Karine Georgian  cellist

Dvorak Cello Concerto

Berlin Symphony (Berliner Symphoniker) conducted by Gaetano Delogu

No one has composed for the cello with more abandon than Dvorak. To play him the soloist is obliged to enter an orchestral jungle, and here there was no concealing the fact that the Armenian Karine Georgian was a student of the great Rostropovich. Georgian hurtled into attack, penetrating deep into the seething wall of sound to emerge triumphant in both style and tone. The performance was received with rapturous applause.

Die Welt, Berlin
Berlin Symphony (Berliner Symphoniker) conducted by Gaetano Delogu

Karine Georgian studied with the great Mstislav Rostropovich and his influence was clearly discernible in her performance of Dvorak’s Cello Concerto. She brought that same austere, hard-edged tone, allied with power and uninhibited expression, to the well-known piece. However, this great cellist is by no means a pale imitation of Rostropovich. She stormed through the work with a passion which stems from a wholly personal, deep-felt commitment. Although she raced through the music at breathtaking speed, she took time to dwell lovingly on the details. The Berlin Symphony Orchestra, now renamed the Berliner Symphoniker, gave the soloist vigorous support. Italian conductor Gaetano Delogu held the orchestra together and succeeded in bringing out the full flavour of the concerto’s Slavic melancholy. The performance developed into one of the high points of this season.

Berliner Morgenpost
Orchestra of RAI, Torino conducted by Yuri Temirkanov

The performance of Dvorak’s Cello Concerto, one of the most beautiful of all Romantic works, enjoyed tremendous success at the RAI Studios yesterday evening. Karine Georgian, an Armenian pupil of Rostropovich, treated the piece with beautiful delicacy. The tone of her instrument is not particularly strong, but it is particularly delightful with its delicate softness, smoothly penetrating the gently pastoral, delicate, tormented and inspired melancholy of this Concerto, blurring its contrasts, while the theme proceeds sweetly blending with subtle and sensuous links. When the first movement abandons its triumphant melody to develop into subdued and discreet harmony, almost dissolving in a cloud of nostalgia it forms a remarkable transition that the soloist exploited to perfection, supported by an exceptional conductor.

La Stampa
Orchestra of RAI, Torino conducted by Yuri Temirkanov

For her debut with the Turin orchestra Karine Georgian chose Dvorak’s Concerto. An outstanding choice, and her performance was a revelation. An exquisite performer whom we hope to be able to hear again soon, since with such lyrical sensibility and such precious and resonant transparency she will offer us classical music of rare perfection.

Hamburg Symphoniker conducted by Heribert Beissel

On her third guest appearance with the Hamburg Symphoniker in the Grosse Musikhalle the Russian cellist Karine Georgian succeeded in generating a mesmeric enthusiasm in excess even of everything to which we have become accustomed from this former Rostropovich pupil. She played Dvorak’s B minor Concerto with unparalleled and impassioned commitment, as if drunk with her own conception of the work. The result was a uniquely expressive song for the cello.

Hamburger Abendblatt
Hamburg Symphoniker conducted by Heribert Beissel

What a woman, with the power to make her cello bewitch the hearts of her audience! Karine Georgian, now celebrated as one of the leading cellists of our time, was yesterday’s soloist with the Hamburger Symphoniker in the Grosse Musikhalle.

The high point of the evening — there can be not the slightest doubt about this — was the Cello Concerto in B minor Op 104 by Antonin Dvorak with Karine Georgian as soloist. Her playing goes beyond what words can express; it begins there where speech falters or can simply no longer reach. If this sounds exaggerated, it comes direct from the heart: her music-making speaks for itself, and to it one can only listen and remain silent.

Hamburger Auszeiger und Nachrichten
London Festival Orchestra conducted by Ross Pople, Queen Elisabeth Hall

In the second movement she played eloquently and movingly; the freedom of the long, languid phrases suited her unreserved ardour. Pople conducted with sensitivity to Georgian’s complex musicality and was rewarded with some readily penetrating solos from the oboe, although the horn section occasionally gave cause for concern in sustained passages with unsure entries, breath control problems and clipped diminuendos. Despite these very minor grievances the movement finished with such sublimity that the concert hall resounded with the silence before it burst with the new glories of the third movement. This was a colourful display of well articulated chromatic passages and preserved rhythmic integrity exuding enthusiasm proportionate to the first movement. All suspicions of enacting integrity were dismissed at this point. She is an aggressive and robust performer, unhindered by any consciousness of self on stage.

