Globally Competitive UA Pianist Winning Competitions

Oct. 21, 2015

Nino Bakradze has steadily picked up national and international attention for her world-class piano skills.

In recent years, this second-year doctoral student at the University of Arizona's Fred Fox School of Music has earned strong placements in various competitions.

Earlier this year, Bakradze won first place at the UA's Lois Trester Piano Competition and was recognized as the most outstanding Arizona pianist at the International Bosendorfer Piano Competition at Arizona State University. She also won the President's Concerto Competition at the UA last year.

Most recently, Bakradze received the gold medal at the Louisiana International Piano Competition and also the silver medal at the Cincinnati World Piano Competition. 

"These top competitions are typically populated by piano students from major conservatories and music schools worldwide: Juilliard, Manhattan, Eastman, Shanghai, Moscow," said Tannis Gibson, a music professor and assistant director of the UA School of Music. Bakradze trains in piano performance with Gibson.

"The Fred Fox School of Music is thrilled not only for Nino’s personal triumph, but also to have the University of Arizona's name so prominently featured in these venues," Gibson said.

In addition to winning a cash prize during the Louisiana International Piano Competition, Bakradze was offered a concerto performance with an orchestra in Europe, a solo performance in Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall and recitals throughout Louisiana. The competition also will sponsor a CD recording of her solo repertoire.

Bakradze has performed numerous times across the U.S. and throughout the world, including recitals in Armenia, Brazil, China, Finland, Georgia and Poland.

Competing in Cincinnati against musicians from across the U.S., as well as China, Korea and Russia, Bakradze performed in five rounds, each of which required up to 45 minutes of varied classical piano performance.

"The absolute highlight of the whole week there was the last round performance of Rachmaninoff Third Piano Concerto with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra – one of this country's finest orchestras. It was incredible," she said.

And her national and international performance schedule continues.

This month, Bakradze had had two recitals in Bisbee, Arizona, and another in Tucson at the UA School of Music. Also, Bakradze is gearing up for a spring concert in Spain, as her top placements in these prestigious competitions often result in international performance opportunities.

Nino Bakradze performs during the Aram Khachaturian International Competition earlier this year.

Born in Tbilisi, Georgia to a family of musicians – both her parents are conductors – Bakradze began training at the age of 9. She chose to play the piano at random and became almost instantly devoted to the instrument, Bakradze said.

"From my first recital, I remember the feelings I had after the applause," she recalls. "I knew that this was my way."

Prior to the UA, Bakradze earned a professional studies degree from Boston Conservatory and a graduate diploma from the New England Conservatory. She earned both her master's and bachelor's degrees in music from the V.Saradjishvili Tbilisi State Conservatoire.

Gibson says Bakradze has "abundant talent, an exemplary work ethic and a strong background," which was clear before she arrived at the UA for advanced studies, she said. 

"Nino's capacity to absorb large amounts of repertoire and her nerves of steel in these stressful performance situations have also contributed largely to her success, particularly in big international competitions where the pressures can be immense," Gibson said. "During her time as a doctoral student, Nino's level of artistry has grown and become more refined, more personal. For performing musicians, defining one's artistic self is a lifetime process and as Nino’s instructor, I am continually inspired and honored to be a part of assisting her in that quest."

For her musical talents and promise, Bakradze has received numerous grants, including those from the Heinrich Neuhaus Fund, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Georgia and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Georgia, among others.

"I have a wish to play and to learn and continue to grow; I am learning all the time," said Bakradze, also a graduate teaching assistant at the UA School of Music.

Her long-term professional plan is continue teaching. "I like the process of teaching, and it is how I have found my place."