Marina Mdivani was born and began her musical education in Tbilisi, Georgia. In 1960, she both graduated from the Moscow Conservatory and began post-graduate studies there in the Professor Emil Gilels.
In 1961, Ms. Mdivani won the Premier Grand Prix in the prestigious Concours International Marguerite Long-Jacques Тhibaud in Paris.
The next year, Ms. Mdivani was а winner in what may have been the stiffest piano competition in history: 1962 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Other prize-winners that year included Vladimir Ashkenazy and John Ogdon.
In 1963, Ms.Mdivani completed her post-graduate studies at the Conservatory and made an eight-week tour of the United States and Canada. Тhe tour culminated in а recital at Camegie Hall.
As principal soloist of the Moscow Philharmonic Society for twenty five years, Ms. Mdivani's career as orchestral soloist and recitalist has taken her throughout Europe, Russia and North and South America.
Her repertoire includes approximately 40 concertos plus а vast number of chamber works. Often her programs are unusual. In оnсе concert, for example, she played а five Prokofiev concertos. She has recorded works bу Haydn, Mussorgsky and Tchaikovsky for ЕМI and works bу Prokofieff, Mendelsshon, Debussy, Ovshinnikov, Weinberg and Taktakishivili for Melodiya.
Ms. Mdivani has been а successful professor of piano at McGill University since 1992. Her students have а reputation for being solid and consistent pianists. Many of them have won competitions, scholarships and awards.
MARINA MDIVANI IN РIANO RESIТAL
New York Times (1957-Current; Nov 28, 1963; Pro Quest Historical Newspapers The New York Times)
Soviet Performer is Heard in Local Debut at Carnegie ..
Marina. Mdivani, the latest Soviet pianist to play here, made her Carnegie Hall debut last night. In a brilliant recital and it should bе said at the outset that she has the stuff of а great pianist.
Miss Mdivani is 27 years old. She won the .Marguerite Long competition in Paris. In 1961 and has just completed an eight week. United States tour, her first.
Her extraordinary talents are not sensational although for virtuoso technique she takes а back seat to no one. Rather her profile is of. аn intense musicality, rich in temperament, and kept in rein bу а keen intellect. There are. sensational elements - the way she ripped through the octave sections оf the .Liszt В minor Sonаta - but they were not employed to achieve sensational effects, only musical ones.
Тhe Liszt. Sonata and Beethoven's 15 Variations and Fugue on а Theme from "Prormetheus" (Ор. 35) showed Мiss Mdivani (which 18 pronounced ~mm-DI-Vahn-ee) at her best , for in both works she soled the technical problems with ease, using. the piano's tonal palette as if it were аn orchestra
And she solved the more difficult problem of providing con tinuity with .equal ease. For above аl1 the beautiful pianism in which Miss Mdivani indulged was the feeling of the unbroken arch of the music. This she - manаgеd bу treating the phrases to simple understatements that gave momentary satisfaction while whetting the appetite for mоrе. And when the c1imaxes came, they were not overdone, but one sensed а reserve оf power.
Тhe bravura sound did not a1ways jibe with the visual impression, for Miss Mdivani seemed overly self-contained and restrained. With her closecropped dark hair and round childlike о face it seemed incongruous that such а simple bearing should contain such. а tornado of talent.
Her. playing is so close to being. completely satisfying it seems ungallant to point out а debit. But there is one and it is that despite the pyrotechnical brilliance, the kind. Of excitement that. pulls the 1istener from his chair is missing.
For even in Vyacheslav Ovchinnikov's Chorale, Prelude and Fugue, which was. given its local premiere, she failed to bring down the house. Тhе applause was sustained, but not tumultuous, and it should have been. The piese is а hodge-podge of - Khachaturian, and Rachmaninoff and seem to have been written to make “Islamey" look like "chop-sticks."
But for. what. her playing hаs in the way of solid musicality, а tonal control that embraces warm cantabile, shimmering pianissimos' and thunderous fortes, we can forego the explosive brio. Another great pianist hаs arrived.
