Khatia Buniatishvili (Georgian: ხატია ბუნიათიშვილი; born June 21, 1987) is a Georgian concert pianist.
Khatia Buniatishvili began studying piano under her mother at the age of three. She gave her first concert with the Chamber Orchestra in Tbilisi at the age of six. From the age of ten she gave concerts in Europe, Ukraine, Armenia, Israel and the USA. She graduated from the Tbilisi Central Music School, then entered the Tbilisi State Conservatory in 2004.
Buniatishvili, who has described the piano as a "symbol of musical solitude", chose the piano over the violin despite her perfect pitch. She and her (older) sister Gvantsa learned the piano together and performed duets at home.
Buniatishvili has played with, among other orchestras, the Orchestre de Paris under Paavo Järvi, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre National de France under Daniele Gatti and the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. She has also performed chamber music with musicians including Gidon Kremer and Renaud Capuçon.
In 2010 she received the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award, and was included in the BBC series New Generation Artists. The Vienna Musikverein and Konzerthaus nominated her as Rising Star for the 2011–12 season, and in 2012 she was awarded Best Newcomer of the Year in the Echo Klassik awards.
In 2010, Buniatishvili signed an exclusive recording contract with Sony Classical Records. Her 2011 debut album marked Liszt’s 200th anniversary, and included his Sonata in B minor, Liebestraum No 3, La Campanella, Hungarian Rhapsody No 2, and Mephisto Waltz. Classic FM stated in its review of the album that "Buniatishvili is a young artist with a huge temperament and technique that puts one in mind of the young Martha Argerich". Gramophone was less impressed, its reviewer Jed Distler criticising a "texturally and rhythmically vague" Liebesträume No. 3 and stating, of Buniatishvili's Sonata in B Minor, that "her antsy rhythmic sense, dynamic miscalculations and general lack of long-range planning wear thin after several hearings". This recording was followed by a 2012 album devoted to Chopin, combining solo piano works with Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, accompanied by the Orchestre de Paris and Paavo Järvi. The Guardian reported "This is playing straight from the heart from one of today's most exciting and technically gifted young pianists". Gramophone, on the other hand, criticised Buniatshvili's recording of the Piano Concerto No. 2 for a "lack of poise and excessive speed". In 2014, Buniatishvili released her third album on Sony Classical, titled Motherland. Rather than being devoted to one particular composer as her previous albums were, Motherland was an assortment of personally significant pieces, including music from her homeland Georgia. She dedicated the album to her mother. Her fourth album, Kaleidoscope, was released in 2016. It featured her interpretation of Pictures at an Exhibition as well as works by Ravel and Stravinsky.
Buniatishvili speaks five languages fluently: Georgian, French, English, German and Russian.
Prizes and awards
Buniatishvili has received the following prizes and awards:
- Special prize of the Horowitz Piano Competition in Kiev in 2003 and the first prize of the Elizabeth Leonskaya Scholarship
- The 3rd Tbilisi International Piano competition (2005): Second Prize winner along with Special Prize “for Artistry” and Special Prize “Best Georgian young pianist”
- 12th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition (2008): Third Prize winner along with a Special Prize “Best Performer of a Chopin piece” and “Audience Favorite” Prize in Eilat”
- A Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award in 2010
- Newcomer of the Year (Piano) ECHO Klassik Award 2012
- 2011 - Franz Liszt Solo Piano album (Sony Classical)
- 2012 - Chopin with the Orchestre de Paris, conducted by Paavo Järvi (Sony Classical)
- 2014 - Motherland Solo Piano album (Sony Classical)
- 2016 - Kaleidoscope Solo Piano album (Sony Classical)