The Strad
Hudson Valley Philharmonic conducted by Imre Pallo

Karine Georgian’s performance with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Friday evening in Dvorak’s Cello Concerto, extraordinary for its profundity of conception and perfection of execution, was the sleeper of the decade for this symphonic series. Her cello entrance struck like an emotional depth charge, transforming a musical scene of pretty nostalgia to an excursion in Slavic soul. It’s possible to dissect Georgian’s performance — precise intonation in the midst of dervish polyphonics with doubled and tripled lines given simultaneous and individual voicing — but extraordinary technical effects are simply not the point of her artistry. They are assimilated to necessary expression, resonant with whatever passions of sorrow, tenderness and sensuality she shares with the concerto’s composer.

Daily Freeman
Ulster Orchestra conducted by Gilbert Varga

Gilbert Varga was the conductor and without the usual curtain-raiser the concert began with Dvorak’s Cello Concerto, in the opinion of many the greatest of all cello concertos. The soloist was Karine Georgian, remembered for her performance of Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra but heard from a different seat this time. Inspired by the Irish composer Victor Herbert, Dvorak’s inspired concerto is a masterpiece, to the performance of which Ms. Georgian brought a formidable array of talent, technical security, finely shaped phrases and lustrous tone.

Belfast Telegraph
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Fyodor Glushchenko

Dvorak’s Cello Concerto in the first half was less fluid, though soloist Karine Georgian played with passion and soul

The Herald

Elgar Cello Concerto

Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Yuri Temirkanov

Between these works, Elgar’s cello concerto provided an essential point of repose, in intimacy of utterance if not in mood. Karine Georgian, the Russian soloist, possessed the same ability to dig beneath the music’s surface which the conductor had revealed in the Mussorgsky. She played it, to admiration, as if it were a short story by Chekhov.

Corad Wilson, The Scotsman
Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Yuri Temirkanov

By half time, the ecstacy of audience (and orchestra) response was more appropriate to the end of a show. But there was more. Much more. On came Karine Georgian to play the Elgar Cello Concerto. Well, she didn’t play it. She took us into its soul. Sod your English lyricism, breadth of landscape and all that tosh. The Armenian cellist — what a player — outlined a poignant, melancholic, passionate, psychological study whose restraint and intensity did momentarily suggest that the evening ought to stop right there.

Michael Tumelty, The Herald
Orquesta Nacional d’España conducted by Carlos Kalmar

Those who did not attend the concert at the Principe de Vergara Avenue Hall missed something great: the superb performance by Russian cellist Karine Georgian, now living in Germany where she is successor to the great André Navarra at the Hochschule für Musik in Detmold. Miss Georgian played in so splendidly creative a manner, with such extraordinary technical command and expressive power, blended with a quality of sound that enhanced the whole performance, that to quote the well-known Spanish saying ‘one might spend one’s time differently, but it is impossible to spend it better’.

El Pais
Colorado Music Festival Orchestra conducted by Gloria Bernstein

When you think about it, why should it be surprising for a Russian cellist to respond warmly to the nobility and nostalgia of Sir Edward Elgar’s music? That’s what Karine Georgian did last night in a deeply felt interpretation of Elgar’s songfully sad Cello Concerto of 1919 in a performance with the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra under music director Gloria Bernstein at Chautauqua Auditorium. From the dark chords of the opening, followed by the sweeping melancholia of the big E minor melody, Georgian poured burnished tone and powerful technique into one of the 20th century’s finest works. Her arpeggios, harmonics, pizzicato and gradations of tone were reminders that she once studied in Moscow with perhaps the finest cellist of the age, Mstislav Rostropovich.

Denver Post
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Libor Pesek

From the opening solo bars of Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E minor this concert was always going to be a Festival highlight. After the cellist’s emphatic opening phrase there followed a seamless start to the first full orchestral statement and it was obvious that Karine Georgian was, in her playing, to add an Eastern passion and intensity to the work’s essential Englishness. She made emotion hang in the air, leaving resolutions to the last possible moment and one did not dare turn an eye or ear for fear of missing the slightest nuance. A real candidate for another of my ‘greatest ever’ concert review lists.

Eastern Daily Press

Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations

BBC Proms

Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Neeme Jårvi The real news was Karine Georgian’s performance. It seemed to contain both more notes and more beauty than the piece commonly yields.

