Batiashvili on the political responsibilities of an artist

Posted on: February 3, 2015

In Sunday’s (2/1) New York Times, Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim writes, “Lisa Batiashvili, the 35-year-old Georgian violinist who is this season’s artist in residence with the New York Philharmonic … has captivated critics and audiences.” In conversation, she speaks “openly about the political responsibilities of an artist…. ‘Culture has a lot of power,’ she said…. Batiashvili tested that power last September, when she was invited to perform with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra led by Valery Gergiev. Mr. Gergiev has close ties to Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin…. Batiashvili, who has vowed not to perform in Russia, was conflicted…. So she commissioned an encore for solo violin from a Georgian composer, Igor Loboda, titled ‘Requiem for Ukraine,’ which she performed after her concerto…. Last August, she and [husband and oboist François Leleux] performed at the Prinsensgracht Concert … in Amsterdam. Just weeks earlier, nearly 200 Dutch citizens had been killed when a Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down over a contested area of eastern Ukraine, and the mood in the country was somber. Ms. Batiashvili dedicated [Bach’s] ‘Erbarme dich’ to the victims…. ‘At that point, Bach became for me a symbol of surviving,’ says Batiashvili. ‘His music gives me a lot of strength.’ ”

Posted February 3, 2015