Elisso Virsaladze grew up in a family in Tbilisi, which was for generations involved in the art and culture of Georgia. She received her first piano lessons from her grandmother, Professor Anastasia Virsaladze. After attending the conservatory, she left her native city and moved to Moscow, where, at the age of twenty, she won the third prize in the Tchaikovsky Competition.
She continued her studies in Moscow with Heinrich Neuhaus and Yakov, gifted teachers who had not only a deep influence on her artistic development, but also immersed her in the renowned tradition of Russian piano pedagogy. Elisso Virzaladze is now a professor at both the Moscow Conservatory and the Musikhochschule in Munich, where she is recognized as an exceptional teacher whose students have won sensational distinction. She regularly servies as a judge for the most prestigious international competitions including the Santander, Geza Anda in Zurich, Rubinstein in Tel Aviv the Tchaikovsky Richter competitions in Moscow.
Her deepest love is for composers of the late 18th and 19th centuries, especially Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin and Schumann. At the age of twenty-four, she won first prize at the Schumann Competition in Zwickau, and she has been described by the international press as one of the great contemporary interpreters of Schumann. At the same time, she is also well known for her wide repertoire including modern Russian composers. The Soviet Union has honored her with its highest artistic awards.
Elisso Virsaladze performs regularly in London, Milan, Rome, Paris, Lisbon, Berlin and Barcelona. She is known for her partnership with the cellist Natalia Gutman with whom she has performed recently in Spain, Belgium, Italy, the United Kingdom (London’s Wigmore Hall), the Netherlands and Germany. In addition she served on competition juries throughout the world, including Brussels, Japan, Busoni and Portuga. She has toured extensively in North America, Japan and Europe in recitals, chamber music and as guest soloist with such orchestras as the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and the Royal Philharmonic in London. She has appeared with with the most prestigious orchestras of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Japan and the United teste working with such conductors as Rudolf Barschai, Kyril Kondraschin, Ricardo Muti, Kurt Sanderling, Wolfgang Sawallisch Evgeny Svetlanov, Juri Temirkanov and Antoni Wit.
During the 2009 season Elisso Virzaladze performed concerti of Brahms, Beethoven and Mozart throughout Europe and Russia and gave numerous recitals and chamber music concerts. Some of her most renowned recordings have been released on the Live Classics label offering a wide perspective into her musical personality.
“Elisso is an unforgettable Schumannist. Elisso is an artist of great distinction, perhaps the greatest woman pianist of our time. She is a serious, deeply sincere and unpretentious musician. Also, she comes from an old noble family, which can be heard in her playing. She impresses me in every respect. Can one imagine a more beautiful Schumann than Elisso offered us this evening? I haven’t heard such Schumann since Neuhaus.”
- Sviatoslav Richter: In Bruno Mansaingeon, Richter, Ecrits, conversations Van de Velde, Arte Editions, Actes Sud 1998
Soloist with the O rquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Carlo Ricci, conductor:
“Elisso Virzaladze gave a fine concert performance of the Piano Concerto No. 3 by Beethoven. The Russian interpreter, born Georgia, showed her impeccable technique, with a clean and clear fingering, and a dynamic control of delicate nuance perfectly coordinated with the conductor. Her version was full of musicality, highlighted by her elegant phrasing and a beautiful use of rubato, being filled with the basic logic that each note must have meaning in relation to the one preceding and following it. The concerto was a climax of emotion. Overwhelming.”
- El Pais – January 18, 2010
It was an exemplary performance, imbued by the Italian conductor Carlo Rizzi, a frequent guest who always delivers professional sound and absolutely correct delivery. This time, he effectively made a concerted effort in the Beethoven to lean on the expertise of the great Georgian pianist, who had last visited us in December 2005, who gave a wonderful interpretation of the Beethoven concerto and offered as an encore a mazurka by Chopin.”
- La Opinion Coruña – January 17, 2010
“Yuli Turovsky seems to enjoy good relations with his fellow former citizens of the Soviet Union. On Wednesday he brought Elisso Virsaladze, a Georgian-born pianist who studied in Moscow with the likes of Heinrich Neuhaus and Yakov Zak, to play Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 with I Musici de Montréal in Théâtre Maisonneuve of Place des Arts. The famous Russian school is no fable. This was wonderfully vivid playing, firm without sounding percussive and positive without sounding loud. The Largo movement had an honest sort of solemnity and the outer movements were brimming with keen expressive touches. Virsaladze and Turovsky repeated the finale as an encore.”
- Montreal Gazette, January 25, 2008
Gala Concert: 300 Years of St. Petersburg, Euroarts DVD 2053408:
“I found Elisso Virsaladze's Ravel Left-hand Concerto a breath-taking experience. Her interpretation was one of the finest I've ever heard, perhaps surpassed only by the Browning-Leinsdorf recording from around 1960. I hope to hear more from Virsaladze, who has made a number of recordings of works by Chopin, Beethoven, Prokofiev and others. She plays with a nearly perfect marriage of technique and feeling here, and is abetted brilliantly by the young conductor Nikolai Alekseev.”
- Classical.net 2006