Photo by Judith Beermann
Mariam Batsashvili
Mariam Batsashvili

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