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Meet Mariam Batsashvili

October 23, 2017

Gwendolyn van Paasschen greets former Congressman Jim Coyne and Laura Atkins (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Gwendolyn van Paasschen greets former Congressman Jim Coyne and Laura Atkins

Mariam Batsashvili. Not a household name, but you just wait.

Friday evening, this young perfomer dazzled with a brilliant, heavenly recital of Bach, Chopin and Liszt for the very lucky invited guests gathered in the Georgetown home of Gwendolyn van Paasschen.

Having long supported music programs for young musicians, Gwendolyn held the private concert in Batsashvilia's honor in conjunction with The Keyboard Charitable Trust, a UK based charity that promotes the highly talented young keyboard players. One way in which the Trust does so is by arranging opportunities for them to play internationally.

Mariam Batsashvili (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Mariam Batsashvili

Transported, we all were to a different time and place. As the artist explained before sitting down to the piano, "I'm a 19th century girl. I like the salon experience, the aesthetics of it, the charm of playing in the house." Oh. My. Yes. 

Currently on a U.S. tour with the trust, the 24-year old, Georgian born musician gained international attention when she won First Prize at the 10th Franz Liszt Piano Competition in Utrecht 2014.

 

She has been playing ever since, at philharmonic halls and in smaller venues from London to St. Petersburg, BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist.

Mariam Batsashvili (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Mariam Batsashvili

Not surprising to learn that Franz Liszt is Batsashvili's favorite composer and that she chose to play her most favorite, Sonata B minor S 178. About this spiritual work, she gushed, "There are no words like heaven and hell ... I imagine this piece captures everything within our reach." 

Mariam Batsashvili (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Mariam Batsashvili

The 30-minute single-movement sonata, tightly constructed with the theme building dramatically from the start, is complex and technically challenging. Often considered a musical portrait of the Faust legend, it can be experienced as a single sonata or as a traditional four-movement work (opening movement, slow movement, scherzo, and finale).

 

Watching the muscles in the pianist's face contort and relax as if the unfolding movements were happening to her, is magical high drama.

 

I will never again listen to Liszt without thinking of Mariam Batsashvili. Brava!

 

Gwendolyn van Paasschen (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Gwendolyn van Paasschen

Gwendolyn and Fabiola Martens chat with the pianist (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Gwendolyn and Fabiola Martens chat with the pianist
Sarah Briggs (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Sarah Briggs
Constance Chatfield-Taylor, Robert Godwin, Rachel Briggs and Jackie Pletcher (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Constance Chatfield-Taylor, Robert Godwin, Rachel Briggs and Jackie Pletcher

Fabiola Martens, Spiros Voyadzis and Gwendolyn van Paasschen (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Fabiola Martens, Spiros Voyadzis and Gwendolyn van Paasschen


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Sally Quinn Hosts Spirit of Georgetown Benefit Honoring the Mayor

October 19, 2017

"Oh, from an admirer!" thought Sally Quinn as she started unwrapping the flowers delivered to her home that morning. Her assistant stopped her. The author, journalist, and oh so gracious host apologized for the crinkled paper as she presented the bouquet to DC Mayor Muriel Bowser for her leadership in combating homelessness. 

Jack Evans, Gunther Stern and Alexander Bullock (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Jack Evans, Gunther Stern and Alexander Bullock

The occasion was Georgetown Ministry Center's (GMC)  2017 Spirit of Georgetown benefit where over 200 friends and supporters gathered Thursday evening at Ms Quinn's elegant Georgetown home to celebrate the community's commitment to ending homelessness and raise the greatest share of funding for GMC's annual operations.

Sally Quinn welcomes her guests (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Sally Quinn welcomes her guests

Introducing retiring Executive Director, Gunther Stern, Quinn remarked," Gunther's father was my first editor. I've known him since he's been a kid. Never say 'no' to Gunther."

Jack Evans, Gunther Stern and Alexander Bullock (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Jack Evans, Gunther Stern and Alexander Bullock

This year's theme, "Making a Difference," is something Stern has been doing for 31 years.

Gunther Stern reflects on his tenure (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Gunther Stern reflects on his tenure

"I was there during the crack epidemic and the AIDS crisis, all of which impacted homelessness," he explained. "I have seen many attempts to resolve homelessness but the present effort which has been a major element of the administration of tonight's honoree, Mayor Muriel Bowser, is unprecented in its scope and impact. As I have walked the streets talking to people I have known for years, I am hearing over and over, 'I am just about to move into my place.' or 'I just moved in and you need to come see my place.' It's great." 

Leslie Maysak, Amy Porter Stroh and Avery Miller (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Leslie Maysak, Amy Porter Stroh and Avery Miller

Echoing Stern's praises, Quinn said, "I'm so thrilled to have the mayor here. Don't tell anyone I said that because I'm supposed to be an unbiased journalist."

GMC President Alexander Bullock thanks his team (Photo by: Judith Beermann) GMC President Alexander Bullock thanks his team

Guests heard from GMC President Alexander Bullock and the city's longest serving councilmember Jack Evans, whom the mayor said has "made a strategic investment into making homelessness rare, brief and nonexistent."

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

Jennifer and David Romm (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Jennifer and David Romm

Gunther Stern and Muriel Bowser listen to Alexander Bullock (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Gunther Stern and Muriel Bowser listen to Alexander Bullock


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William Woodward's Seven Deadly Sins

October 17, 2017

I wish I'd saved the photographs I'd taken in 1979, especially the ones of him painting in Carnac and clowning around the chateau with our art class. Capturing the rugged coastline of Brittany and the brilliant brushstrokes of William Woodward. As director of George Washington University’s MFA program in Studio Arts for more than thirty years, Woodward has mentored three generations of artists in the techniques of the great masters.

 

The Katzen Arts Center at American University is hosting an exhibition of William Woodward's paintings through December 17, 2017.

 

William Woodward in Brittany (Photo by: williamwoodward.com) William Woodward in Brittany

A third-generation native Washingtonian, Woodward is among America’s most sought-after and admired classically trained painters (the Florentine Accademia di Belli Arti, the Corcoran School, and The American University.) The recipient of multiple awards and commissions, Woodward’s works have been acquired by museums, as well as scores of corporate, public and private collections. 

 

For the past two decades, the artist has delved into the rich history and aesthetic possibilities of the seven deadly sins. The master drawings and narrative paintings in this exhibition owe a great deal to the films of Federico Fellini, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and the commedia dell'arte tradition. Woodward tries to imagine, had these directors and actors been painters, how they might have depicted their subjects in whimsical and elusive ways rather than strident and explicit interpretations.

 

In creating The Seven Deadly Sins, Woodward is not preaching about sin. Rather, he wanted to paint pictures that no one, including himself, had ever seen before.

 

On November 16 from 6:00 to 7:30 pm, enjoy a Gallery Talk with William Woodward.

 

American University is located at 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW.

 

 


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