Khatia Buniatishvili was born on 21 June 1987, in the town of Batoumi near the Black Sea. Georgia was still under Soviet authority, and although the pianist remembers growing up in a safe family environment, she remembers the difficulties endured by the Georgian people during the Soviet period. In 1991, the year of Khatia’s fourth birthday, Georgia finally proclaimed its independence.
At the age of 6, Khatia Buniatishvili gave her first public concert. She performed the Concerto Op.44 by Isaac Berkovich, a composer closely associated with the Soviet regime. The work performed by the young Khatia rang like an echo of the past, of her family, and of her native Georgia.
Khatia Buniatishvili’s rapid rise to fame began in 2008, when she was awarded the 3rd prize and the Public prize by the prestigious Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Tel-Aviv. The character and force of the young pianist’s performance hardly went unnoticed, and she was invited that same year to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York, and a year later at the Festival de la Roque-d’Anthéron in the south of France.
Though Khatia Buniatishvili did not win the First prize, her career was nonetheless well and truly launched. In 2011, she admitted to not having been fully prepared for the Rubinstein Competition since she was little interested in the imposed works, and only chose to perform the Piano Concert no.2 by Brahms for the finale simply for her own pleasure!