Desktop News | July 2023
Edisher Savitski, a professor of music at The University of Alabama, has taken on the role of artistic director and featured performer for the Toradze International Music Festival. The Toradze festival is a high-profile event dedicated to the memory of the late Alexander “Lexo” Toradze (1952-2022), a world-famous Georgian pianist, and his father, David Toradze, a renowned composer who lived from 1922 to 1983.
The festival was initiated by the Toradze Foundation and co-founded by the Ministry of Culture in Georgia and the Georgian Chanting Foundation. Held in Tbilisi, Georgia, from May 30 to June 7, the event was attended by intercontinental musicians, Georgian folk singers, locals familiar with the great musical legacy of the Toradze family and cosmopolitan music lovers.
Dr. Savitski, who was once a much-loved student of Lexo, was invited to be the artistic director of the large-scale event by the sister of the pianist Nina Toradze. Within one year, Savitski successfully organized the event by collaborating with other organizers to secure patron support and the participation of renowned orchestras and performers worldwide.
Exceeding expectations, the 9-day festival featured four performances by three symphonic orchestras, over 18 solo performers, several music-related lectures held at nationally recognized venues within Tbilisi and masterclasses attended by 22 young musical talents during and after the festival.
Savitski credited the impressive turnout of performers and attendees at the festival to the “big personality” and far-reaching impact of Lexo in the world of classical and indigenous Georgian music.
The main festival concert, which lasted for four hours, comprised a performance based on one of the compositions of David Toradze and a well-received performance of Toradze’s most-played piece by Savitski.
In addition to Savitski, several other UA members contributed to the successful and memorable festival. Aslan Chikovani, a student recommended by Savitski, as well as Moses Molina and Benjamin Crawford, all gave outstanding performances and conducted masterclasses.
The College of Arts and Sciences has partnered with the Toradze Foundation in order to strengthen its presence in subsequent festivals and contribute to the foundation’s project of developing music education in Georgia.
“My goal,” Savitski said, “is to bring some of my colleagues from The University of Alabama during the festival and during the year so that they can teach and offer masterclasses to the students, not only the piano but other instruments as well. They will be teaching people who are playing in Tbilisi’s Youth Orchestra, whose members are up to age 28.”
Savitski also hopes that students and faculty members of UA will participate more in subsequent editions of the festival through student exchange programs. Programs will offer outstanding and passionate students from the music department at UA the opportunity to perform in the international festival and build a network with powerhouses in the musical hub of Georgia.
He said, “I am extremely happy that we are partnering with The University of Alabama. The festival is going to be big, and it is going to be extremely important not only in Georgia but on a global radar. It’s a huge exposure for anybody. I want our students at UA together with Georgian students to blend and to be exposed to high-quality music.”
Savitski is also hopeful that the Toradze festival, which will take place annually, will allow the music faculty at UA the opportunity to display their skills before a wider, international audience alongside other “music superstars.”
Fostering a partnership between UA and the Toradze Foundation was key to Savitski because of the Toradze legacy. Savitski said, “For Alex and David Toradze, the educational element was important. They were both educators. I want to contribute to his legacy not only as a performer but as a teacher. And now that I am representing The University of Alabama, I thought we might as well do things together [UA and the Toradze Foundation]. It’s a win-win for everybody.”
For more information about the Toradze International Music Festival, visit bit.ly/3pzQOs4.