Hilary Finch, The Times
St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Yuri Temirkanov

Cellist Karine Georgian was soloist in Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme and her formidable technique and the singing quality of her playing meant that she was always a commanding performer. Conductor Yuri Temirkanov ensured a good balance between orchestra and soloist and brought a tight performance all round.

Belfast Telegraph
Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Yuri Simonov

The centrepiece, Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations for Cello and Orchestra, was performed by the phenomenal cellist Karine Georgian. Her rendition showed consummate control of a complex and intricate work which overwhelmed the audience. Swinging from fervourous passion to balletic grace, the seven variations echoed Tchaikovsky’s fever and zeal with every note. The cellist built up a stirring crescendo which gained rapturous applause and gave the audience an opportunity to exhale after the spellbinding performance.

Yorkshire Evening Post
Orchestra of RAI, Milano conducted by Vladimir Delman

The cellist Karine Georgian had a great success with her virtuoso performance of Variations on a Rococo Theme. A complete triumph.

Corriere della Sera
Spokane Symphony conducted by Vakhtang Jordania

Karine Georgian is a brilliant Russian cellist, a winner of the Tchaikovsky Competition, whose work is too little known in this country. There need to be more artists like this performing Tchaikovsky. Georgian made Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme appear to be something that it is not, namely eloquent. It is a conventional display piece, alternating spectacular virtuosity. It practically invites overstatement. Georgian, like a brilliant, refined actress playing a highly romantic role, never emoted. Her technique allowed her to be playful in places such as the skittering duet with flute, then oboe, in the fourth variation. And her elegant, refined tone made the songful parts sing without sobbing. Jordania and the orchestra responded flexibly to Georgian’s playing.

Spokane Spokesman-Review

Haydn Cello Concerto in C

Hamburg Symphoniker conducted by Horia Andreescu

Joy unconfined over Karine Georgian in the Musikhalle: such was the excitement of the audience and so all-embracing and sustained was the applause for the master-cellist at the conclusion of Haydn’s C major Concerto that nobody even thought of letting the interval begin. Everyone was on fire for her, and — a very rare event at an orchestral concert — the Hamburg Symphoniker and its guest conductor responded to the sensational success of the soloist by encoring the Finale of the Concerto.

It was performed by Karine Georgian in a dream of precision with the fleetest of bow-strokes. This was an Allegro molto in which the ‘molto’ was underlined. It has been twelve years since the celebrated Rostropovich pupil was last heard here, and last night the Hamburg public fêted her as a revelation, succumbing totally to the enchantment of her cantilena. The virtuoso, who hails from Russia but is now domiciled in the West with a professorship at the Detmold Musikhocschule, is one of the greatest of her breed. She should certainly not allow such a long interval to elapse before she visits us again.

Die Welt
Hamburg Symphoniker conducted by Horia Andreescu

The outstanding event in the fourth of the Hamburg Symphoniker Subscription Concerts was the performance by the soloist Karine Georgian of Haydn’s C major Cello Concerto. Twelve years ago the former master-student of Rostropovich, now herself Professor in Detmold, played the Prokofiev Symphony-Concerto with the same orchestra, and again she displayed her mastery with a sensitive and poetic account, replete with inner freedom, of the solo part. Her heavenly tone raised the level of the whole work far above that of a mere virtuoso vehicle, especially in the insanely mercurial, buzzing Finale which, in acknowledgement of the applause in the Grosse Musikhalle, had to be repeated.

Hamburger Abendblatt
Lausanne Chamber Orchestra conducted by Jesus Lopez Cobos

In Haydn’s C major Concerto the crisp, tautly-sprung vigour of the orchestral accompaniment was a match for that of the soloist, Karine Georgian. This former Rostropovich pupil from Moscow has clearly forgotten nothing of her teacher’s inspiration: a sound at once velvety and ample, ideally balanced throughout all registers, a filigree, airy virtuosity at the service of a musicality that gave life to the moderato and the adagio movements that throbbed with the tenderness flowing from her exceptionally supple and expressive bow. The quivering intensity of the Finale conveyed a wonderfully youthful and joyous brio. A superb performance.

Gazette de Lausanne
Lausanne Chamber Orchestra conducted by Jesus Lopez Cobos

What, in addition to a never-failing musicality even in the most virtuosic passages, is so striking about Karine Georgian, soloist in Haydn’s C major Cello Concerto, is the evenness of her sound, warm and full even in the most exposed high registers. The energy of her bowing is not achieved at the expense of grace and dexterity; velocity is never indulged in for show. Karine Georgian maintained complete control of tempo, articulation and phrasing even in the most dangerous twists and turns of the Finale.

