Elisso Virsaladze grew up in Tiflis, in a family long 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 for Moscow, where, at the age of twenty, she won third prize in the Tchaikovsky Competition.
In Moscow, she continued her studies with Heinrich Neuhaus and Yakov Zak. These gifted teachers had not only a deep influence on her artistic development, but also immersed her in the renowned tradition of Russian piano pedagogy. It is therefore not surprising that she is recognised today as an exceptional teacher whose students have won sensational recognition at competitions. Elisso Virsaladze is a professor at the Moscow conservatory and at the Munich Musikhochschule; she is regularly invited as juror to the major international competitions, including those in Japan, Portugal, Santander, the Geza Anda in Zurich, the Rubinstein in Tel Aviv and the Tchaikovsky in Moscow. Forthcoming competitions at which Miss Virsaladze will adjudicate are those in Santander (2005), Munich (2006) and Brussels (2007).
She is deeply committed to the composers of the late 18th and 19th centuries, especially Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin and Schumann. At the age of twenty-four, she won the 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. She is also well-known for her wide repertoire up to and including modern Russian composers. The Soviet Union has honoured her with its highest artistic awards.
Elisso Virsaladze regularly performs in London, Milan, Rome, Paris, Lisbon, Berlin and Barcelona; duo concerts with Natalia Gutman have taken place in cities including, in Europe, Vienna, Berlin, Brussels, Madrid, Munich, Milan, Geneva and Lausanne. In chamber music and with orchestras such as the St Petersburg and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestras, she has toured North America, Japan and Europe extensively, in addition to her appearances with the major orchestras in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, the USA and other countries. Miss Virsaladze has worked with conductors such as Rudolf Barshai, Kyril Kondrashin, Riccardo Muti, Kurt Sanderling, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Evgeny Svetlanov, Juri Temirkanov and Antoni Wit.
2003 St. Petersburg Gala, celebrating the 300th anniversary of the city