Georgian artist community, cultural institutions and officials have sent in their tributes to the family of the internationally recognised Georgian pianist Alexander Toradze, who passed away on Wednesday.
The Georgian Culture Ministry called Toradze - who died at age 69 at his home in Chicago, where he resided since the 1980s - a “distinguished Georgian musician” and “one of the virtuoso contemporary pianists”.
[Toradze] was recognised as one of the virtuoso contemporary pianists [whose] performing style was characterised by scale, romanticism [and] artistic temperament
- Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth of Georgia
Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili sent his own condolences in a message that praised the pianist’s “scale and talent of his personality”.
Toradze's pedagogical work will be appreciated many more times in the future, as he raised generations who successfully participated in prestigious festivals with leading orchestras and conductors from around the world
- Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili
Born in Tbilisi in 1952, Toradze was on tour with the Bolshoi Symphony Orchestra of Moscow in 1983 when he requested asylum at the American Embassy in Madrid. He then made his home in the United States, teaching as a professor of piano at Indiana University South Bend between 1991-2017.
Toradze performed with world's leading orchestras including the Berliner Philharmoniker, Kirov Orchestra, La Scala Philharmonic, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and more. He was on stage with virtually every major orchestra in the United States and with the symphony orchestras of Montreal and Toronto.
He was distinguished for live performances with prizes including at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, and produced numerous recordings, including one for Prokofiev's five piano concertos in 1998 with Valery Gergiev and the Kirov Orchestra. The Piano Concerto No. 3 from the recording was named by International Piano Quarterly as "historically the best on record" from among over seventy recordings.
In April, Toradze suffered an "acute heart failure" while performing with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra USA, but kept performing through the concert without realising the condition. He was later treated at the PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Centre in the Canadian city.