24 Heures Lausanne

Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jerzy Maksymiuk

Constant Lambert once remarked that English critics appeared to abide by the motto: ‘bove all no enthusiasm’. Anyone so minded would have had a hard time at the Sheldonian last Friday when the superlative playing of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra was outshone only by the cello soloist, Armenian-born Karine Georgian. Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto allowed for ample demonstration of Miss Georgian’s virtuosity, especially in the extraordinary cadenza movement. In spite of Oxford’s wealth of musical talent, there will be few better evenings for concert-goers this autumn.

Oxford Times
Scottish Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Peter Cyfryn, Oran Mor, Glasgow

Some players seem to embrace their instrument rather than merely hold it. Karine Georgian became indivisible from her cello during a performance of the First Concerto of Dmitry Shostakovich that produced an atmosphere unlike any other at these early evening concerts. While the standard of performance has — like the audience — been building over the season, this closing event was of a different order altogether: a performance of the music that was right out of the top drawer.

Georgian’s playing had attack in spades from the first bars and then lovely liquid phrasing in the second movement, but nothing prepared the audience for the mesmerising quality of her solo cadenza later. She produced moments of aching stillness which were quite new at Oran Mor.

The Herald
New Mexico Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andrew Parrott

From the start the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra was a unified ensemble under the guidance of Andrew Parrott. Cellist Karine Georgian was mesmerizing in her performance of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Concerto No. 1 in E major Op 107. She brought a broad range of expression that matched that of this terrifying work. Her concentration throughout was remarkable. So intent was she that the cello as her medium virtually disappeared, leaving her in direct communication with her audience. Listeners appeared to be held in rapt attention. The NMSO offered an empathetic accompaniment that enhanced the impact of the work. It was a gripping performance.

Albuquerque Journal
San Jose Symphony conducted by Leonid Grin

The New Year’s emotional high point is immutably embedded in the fiery Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1 which the San Jose Symphony is currently performing at the Center for the Performing Arts. Russian soloist Karine Georgian and Music Director Leonid Grin combined on an electric journey through the high drama of this large-scale work that provided the keystone of the year’s opening concert Friday night. The émigré Russian cellist transported her listeners to a distant world constantly teetering on the brink of rage and despair. Intensity was certainly there, but unlike her famed mentor Mstislav Rostropovich, Georgian did not play the music like a musician possessed. Her slow movement evoked a tender rapture with her breathtakingly beautiful, mellow tone. And her long cadenza conjured up provocative questions of the soul and mind. The profoundly moving half-hour performance demonstrated that there is more than one way to interpret a work rich with ideas and feelings.

San Jose Mercury News

Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 2

Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Yuri Temirkanov

The centerpiece of the program should have been the local premiere of Alfred Schnittke’s Cello Concerto. But a strange thing happened. Although Temirkanov had at least a year to prepare for the modernist challenge, he eventually turned his back on his countryman, pleading ‘inadequate time to live with this music’. Enter Shostakovich’s Second Cello Concerto.

One must regret the cancellation of any work by Schnittke. Even Temirkanov labels this much troubled composer, much celebrated composer ‘a genius’. At the same time, one must always be grateful for an opportunity to hear a stylish performance of the dark, sparse and forbidding Shostakovich showpiece. Karine Georgian, making her Philharmonic debut, conveyed its piquant lyricism, its grotesquerie and melodic violence with virtuosic aplomb. Unlike some colleagues — including her mentor, Mstislav Rostropovich — she did not rip into the piece with fierce theatricality. She concentrated on muted passions, yet sacrificed no expressive intensity in the process.

Martin Bernheimer, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Yuri Temirkanov

Karine Georgian, 1966 Gold Medalist in Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Competition, was the splendid soloist in the Second Cello Concerto of Shostakovich: glistening, sinister music wondrously played. Perhaps the First Concerto has more emotional depth, but this work is, in all ways, a startling sound exercise. Most interesting of all is the strange clickety-clack for percussion right at the end, a curious anticipation of the Fifteenth Symphony. Its quiet, inward, solo writing has few rewards for a mere virtuoso. Georgian, who has given much of her time to the new music of her Soviet countrymen, brought to the work the intelligence and imagination it requires. She is clearly a major artist, here for the first time.

