or teaching, Karine Georgian likes nothing better than to retreat to her cottage in the Highlands of Scotland, where she can walk in the hills and by the lochs, think, read, and work on new repertoire away from the pressures of the city.

Karine Georgian has a critically acclaimed discography on the Chandos, Hyperion, Biddulph, Somm Recordings and Alto labels. In March 2011 Naxos released a new Schumann recital with the Dutch pianist Jan Willem Nelleke of transcriptions for cello by Robert and Clara Schumann