Magazine "Disques" N127 Fevrier 1962
Whether I wonder to what degree our understanding (perception) of 1st concert of Tchaikovsky have been deformed by magnificent and wonderful record. I scroll record in 78 turns Gorovitz-Toskanini. Toskanini accompanied this product with such skill, that I did not listen since then to the best. Govoritz has established a record of speed to which could not resist, so its virtuosity was convincing it expressed the personal understanding blinding on belief
After Gorovitz all pianists including the greatest attacked its "record" some with it others competed considered, that they have surpassed it, but any of them did not manage to carry away us in the dizzy gallop the First concert became on the one hand product almost too played (who can conduct the exact account to its never-ending records), on the other hand this concert for champions of the keyboard became as though exclusive.
The purpose of this preface is to justify boundless enthusiasm inspiring me by Marina Mdivani's first disc recorded in France.
Marina Mdivani's first disc (the first concert of Tchaikovsky) causes feeling of deep admiration. Marina Mdivani the incomparable virtuoso (it has been proved by having won Grand Prix at Margarita Long's competition), but besides it and mainly she is a surprising musician. Comparing its execution of a concert of Tchaikovsky with usual "standards" it seems wise and slowed down but as it is right returning to product its present rates. She plays music which becomes revelation.
Listen to all second part of the first movement fanned by deep poetry. Besides Marina Mdivani is able to dose out and modulate perfectly the sonority. Listen to that charm which sings in both episodes Andante semplice the second movement as though having something in common with Romeo's pensive comparisons that is completely justified as both elegies are put under a sign on a thunderclap to Tchaikovsky for singer Dezire Arto. How many good and fresh ease in central Prestissimo in this song which appears sang Arto. Listen also to the well-known Cossack dance in the ending which usually transform into competition for the speed between the soloist and an orchestra and which in Marina Mdivani's execution gets again the wild nervous power.
Pierre Dervaux in all follows Marina Mdivani's rates and support of orchestra Colonne is perfectly coordinated with soloist’s play, never becoming persuasive, not getting into dispute with it, it always nearby, he answers it, serves as support. Concert record in two forms Mono and the Stereo are performed in irreproachable cleanliness. The plan of sonority of the instrument is distributed in very regular intervals in real record. Considering musical and technical qualities I consider record of this concert as one of Tchaikovsky the best 1st concert, and can be even best of available in our disposal.
Beeches-Ferne, Cherkassky-Ludwig, Chikolini-Kljuetans, Klibern-Kondrashin, Figure-Dervo, Gurzon-Solti, Gilels-Golovanov, Gilels-Rejner, Gorovetz-Toskanini, Levin-Ormandi, Richter-Ancheri, Richter-Mravinsky, Rubinshtajn-Mitropulos, Esbok-Framaks, Tahino-Amadu, Urer- Kholretner.
At the Port Royal
A powerful recital by Marina Mdivani
(the Montreal Srar, Feb 18 1967)
It was three, perhaps four, years ago that Marina Mdivani gave her first recital in Montreal at the Salle Wilfrid Реllеtiег where she impressed the critics with her . u n е r r i n g. aim and her tremendous power. This. is what mу friends tell me at least, but if I'm going to bе honest I mast admit that I don't remember .the Montгеаl debut of this young Soviet pianist. One thing is с е r t а i n , however. After her return recital last night. at the Port Royal Theatre, I promise not to forget her again. A product of the same school that trained Vladimir Ashkenazy, Moscow's С е n t r а 1 Music School, she has аn even, steely technique that can break through the toughest musical snare ever devised for the keyboard, without s l а с k е n i n g the расе or dropping а semi-quaver.Her program was full of potential snares, particularly in the two biggest items: Prokofieff's Piano Sonata No. 8, and M o u s о r g s k у's "Pictures from а Ехhibition".
Рrоkofiеff completed h i s sixth, seventh and eighth piano sonatas during World War П, and although he was to write а ninth (1947), these three are regarded .as the epitome of his contribution to the form. Less well-known than the big seventh, with its driving 7/4 finale, the elghth is а curious departure from the composer's other sonata plans. T he two main sections of the w о r k are subdivided. with fast slow fast passages that seem to make uр а complete sonata in themselves.
The writing is bril1iant, and the lyrical slow sections are usual by the absence of the bitter and sardonic touches which characterize so much of his music.
М i s s М d i v а n i's performance last night was, to the best of my recollection, а Montreal premiere, and it must be said that she gave а clear and intelligent exposition of the composer's ideas. Even the strongly percussive side of her playing seemed suited to the energetic parts of the music: Prokofieff himself did not play with what could be described а fairy touch, and I feel sure that he would have approved of this pianist's hearty approach.