Alan Rich, Daily News

Gubaidulina Seven Words

London Sinfonietta, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

Sofia Gubaidulina’s Seven Words (1982) has had several performances in this country, but none surely better balanced than here by the conductor Markus Stenz. The religious theme, originally disguised, is typical of the composer’s Soviet period, but still the work is not at all retrospective. It takes the form of a seven-movement chamber concert for cello, accordion and string orchestra. Karine Georgian’s big, majestic cello tone and the powerful stabbing chords and flashes of silvery brilliance from James Crabb’s accordion sustained interest where motifs are used a little repetitively.

John Allison, The Times
London Sinfonietta, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

Seven Words is a chamber concerto for cello, bayan (free-bass accordion) and strings, in seven movements played without a break. The work is steeped in musical symbolism: the cello not only signifies the soul of Christ but as each string is ‘crossed’ a crucifixion is suffered to the point where after ‘I thirst’ the bow transcends the bridge to play ‘on the other side’. The bayan representing the body of Christ initially works with the cello as a concertino. Gudabidulina introduces almost human qualities to the sounds of the bayan — horrifying inhalations and screams as the crucifixion is carried out. The extraordinary soloists were Karine Georgian (cello) and James Crabb (bayan).

Annette Morreau, The Independent

Khachaturian Cello Rhapsody

Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Aram Khachaturian

She takes total control the minute the music begins, plunging directly in with the command and technical assurance of a master.

Chicago Tribune

Schnittke Cello Concerto No. 1

American Composers’ Orchestra conducted by Paul Dunkel, Carnegie Hall (US premiere)

The biggest work was the Cello Concerto by the Soviet avant-gardist Alfred Schnittke, which received its U. S. premiere. It’s a companion piece to Schnittke’s Viola Concerto — both run a bit over 40 minutes and were written in 1985. This is music of intense conflict, Brucknerian majesty, and death-haunted tragedy (as accented by tolling bells at many crucial points). Yet the concerto’s message concludes in a mood of eloquent, exalted consolation; Schnittke’s concerto is by far the most religious-sounding work to have come out of the Soviet Union in perhaps decades. The performance, with Armenian cellist Karine Georgian, was magnificent.

Bill Zakariasen, Daily News
Niederrheinischer Sinfoniker conducted by Yakov Kreizberg

Despite the great differences separating them, both works [Schnittke’s Cello Concerto No. 1 and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6] share a similar basis in the pain experienced by the individual conflicting with and confronting the world in which he finds himself. The Schnittke brought a renewed acquaintance with the cellist Karine Georgian. So profound and personal was the intensity with which this great and unassuming artist played the work that one became prey to a feeling that Schnittke might even have had in mind a hint of a feminine sensibility when writing it.

Karine Georgian’s wonderful instrumental voice, her clarity and strength in tone and phrasing, is put at the service of a presence that is as powerful when set confrontationally against the orchestra as it is in monologues expressive of the loneliness of the individual, and also in unity and dialogue with the surrounding world, as in this work the condition of our times is so sublimely presented.

Karine Georgian lends to this frequently quiet, gentle voice a quite special quality of passionate intensity. With astonishing power throughout a work whose roots lie as much in the traditions of European culture as in the original character of our own times, she never allows the tension demanded of her as exponent of the artistic material to flag. The subsequent applause for, and universally favourable reaction to, this modernist composition speaks for itself.

Westdeutsche Zeitung
Niederrheinischer Sinfoniker conducted by Yakov Kreizberg

A severe test for the Armenian cellist Karine Georgian, who made her debut here two years ago in Penderecki’s Second Cello Concerto. With great devotion the virtuoso player plunged deep into the powerful but never violent sound world of her part.

Rheinische Post
Niederrheinischer Sinfoniker conducted by Yakov Kreizberg

Alfred Schnittke’s Cello Concert imposed on the soloist Karine Georgian not only the most formidable imaginable technical demands, but even more so musical ones. She showed that not only had she fully grown into her part, but had the freedom to shape it with great persuasiveness. Well-versed in contemporary music, she held the audience in the palm of her hand, just as she ‘played’ with the orchestra. For the public too this concerto is a tough nut: its extreme length and idiosyncratic sound world make plenty of demands on them, but the sustained applause was evidence that they had enjoyed this music.

Westdeutsche Zeitung

Penderecki Cello Concerto No. 2

BBC Philharmonic conducted by Krsysztof Penderecki

Karine Georgian countered that problem [criticism of Penderecki’s Christmas Symphony, also in the programme] in her playing of his Second Cello Concerto of 1982. The sheer energy she displayed, in a work that certainly does not play itself, generated a degree of ebb and flow to which the orchestra responded magnificently.

