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Solidarity concert #AudiTogether with star violinist Lisa Batiashvili

Against an extraordinary backdrop – the Audi press shop – Lisa Batiashvili & friends performed in solidarity for #AudiTogether. In the exclusive interview we talked with the artist about the experience and the special impact music can have in times like these.

“Music connects people across borders. We are sending this message to the world from Audi’s home and hope to present a moment of optimism and joy for many people.”

Lisa Batiashvili, about her motivation for the solidarity concert.

How are you coping with the COVID-19 crisis personally?
It isn’t an easy situation for me right now, or for anyone else. Despite that, I get the sense that people everywhere are pulling together and helping each other. It’s a wonderful energy — solidarity and mutual support are so important in these times.

I think a great deal about medical workers, who are doing the most important work of all right now. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to survive this crisis. Supporting them is a task that all of us are responsible for. It would make me happy, for example, to bring a smile to a few of their faces with this solidarity concert.

What has changed in the past few weeks for you as a musician?
On the one hand, the entire artistic world seems very fragile right now. All my colleagues are in the same situation: concerts are cancelled, income has disappeared and we can’t make any plans for the future. It’s leading to financial difficulties for many people.

On the other hand, we’re forced right now to slow down a bit, and that’s actually quite a nice change. The pace of the music industry is insanely fast, but I consider leisure time to be extremely important. This is the only way that I can get creative and find inspiration for creating something new. That’s why my colleagues and I were particularly excited to play in the solidarity concert. We saw it as an important thing to do during this difficult time. 

Lisa Batiashvili

How did the solidarity concert come to be?
The Audi cultural team and I came up with the idea. My husband immediately said yes. (laughs) Then I made a few phone calls and quickly got a few of my colleagues to join in. We are all friends, we all live in Munich — most of us were also part of the Audi summer concerts. They were immediately excited about the idea. They are all simply friendly and wonderful people.

In general, it’s great that Audi has been supporting classical music at this level for the past 30 years. It means that we always have different renowned musicians coming to Ingolstadt. And that also makes me happy on a personal level, because my parents live in Ingolstadt. 

What were the challenges of a live stream concert without an audience?
I was very curious to see how it would go. It was my first performance of this type, and it was definitely a change. We certainly missed the tension, the energy between the artist and the audience. That’s irreplaceable.

But I think it was a great opportunity. The people could hear and see us no matter where they were at that moment — preferably relaxing in their pajamas with a drink in their hand. (laughs) We hope that we are able to reach people with the live stream who would not normally go to a classical concert.

Maybe we, being classical musicians, need to jazz up our shows a little bit to attract a younger audience. We could pay more attention to the visuals — so people can also “hear” the music with their eyes.

Why is music especially helpful now?
Artists can express so much and incite emotion with music: joy, sadness, tension. That is the magic that makes music so unique. And that magic can be so important, especially now, and help to cheer people up.

Aside from that, a lot of people might have the free time right now that will allow them to really enjoy the music. Corona has made time stand still, to an extent. Things that we take for granted, like going to the movies or to a restaurant, aren’t possible anymore. But music is still here.

Did you select the music especially for this particular time?

We specially selected well-known pieces that many listeners will have an emotional connection to. And I always find Bach to be a good choice, especially in times of crisis. This music is like a kind of religion for me, and it does my heart good. Besides that, this year is the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth — so of course we have something up our sleeves. On this evening, we just wanted to bring some joy into people’s homes with our music. 

The violinist Lisa Batiashvili, who lives in Munich, was accompanied on stage by the renowned oboist and conductor François Leleux, her husband. The other performers are the star cellist Maximilian Hornung, his partner the violinist Sarah Christian, concertmaster of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen – German Chamber Philharmonic, and Jano Lisboa, the solo viola player at the Münchner Philharmoniker – Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. Audi held the concert in the context of the international #AudiTogether campaign.

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