Sarah Willis meets star violinist Lisa Batiashvili preparing for her first performance in the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin and top concert hall acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota reveals how to create such a perfect acoustic.

"She and Dudamel, who demonstrated a strong musical chemistry, began the concerto with sweet poise for one of those memorable Tchaikovskian melodies that the composer makes you remember because (unstable of mind?) he never brings it back. He’s off, on to other soulful, contentious and sometimes vodka-soaked things — Tchaikovsky was recovering from a disastrous marriage in Switzerland in the spring of 1878 and perhaps dreaming of a forbidden love for a young violinist.


Batiashvili, whose technique is impeccable and whose tone is richly soulful, was there for all the emotional and violinistic swings. She dreamed with Tchaikovsky and escaped with Tchaikovsky and threw it all to the wind when that seemed a thrilling thing to do.


She also reminded us, as we need reminding, that there is nothing new with the wider world’s longstanding compulsion to come to terms with Russia, to say nothing of Russians’ own longstanding attempts to do the same."


Mark Swed - Los Angeles Times

Lisa Batiashvili performs Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel in the Walt Disney Concert Hall on 2, 3, 4 and 5 February.


The concerts mark Lisa’s first collaboration with Dudamel and her first return to the Orchestra since 2006, where she performed with Zubin Mehta.


Batiashvili’s recent recording of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto – released on her latest Deutsche Grammophon album ‘Tchaikovsky and Sibelius Violin Concertos’ with Daniel Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin – has been described as “outstanding” and “insightful” (The Guardian) and was named as Gramophone’s ‘Recording of the Month’ in January 2017.

Released on Deutsche Grammophon in November, Lisa Batiashvili's recording of the Sibelius and Tchaikovsky Violin Concertos with Daniel Barenboim Staatskapelle Berlin hit our desks just as we were finalising the 'Presto Top 100' for 2016, but I think one spin of the disc was all it took to convince us all that it was not only destined for the shortlist but very likely a shoo-in for the Top 10 - reviewing it two weeks later, my colleague James spoke for the whole editorial team in praising the 'freedom and elasticity of phrasing and tempo' which characterise both performances and describing them as 'unbelievably impressive accounts of two cornerstones of the repertoire'.


Shortly after our Top 10 was announced, I had a lovely chat with Lisa over the phone as she prepared for a series of performances in Amsterdam: read on to find out more about her artistic relationship with Daniel Barenboim, her history with these two pinnacles of the concerto repertoire, and the experience of performing them with different orchestras and conductors in quick succession!

Gramophone Magazine: Best New Classical Albums


"This is concerto-playing of the very highest order from Lisa Batiashvili and Daniel Barenboim. Every familiar phrase somehow manages to sound both authoritative and newly discovered.


Our Audio Editor writes: This striking set, bringing together the luminous playing of Batiashvili and the Staatskapelle Berlin under Daniel Barenboim, is a delight from start to finish. The content may be familiar, and the orchestra’s approach definitely on the generous side, but the 96kHz/24bit Qobuz download brings extra clarity to the solo instrument, revealing the true wonder of Batiashvili’s technique, drama and lyricism. Listen to the CD-quality version and you get almost the whole story; step up to ‘hi-res’ and even more life is breathed into the recording, making it truly special."


Presto Classical Top 10 Disc of 2016


"I had already decided that this recording was pretty special by the end of the first three bars: the way that Barenboim shapes the first phrase from the orchestral violins, delicate and tender, is just exquisite...Barenboim describes how Batiashvili's playing is full of emotion whilst avoiding sentimentality, and speaks straight to the heart: I couldn't agree more." (James Longstaffe)


The Guardian Top 10 Disc of 2016


"Naming the soloist on the last concerto recording you heard is probably easy. But can you name the orchestra? On this disc, there’s no danger of forgetting that it’s Daniel Barenboim’s Berlin Staatskapelle; the quality of the orchestral playing, the warmth and depth of tone are constant reminders. They offer worthy support to outstanding, insightful performances from violinist Lisa Batiashvili, who, like Barenboim, here commits the Tchaikovsky concerto to disc for the first time. She’s a dreamy-sounding, inward soloist at the start, shaping the melodies with care yet propelling them forward – this mammoth work has rarely seemed so concise. The Sibelius soars and sings in the first movement, and dances in the finale with a rare agility."


iTunes Best of 2016 - Classical Albums & Tracks



Lisa Batiashvili spielt am Sonnabend beim Silvester-Konzert an der Staatsoper die erste Geige. Es gibt den doppelten Tschaikowsky.


Ihr Kalender war eigentlich schon dicht für dieses Jahr, dann kam das Angebot von Daniel Barenboim (74). Silvesterkonzert, Staatsoper. „Die Anfragen von Daniel Barenboim kommen immer zuletzt herein …“, sagt Lisa Batiashvili (37) und lacht.


Das Programm: Das Violinkonzert D-Dur op. 35 von Tschaikowsky und danach die Nussknacker-Suite. Erst klassisch von der Staatskapelle, dann jazzig von Star-Trompeter Till Brönner (45) und Band. „Diese Mischung finde ich sehr gut. Ich bin ein großer Jazz-Fan. Beides ist musikalisch auf höchstem Niveau.“


Sie hat zugesagt, aber eigentlich spielt sie nicht gern an Silvester. „Ich habe das bisher nur drei, vier mal gemacht. Ein bisschen schade ist, dass man so keine wirkliche Weihnachtspause mit Urlaub zum Durchatmen hat. Aber für dieses Konzert habe ich gern darauf verzichtet.“

Die Georgierin gehört zu den besten Geigerinnen der Gegenwart: Mit ihrer Leichtigkeit und einem eindrucksvoll reinen, natürlichen Ton hat die Violinistin es ganz nach oben geschafft. Zum Jahreswechsel gibt sie zwei Konzerte in der Hauptstadt.

To celebrate the New Year, Lisa Batiashvili joins the Staatskapelle Berlin and Maestro Daniel Barenboim for two performances at the Staatsoper im Schiller Theater. Ms. Batiashvili plays Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35 on December 31 and January 2. The concert programme also include's the composer's Suite from "The Nutcracker," Op. 71 and the Tchaikovsky/Duke Ellington "The Nutcracker" Jazz Suite with trumpeter Till Brönner. Please note the New Year's Eve performance has limited ticket availability, and the January 2 date is now completely sold-out.


Her recent Deutsche Grammophon album release of the Tchaikovsky and Sibelius Concertos with Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin has recently been honored on The Guardian, Presto Classical, and iTunes "Best of 2016" lists.


On January 5 Lisa again plays Tchaikovsky, now with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra under the baton of Sir Antonio Pappano at the Kölner Philharmonie, followed by a performance at Amsterdam's Het Concertgebouw on January 8. Other works featured on these concerts include Ljadov's The Enchanted Lake, Op. 62 and Dvořák's Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95 ("From the New World").

Prominente Gäste kommen ins Studio und bringen ihre Lieblings-CDs. Im Gespräch mit BR-KLASSIK-Moderatoren verraten sie viel Persönliches - garantiert spannender als jede Fernseh-Talkshow.


Zu Gast: Die Geigerin Lisa Batiashvili

Moderation: Meret Forster

Lisa Batiashvili performs her first concerts as Artist in Residence with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, with whom she will feature as soloist and chamber musician throughout the 2016/17 season in Amsterdam and on tour.