Widely celebrated for her strong rhythmical and formal qualities, her crystal-clear polyphony and a virtuoso skill always tuned to enhance musical text and sensitivity, Lela Katsarava has made a recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, supported by the Mécénat Musical Société Générale, which was hailed in 2004 by the magazine Classica and by RTL Radio as their «Discovery CD».
A French-Georgian pianist born in Tbilisi (capital of Georgia, former USSR), Katsarava is heir to a long family tradition. Daughter of Artchil Katsarava (concertmaster of the Tbilisi Radio and Television Orchestra and later the Mexico Radio and Television Orchestra) and Valentina Balanchivadze (Professor Emeritus of music of the Republic of Georgia), granddaughter of Alexandr Katsarava (cellist in the Tbilisi Opera), great-granddaughter of Andrei Karaschvili (Georgia’s first professional violinist), she literally came to the world in a world of music.
Studying the piano from age six with Meri Tchavchanidze at the Georgia Special School for gifted children, she gave her first concert by the age of eight, accompanied by the Georgia National Chamber Orchestra. But her career really started at age ten, when she was chosen to represent her country in Moscow with Bach’s Concerto in D minor, again accompanied by the Georgia National Chamber Orchestra. In 1977 she moved with her parents to Mexico City where she lived and gave a series of concerts and recitals. Back in the USSR, she continued her music studies in Tbilisi and Moscow with Liana Tichonova, Lev Naoumov (assistant to Henrich Neuhaus) and Boris Berlin (assistant to K. Igoumnov). In 1984 she was admitted to the National Superior Conservatory of Georgia in the class of Revaz Tavadze, and got her concerti’s diploma in 1989 – 1rst prize unanimously awarded with jury’s special mention.
In 1990 her international career took a new turn as she went back to Mexico to teach the piano at the National University of Mexico City while performing as a concert pianist with the Mexico Philharmonic Orchestra and the Mexico National Orchestra.
In 1993 Léla Katsarava moved to Paris to enroll in the postgraduate cycle of the National Conservatory of Paris (CNSMDP) in the class of Brigitte Engerer. She was a recipient of a scholarship both from the French government, from the Mécénat Musical Société Générale and from the program « Sasakava Young Leaders Fund » –SYLFF– of the Global Foundation for Research and Scholarship in Japan. During these studies she was a resident at the Cité Internationale des Arts, a central meeting place for artists in the capital.
Léla Katsarava has given numerous recitals in France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. She has taken part in various radio programs, notably Première on France Musique and Alain Duault’s Classique-Classique, to play Bach. Invited to Mexico, she has played the Bach concertos with the Guadalajara Philharmonic Orchestra and given a series of recitals in various mexican cities. In 2006, she was part of the Saint Etienne Festival «Piano Passion» around J.S.Bach and in 2008 she went to Morocco, invited by the festival « Printemps Musical des Alizés » to play the Goldberg Variations.
Léla Katsarava enjoys performing with other artists. The Mexico Centro Historico Festival gave her the opportunity to accompany German actress Hanna Schygulla in her performance Brecht, Here and Now. Since 2007 she has been giving concerts with her soprano singer Maria Katzarava.
Ever grateful to the great teachers who formed her, she has always wished to impart her passion to others. From 2009 to 2014 she made a pause as a concert pianist to fully embrace a career in pedagogy, both as a piano teacher and as a permanent accompanist (since 1995) at the Paris City Conservatory Georges Bizet. Previously, between 1999 and 2001, she had been an accompanist at the National Conservatory of Paris.
Today Léla Katsarava pursues her performing activities as a concert pianist.
From 2014 she gives concerts with the celebrated flutist Jean Ferrandis interpreting J.S.Bach music. Their CD Trio Sonatas BWV 525-530 J.S. Bach, came out to the market in 2016 with great success.
(She speaks perfectly: Russian, Spanish, French and Georgian. A little English and German)