Born into a family of prominent Moscow musicians, Karine Georgian began studying the cello at the age of five with her father, the cellist Armen Georgian, and in due course joined his class at the Gnessin School in Moscow. Later she went on to spend seven years in Rostropovich’s legendary class at the Moscow Conservatoire. After taking the First Prize and Gold Medal at the III International Tchaikovsky Competition, her international career spanned all the countries of the former Soviet Union, Eastern and Western Europe, the Far East and the United States, debuting in Carnegie Hall under the baton of her compatriot Aram Khachaturian in his Cello Concerto.
Karine Georgian’s repertoire encompasses more than 40 concertos and a huge range of instrumental and chamber music. In addition to the core repertoire of Russian and European Romantic masterworks, her interests extend from the eighteenth century to the present day. Throughout her performing career she has been associated with leading composers of our day, several of whom wrote works for her. These include Alfred Schnittke, Sofia Gubaidulina, Krzysztof Penderecki, Dmitri Smirnov and Elena Firsova. Karine Georgian gave the US premiere (1989) of Alfred Schnittke’s Cello Concerto No 1 at Carnegie Hall with the American Symphony Orchestra.
Karine Georgian left the Soviet Union in 1980 to settle in London, combining an active worldwide performing schedule with a cello professorship at the Hochschule für Musik in Detmold, Germany, where she succeeded André Navarra to the post. After holding the position for 20 years she took up an appointment at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Awarded an Honorary Fellowship in 2014, she has now retired from full-time teaching but continues to be in demand for coaching and masterclasses. A frequent member of international competition juries, she returned to the country of her birth in June 2019 to serve on the jury for the XVI International Tchaikovsky Competition, more than fifty years after her own Gold Medal victory.