Khatia Buniatishvili: I played two years in Verbier festival orchestra

The Georgian pianist, who has the closing concert at this year’s Verbier Festival, reveals that she spent two formative teenaged summers playing keyboard in its ad hoc orchestra.

She’s talking to our copains at resmusica, here.


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  • At her recent recitals in New York, Dallas and San Francisco, Khatia Buniatishvili beat the piano black and blue, to the point where one wondered what she was doing there. Her performances were simply irresponsible.

    • So what were *you* doing there? Her, let’s call it “extrovert” playing style is well known, that shouldn’t have been a surprise to you. It is also well known that her dressing style is also often “extrovert”. So you just went to gawk, didn’t you?

      • There’s nothing extraverted about such keyboard pummeling and irresponsible music making. And there’s nothing sexy about a half-naked pianist making such a musical fool of herself.

        • I wonder, how can music making be “irresponsible”? But you didn’t answer my question: What were you doing there at all those recitals all over the country when you think she is terrible anyway? You said you wondered what she was doing there. So I wonder what *you* were doing there.

          • I only heard the New York recital (not reviewed), but I read the Dallas & San Francisco reviews, both of which demonstrated that she played the same way — i.e., with total aggression, her dynamic range from FF to FFFF, left-hand often drowning out the right, and with no rhythm whatever. There wasn’t a down-beat in the entire recital – one was at a loss to hear where one phrase ended and another began. It was one big mess from beginning to end.

          • How can music making be irresponsible? By ignoring the composer’s tempo & dynamic markings, by over-pedaling, by speeding up and slowing down whenever she feels like it, by not adjusting her playing to accommodate the concert-hall’s acoustics, etc. Music is about the composer, not the performer. A performing artist has an obligation & responsibility to interpret composer’s score, not to capriciously re-write it.

          • Interesting perspective. I wish I had the musical vocabulary and knowledge to critique as you do. Probably most of simply don’t have the knowledge and nuance that you do. I’ve read a range of reviews about her style. Some assert that she has an advanced, mature understanding of interpretation. Some say she’s a savage…lol…I don’t know. I do know that when she plays a “softer” piece it’s really beautiful and heartfelt. Who would you suggest is one of the great pianists of the day? I am listening to her play Chopin’s Piano Concerto #2, and as far as I can tell, it’s simply lovely.

  • I have her Liszt CD and it is remarkable. Under normal circumstances she would have been making several recordings a year. I don’t blame her for her sexy dressing: she’s got to try and make a career when the bottom has fallen out of the classical music market. (Oh dear, I’ve just made an awful pun but I’ll let it stand).

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