Karine Georgian  cellist


Long and short biographical notes for concert programmes are on the promoters page
In Chicago with Aram Khachaturian

Giving a masterclass, July 2010

With Rostropovich in Kronberg


Born into a family of prominent Moscow musicians, the daughter of the Armenian cellist Armen Georgian and the Russian soprano Galina Sakharova, Karine Georgian began studying the cello at the age of five with her father and in due course joined his class at the Gnessin School. Later she went on to spend seven years in Rostropovich’s legendary class at the Moscow Conservatoire. After taking the First Prize and Gold Medal at the Third Tchaikovsky International Competition, her international career spanned all the countries of the former Soviet Union, Eastern and Western Europe, the Far East and the United States, debuting in Carnegie Hall under the baton of her compatriot Aram Khachaturian in his Cello Concerto, and giving the US premiere of the same composer’s Cello Rhapsody with the Chicago Symphony, also conducted by the composer.

The International Artist

Karine Georgian’s repertoire encompasses more than forty concertos and a huge range of instrumental and chamber music. In addition to the core repertoire of Russian and European Romantic masterworks, her sympathies extend from the eighteenth century to the present day. More than thirty years after she first began serious study of Bach’s solo cello suites she committed them to CD (Somm Recordings, 2010), while throughout her performing career she has been associated with leading composers of our day, several of whom wrote works for her. They include Alfred Schnittke (Hymn No. 4), Tigran Mansurian (Cello Concerto No. 2, Capriccio for cello solo), Alexander Goehr (Sonata for cello and piano, op 45), Sofia Gubaidulina, Krzysztof Penderecki, 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 Cello Concerto No. 1 in Carnegie Hall with the American Symphony Orchestra, and in 1994 the Australian premiere of Britten’s Cello Symphony in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

The Teacher

Karine Georgian left the Soviet Union in 1980 to settle in London, combining an active worldwide performing schedule with the Cello Professorship of the Musikhochschule in Detmold, Germany, where she succeeded Andr? Navarra in the post. After holding the position for twenty years she took up an appointment at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Honoured with an Honorary Fellowship in 2014, she has now retired from full-time teaching but continues to be in demand for coaching and masterclasses. Annually for two decades between 1989 and 2011 she taught and performed at the Dartington Summer School of Music. A frequent member of international competition juries, she returns to the country of her birth in June 2019 to serve on the jury for the XVIth Tchaikovsky Competition, more than fifty years after her own Gold Medal victory.


Details of Karine Georgian’s recordings on the Chandos, Hyperion, Somm Recordings, Naxos and Alto labels can be found on the discography page.


Karine Georgian lives in London, but whenever time permits retreats with her husband to a cottage in the Scottish Highlands, 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.

For biographical notes to use in concert programmes and high-resolution images, see the Press and promoters page.