David Fallows, The Times
Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Yakov Kreizberg

It must be said that Karine Georgian applied herself with heartwarming virtuosity to the task of injecting life into the concerto. Far from incidental, in its slow passages, was her splendid singing tone.

Het Parool
Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Yakov Kreizberg

None of the foregoing [critical comments on the merits of the Concerto] can be applied to the Armenian soloist Karine Georgian: her musicianly virtuosity was full of insights, seldom becoming aggressive but with a true Slav singing tone, radiant with royally blazing majesty.

NRC Handelsblad

Britten Cello Symphony (Australian premiere)

Sydney Symphony Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Verbitsky

Lyrical passages, lying high and with a long line are what the cello usually demands in a concerto. Denying his soloist that territory, Britten explores a tonality, in fact a whole dimension of cello playing that is densely modernistic. The result is a work worthy of our intense concentration when played with the commitment that Verbitsky and his soloist, Karine Georgian, brought to it. Georgian does not have the biggest sound among cellists, but she digs her bow deep into the strings to achieve the muscularity that Britten mostly demands. When, later in the work, some singing is permitted to the cello, Georgian sounds positively liberated.


Lalo Cello Concerto in D minor

National Opera Orchestra of Belgium, conducted by Sylvain Cambreling

The cello-phenomenon Karine Georgian made a thoroughly convincing case for the melodic power of Edouard Lalo’s Concerto in D minor for cello and orchestra.

Frankfurter Rundschau

Tigran Mansurian Cello Concerto No. 2 (US premiere)

SinfoNovo Boston conducted by Aram Gharabekian

Mansurian’s concerto is an intense and tragic work composed in 1978 for the cellist Karine Georgian; now living in England she was the soloist again Saturday night, an occasion of moving reunion with the composer, who was able to come from Armenia for the performance. Music is an international language, but it is a national one too — this music comes from the heritage of Armenian folk song and dance and, in the most interesting section, the second movement, from the patterns and inflections of Armenian speech. The music expresses not only tragedy but resilience and defiance; Georgian’s performance was of great instrumental mastery and unfettered emotion. It was deeply moving to share the experience of community expressed in the music and felt by an audience across the world. All those legislators who dismiss the arts as ‘entertainment’ and ‘frills’ should have been there.

Richard Dyer, Boston Globe

Prokofiev Symphony-Concerto

BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Edward Downes, Royal Festival Hall

I heard the last two concerts of the series [all the symphonies of Prokofiev] comprising the fifth, sixth and seventh symphonies, along with the beautiful Sinfonia Concertante Op 125 (a recasting of the 1938 cello concerto) performed with supreme eloquence by soloist Karine Georgian.

Paul Driver, Sunday Times

Tippett Triple Concerto

London Sinfonietta conducted by David Atherton, Queen Elizabeth Hall

A wonderfully poetic account of the Triple Concerto at a Royal Festival Hall concert to mark Sir Michael Tippett’s 80th birthday.

Andrew Clements, Guardian
London Sinfonietta conducted by David Atherton, Queen Elizabeth Hall

One of the pleasures of the BBC Radio Classics series is re-encountering concerts remembered from the original broadcast. In this case the experience is even more uncanny: I was at this 80th birthday tribute to Sir Michael Tippett and remember his praise for the performers in a brief speech afterwards. Re-acquaintance confirms that this was the best performance of the Triple Concerto I had heard; 11 years on it remains so. Incisive, cogent, supremely articulate and full of momentum, it gathers the music’s threads more securely than, say, the composer’s own accounts, yet there is no lack of warmth and tenderness. The slow movement strikes a perfect balance between the soloists’ [Ernst Kovavic, violin; Rivka Golani, viola; Karine Georgian, cello] English lyricism and the exotic, nocturnal chimes of the orchestra, with climaxes more menacing than usual.

Brian Hunt, Daily Telegraph

Recitals and Chamber Music

Herkulessaal, Munich (with Ralf Gothoni)

From the very first bars of Beethoven’s Magic Flute Variations it was clear that the cellist Karine Georgian and her pianist Ralf Gothoni were going to give audience in the Herkulessaal a great evening. Karine Georgian, born in Moscow and a student of, among others, Rostropovich, winner of the First Prize in the Tchaikovsky Competition, is a fabulous cellist who reminds us once again how many great interpreters, not merely pianists, come from the Soviet Union. She unites all the virtues of a musician: temperament and freshness, musicality and intelligence, taste and elegance, spot-on intonation and convincing phrasing. This compendium of talents finds its counterpart in her playing: the freshness not slapdash, the temperament never excessive. She takes risks, too, but always has them under control.