If "Pictures f1'om an Exhibition" consisted mainly of things 1ike the Ox-Cart, ВаbаYaga, and the Great Gate of Kiev, Miss Mdlvani's performance would probably have to be described as excellent. But to these must be added аIl the gentle, tender passages, plus the mysterious atmospheric sections, and it was in these that the relentless precision of. her. playing was less appropriate.
One of the obstacles she could not overcome in this recital was а badly-tuned piano, which got worse as the evening progressed because of the tremendous pressures she placed upon the mechanism and the strings. I haven't heard any woman force as big а sound out of t h e p i a n o since Gina Bachauer.
It stands to reason that this kind of pianist is ill-suited by temperament and technique to the music of Haydn, whose F major Sonata opened the recital. This was further illustrated by the Scarlatti Sonata which she offered as an encore, and which . she played with lots of pedal in the romantic manner of the late Dame Мyrа Hess, but without the compensating poetry.
Her second encore was аother Prokofieff item-perhaps the "Suggestion. Diabolique," although I am not sufficlently familiar with it to submit this as anything more than а guess.
Soviet pianist graces MAC
(the "Hamilton Spectator" 1993)
Posters announcing two performances and а lecture bу Soviet pianist Marina Mdivani piqued the curiosity of students and community members alike.
For those fortunate enough to attend the first concert last Sunday night at Convocation Hall, 'Ms. Mdivani shared her wealth of experience and talent in an unabashed and sensitive exhibition of technical prowess.
The mysterious aura surrounding her image largely stems from the creative oppression she endured under the communist regime.
As principal solo pianist for the Moscow Philharmonic for over 25 years, she was forbidden to perform or record for Wеstеrn audiences.
Soviet cultural commissars uncomfortable with Ms. Mdivani's individuality in programming and personality stifled the very lifeblood that had, brought her North American recognition 30 years ago. ,
After her success at the prestigues Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1962, Ms., Mdivani performed an eight week North American tour that culminated in а well-received Carnegie Hall recital.
Her gifts were not to bе shared outside the iron curtain again for decades.
Тhеthrill of opening this vault of unknown wonders was embodied in the realization of works by Paul Hindemith and Alexander Scriabin. Both of these
composers .experimented with, new musical languages to express their creativity;
This individuality is closely paralleled by Ms. Mdivani's own life. Hindemith's unwil1ingness to adopt а conventional Wagnerian style of composition forced him to leave his native Germany at the onset of the Second World War for the United States.
Although Scriabin did not completely abandon Moscow, he spent а period in Paris, which significantly affected his musical fingerprint. The magnetism of nationa1istic forces challenged by constraining political doctrines has created the plight of manу artists. .. ,
Ms. Mdivani's only spoken words at the concert expressed her gratitude to the, Hamilton community for enabling her to emigrate with her son in 1991.
Hindemith's Ludus Tonalis ("Play of Tones") а collection of 25 short pieces of varying character, comprised almost а full hour of music. The quiet, mature figure at the piano seemed to draw on an endless reservoir . of internal strength undertaking each piece with renewed vogour
Phenomenal stamina fuelled Ms. Mdivani's musical presentation of Hindemith's musical language. For those who found this work a little difficult to grasp, as with much 20th century music, some of the more lyrical numbers satisfied the aural palates. ,."
А veritable dim sum of musical offerings encompassed the gamut of emotions, rhythms and technical demands
The ensuing collection of Scriabin Preludes and Etudes was like icing on the cake with its sugary sounds, infusing early 20th , century, modernism, .with Сhорinesque undercurrents.
Of particular. note was Ms. Mdivani's ability to convincingly evoke drastically different moods-one of the preludes is often referred to as а greeting to the morning sun whereas another is marked "bеllicоsе" or "savagely."
The audience, which almost filled the hall, did not cease heir . applause until Ms. Mdivani graciously provided an encore. Нumorously punctuating the end of the with a remarkably, brief, but dynamic Scriabin piece, Ms.Mdivani added a sense of levity to her poignant performance.
Ms. Mdivani has recently garnered a significant position in McGill's music faculty but Hamilton will hopefully have the pleasure of future return performances.