Pianist Giorgi Latso To Play To Baby Pigs
It has all the earmarkings of a gimmick, the ultimate sideshow: A classically trained pianist from the Republic of Georgia arrives in the states for a concert performance with a specific request — that he play works by Bach and Rachmaninoff to an audience of pigs.
That’s precisely what will happen Friday and Saturday in Washington County when Hubbard Hall presents two live performances by renowned Georgian pianist Giorgi Latso (Latsabidze) in front of an audience of eight baby pigs from a local farm. The event is aptly titled “Piano for Pigs.”
Hubbard Hall’s executive director, Benjie White, says that though the premise of the concert is truly bizarre, it’s no gimmick.
“It’s very difficult to describe because Giorgi is an incredible musician whom we heard last year at Hubbard Hall,” he said. “The whole thing grew out of a genuine desire by a consummate artist to share his art with other creatures. It comes across as a gimmick, but I don’t think in Giorgi’s mind it is.”
Latso was born in 1978, and at age 3 he became fascinated by the piano. By age 10, he was entered into the Georgian National Students Competition and, upon winning first place, was invited to perform Schumann’s “Kinderszenen, Op.15” at the annual gala concert held at the Tbilisi State Concert Hall. Twenty-five years later, Latso has earned a doctorate from the Thornton School of Music, recorded numerous albums and DVDs, earned the prestigious designation of a Steinway artist, become a professor at the Vienna Prayner Conservatory of Music and Dramatic Arts and performed in major concert halls around the world.
White said Latso was brought to Hubbard Hall by his American manager last year for a salon concert and dazzled the audience with his skill.
“We were blown away by this person, who has had tunnel vision for the piano since the age of 3,” White said. “Giorgi’s had a jam-packed musical career since the age of 10 … but who knew there was a fascination with pigs?”
Last spring, following the salon performance at Hubbard Hall, Latso visited a local pig farm, where the idea for a concert came to him.
“He had a genuine and spontaneous response of ‘I want to play for them,’ ” White recalled. “This weekend’s concert grew out of Giorgi’s surprise and delight when Hubbard Hall and the farmer agreed to make it happen.”
Latso will perform works by Bach, Chopin, Rachmaninoff and Poulenc. In addition to the specially built corral for the eight young pigs brought in from a local farm, Hubbard Hall’s concert space holds up to 150 people.