We had no brooding melancholy in this evening, no morose longueurs. All of it was exciting music-making, entertaining in the best sense of the word. In Bartok’s Romanian Dances Karine Georgian crossed rhythms with magnificent aplomb, just as she savoured with evident enjoyment the blue notes as jazz musicians call them, not precisely a major or a minor third, but a slight bending between the two. All these technical devices, realised with the utmost technical and musical mastery, belonged perfectly to the programme, something that one can all too rarely say.

Süddeutsche Zeitung
Queen Elizabeth Hall, London (with Pavel Gililov)

On Sunday afternoon another effortlessly musical artist played to an Elizabeth Hall audience. The Armenian cellist Karine Georgian brought a programme in which only one work, Debussy’s Sonata, was out of the instrument’s mainstream repertory; even the Brahms Sonata in D proved to be an arrangement by the composer of the Violin Sonata in G Op 78, appropriately transposed. Everything Georgian plays is presented with the most succulent glowing tone, the phrasing boundlessly ample. That can be too much of a good thing — in the Debussy, the first movement was just a little over-emphatic, but the exuberant transition from slow movement to finale was quite irresistible. With her fine partner Pavel Gililov and some generously measured tempi she turned the Brahms sonata into a big, rangey work and then turned her attention to two small solo pieces — Dutilleux’s ruminative Trois strophes sur le nom de Sacher, and the first performance here of a Capriccio by her fellow countryman Tigran Mansurian, which in its folk-tinged nostalgia seemed perfectly judged for its dedicatee’s sustained eloquence.

Andrew Clements, Financial Times
Lobanov, Mansurian Almeida Festival, London

The two most substantial figures figures presented seem to have been Vasily Lobanov and Tigran Mansurian; both had written new pieces inspired by the Armenian earthquake. Lobanov’s Second Sonata, learnt at very short notice by Karine Georgian and beautifully played, concentrated its laments into constricted themes reminiscent of Debussy’s Footprints in the Snow. Mansurian’s Tombeau, also played with emotion by Georgian, movingly included echoes of the playing of a 12-year old violinist, in whose memory the piece was written.

Nicholas Kenyon, The Observer
Almeida Festival, London

There were two impressive Soviet pianists (Alexei Lyubimov and the composer Vasily Lobanov) and three wonderful cellists, Natalia Gutman, Ivan Monighetti and Karine Georgian, the last-named of whom gave the world premiere of Lobanov’s moving Second Cello Sonata, an Almeida commission in memory of the Armenian earthquake.

Music and Musicians
Town Hall, New York

It was Rostropovich’s best playing of intricate 20th century music that came to mind as Miss Georgian sailed through the treacherous, encyclopaedic solo sonata of Kodály — the work of a musician who has absorbed the material and identified with it fully.

Will Crutchley, New York Times
Jordan Hall, Boston

[Kodály Sonata for solo cello] Rarely do forces of music, energy and idea find themselves so powerfully in alliance within a single individual. The most arresting feature of Karine Georgian’s playing is the strength and fluidity of her bow arm — a consummately controlled channel for the outpouring of a musical mind that is passionate, inventive, spontaneous, yet carefully reasoned and serenely assured.

Boston Globe
International Leonard Rose Competition and Festival, Washington DC

Another virtuoso showpiece, Zoltan Kodály#146;s Sonata Op 8 for unaccompanied cello, was handled with reverence and conviction by Karine Georgian. Among the first contributions to a significant body of 20th century solo cello music, the sonata makes use of every sound effect in the book and then some. All were rendered with tremendous expressivity.

Washington Post
Holywell Music Room, Oxford (with Stephen Gutman)

When a musician is so clearly in love with her voice — whether projected by an instrument or the vocal chords — and when that voice is a repository of infinite variety of colour and emotional expression, how can an audience not follow wherever she chooses to go? There was scarcely a moment when one was aware of the two factors, Karine Georgian and Karine Georgian’s cello, that were creating the glorious sounds in the Holywell Music Room, so completely at one were they.

Oxford Times
Gililov-Tretyakov-Georgian Trio

Three internationally renowned musicians, Pavel Gililov (piano), Viktor Tretyakov (violin) and Karine Georgian (cello) inspired and electrified the enthusiastic audience with their performances of Beethoven’s ‘Ghost’, Dvorak’s ‘Dumky’ and Shostakovich’s Second Trios.

Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger
King’s Lynn Festival

Over three evenings the Russian cellist Karine Georgian performed all six suites for solo cello by Bach — a Herculean task. Hers was a reading which swept away all stylistic superfluities and penetrated to the heart of the music. A radiant sound and for the most part a choice of deliberate tempi enhanced the stature of these works. Moments such as the approach to the final cadence in both parts of the Sarabande of the Second Suite had a grandeur one seldom hears these days. A richly rewarding experience.

Eastern Daily Press
Norwich Festival

Rich and strong, with a dash of something a little sharper for the Minuets, Bach’s Second Cello Suite made a most civilised start to a solo recital by Karine Georgian. A pupil of Rostropovich, she showed his influence not only in manner and choice of repertoire, but also in formidable technique and utter commitment. She continued with Penderecki’s 1986 tribute to the great Russian cellist, exploring all the psychological depths of Per Slava as it rose from the quietly hesitant questioning in its opening to an alarming peak of turbulence before finding a more harmonious conclusion. Next came Howard Skempton’s Arioso. This was a new work specially composed to dovetail into this particular programme, after the emotionality of what had gone before and the rich complexities of Britten’s technically demanding Cello Suite No. 3 that very satisfyingly followed. A miniature no more than three minutes long, Arioso was pensive rather than rhetorical in nature, presenting one attractive melodic figure that held the attention. Karine Georgian interpreted it in a light, clear tone with the apparent ease of high artistry.

Norwich Evening News
Chamber Music at Tübinger Festsaal (with Pavel Gililov and Viktor Tretyakov)

In Karine Georgian the audience at the Festsaal encountered a fascinating personality. This former student of Rostropovich, who now teaches at the Hochschule in Detmold, proved to be the most refined imaginable interpreter of the Sonata in G major Op 58 of Mendelssohn, of which it is difficult to conceive a more perfect performance being heard. It would not be quite right to say that in their sonata performances the artists occasionally overstepped the limits of chamber music, but it was nevertheless apparent how very much the orchestral style of Brahms’ Trio in B Op 8 became them. To this piece they brought the ultimate in refined articulation and phrasing, and over and above these qualities a scarcely containable joy in music-making; they drew on seemingly limitless resources without ever losing control of their ‘excesses’. Thunderous applause was followed by an encore: a calming slow piece also, naturally, by Brahms.

Südwest-Presse Schwäbischer Tagblatt
New York, with Sahan Arzruni

The latest installment in the Town Hall series of “Russian Nights” was an estimable and sometimes exciting recital by the cellist Karine Georgian. “Russian Nights” is a misnomer, though doubtless more salable than “Soviet Nights” would be, since both Miss Georgian and her accompanist, Sahan Arzruni, are Armenian. One cannot thank the cellist’s heritage alone for her avoidance of the hyper-muscular, sometimes harsh style of string playing associated with Russian players in recent decades, for one of her teachers was Mstislav Rostropovich, Russian to the core, who transcends any such limitations himself. And it was Mr. Rostropovich’s best playing of intricate 20th-century music that came to mind as Miss Georgian sailed through the treacherous, encyclopedic solo sonata of Zoltan Kodaly Friday evening.

This is a piece that demands not only the most sophisticated command of technical special effects, but also something like a conductor’s concentrated control of a long musical span, since shape and motion must be generated without the assistance of accompaniment or the anchoring inevitability of Bach’s contrapuntal essays. Miss Georgian has the work securely in hand, and has a showpiece in it. Her pointing of the dialogues between the upper and lower strings; her questioning, exploratory sounding of the plaintive passages, and her relish for the virtuoso finale were all the work of a musician who has absorbed the material and identified with it fully.

Much was also impressive in her traversal of Beethoven’s G-minor sonata (pensive and carefully judged, just occasionally lapsing into harshness at fortissimo) and Schumann’s Fantasy Pieces, Op. 73 (begun with lovely songful freshness). Mr. Azruni was a good partner in many ways, but his tone was too reticent and at times in the Beethoven his passagework hovered between fairylike fleetness and throwaway. Also on the program was a sonata by Tigran Mansurian. On first encounter its virtues seemed steeply outweighed by a lack of convincing motive power: it alternated between rather dreary recitative-like exchanges and a movement spun out in regular, singsong rhythms.

Will Crutchfield, New York Times 18 January 18, 1988