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Publication Date: Friday, February 09, 2001

Tamriko Siprashvili: From Georgia, with love Tamriko Siprashvili: From Georgia, with love (February 09, 2001)

Pianist from former Soviet republic enriches Pleasanton cultural scene

by Chuck Cole

Tamriko Siprashvili is a long way from her roots. Born in Tbilisi (pronounced Bee-lee-see), Georgia, in the former Soviet Union, she has traveled a long and arduous route to the top of a competitive activity - performing as a concert pianist - not unlike the achievements of an Olympic champion.

She and her husband Mark Anderson, Pleasanton's own internationally acclaimed and award-winning pianist, are perhaps the most sought after duo-piano team in the world. They are individually, and together, invited to play with many of the world's most prestigious orchestras. They live with their 15-month-old daughter Nina in Pleasanton, teaching privately to intermediate and advanced piano students, and performing concerts throughout the United States and Europe.

Tamriko has an intense dislike for the international competitions that top-flight players must endure if they are to be "recognized." She emphatically states: "Art is not a competition."

On the other hand, she feels "a special joy when I know that I have truly moved someone by my performance." She loves music, and the piano, and performing in concert. She won't profess to a favorite composer, but it seems that Schumann holds a special place in her heart. "I enjoy all composers because they bring joy to the world through their music."

Tamriko began piano studies at the age of 3. Her mother was concerned that she was showing no musical talent and sent her to her own piano teacher to find out if she was tone deaf.

At age 5, Tamriko entered the Special Music School for gifted children in Tbilisi, which at the time was one of only four throughout the entire Soviet Union. At 17, she went on to the Moscow Conservatory of Music. In 1985 she received her diploma from the Moscow Conservatory, where she studied primarily with Mikhail Voskresensky. Following graduation she took first prize at the 1985 Robert Schumann International Piano Competition in Germany.

Tamriko has toured extensively throughout Germany, Italy, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. In Moscow she has appeared in recital at the Great Hall (her favorite concert hall) and Small Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. She has appeared with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra in Germany (her favorite orchestra), the Toscanini Orchestra in Italy, the Tbilisi Philharmonic in her native Georgia, and the Moscow Chamber Orchestra. She is noted for her romantic repertoire, especially that of Robert Schumann.

Tamriko met Mark Anderson at the Leeds International Piano Competition in 1990 and again in 1991 when both were performing in the Glory of Mozart International Competition. Mark is a Pleasanton product, having moved here as an infant. He began his piano studies at the age of 5 under Eugene Masluk in Livermore.

Neither spoke the other's language, so much of their early communications required an interpreter. Yet, despite this obvious difficulty, romance flourished. Their courtship continued while maintaining independent international performance schedules. They were married in 1993 and lived in London until 1997. In 1997 they came home to Pleasanton.

The transition to a new country, a new language, new traditions, and all that goes with such a move would be monumental for any of us, leaving behind family and friends, comfortable places and customs.

"I miss my family. We are very close, and seeing each other only once or twice a year is very difficult for me," Tamriko said. Layer on to that an intense international performance schedule and one can begin to appreciate the person that is Tamriko Siprashvili. She is warm and friendly, gracious and intelligent, with an obvious gift for music that is thrilling to hear. Plus she is a lovely person to chat with over a cup of coffee in downtown Pleasanton. She speaks Georgian, Russian, and now English, and is teaching her daughter all three.

"It took me about a year to get comfortable in one-on-one conversations in English," she said. "Until then, Mark would do all the talking for us and I would stay in the background. But, now I'm more confident and don't believe it is a problem."

Her mother recently returned to Georgia after spending most of the past year visiting here. "It is more difficult without my mother," Tamriko said. "Not only do I miss her, but now finding a babysitter is a frequent problem."

Tamriko spent a month in Georgia last November, after her Mother's return, visiting family and friends. While there she performed in three concerts, two in Tbilisi and one in Moscow. She tries to visit her homeland at least once each year.

She has traveled extensively and has friends throughout the world. "Most anywhere I perform, there will be someone living nearby who I went to school with or met at a competition where we became friends. That makes the travel more bearable, otherwise it can be very boring and tiring," she said.

Tamriko loves the ambiance of Pleasanton and intends to make it her home for many years. The people are "warm and friendly and helpful, and I feel their love and support."

She maintains a hectic schedule that would tire most of us just to think about it. She currently teaches 18 students, performs in approximately 10 concerts each year (with all the necessary rehearsals), and, oh yes, attends to her 15-month-old daughter, who wants all of her time.

Tamriko juggles these demands quite successfully - if you have had the good fortune to hear her perform, you would believe that she had dedicated all her time to preparation for just that moment. <@$p>

Chuck Cole is president of the Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council.

Seventh annual benefit concert Seventh annual benefit concert (February 09, 2001)

What: Two-piano concert featuring J.S. Bach/Coleman's Chaconne in D Minor; Schubert's Fantasy in F Minor; Schubert's March Militaire; William Bocum's Requerdoes (1991); Brahms' 16 Waltzes Op. 39; Gregory Stone's Volga Journey Capriccio Who: Tamriko Siprashvili and Mark Anderson When: 8 p.m., Sat., Feb. 24 Cost: $12, $15, $20 Where: Amador Theater, 1155 Santa Rita Road Benefiting: Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council's Arts-In-The-Schools program Special: Following the concert, a meet-the-artists reception, for $10, hosted by Mt. Diablo National Bank, 900 Main St. Tickets limited. Telephone: 461-4864

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