Alexander (Lexo) Toradze (born 1952 in Tbilisi, Georgia ) is a classical concert pianist, best known for his classical Russian repertoire, with career spanning over three decades. He is a professor of piano at Indiana University South Bend.
Born in Georgia, then part of the former Soviet Union, to parents David, a famous Georgian composer, and Liana, a movie actress and ophthalmologist, Alexander Toradze entered Tbilisi’s central music school at six and first played with orchestra at nine. He continued his studies at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow at nineteen under Yakov Zak, Boris Zemliansky, and Lev Naumov.In 1977, he finished second in the Fifth Van Clibum International Piano Competition in fort Worth, Texas. Toradze graduated from the Moscow conservatory in 1978. In 1983, while on tour with the Bolshoi Symphony Orchestra of Moscow, he requested asylum at the American Embassy in Madrid and has since made his home in the United States.
In 1991, Toradze became the Martin endowed professor of piano at Indiana University South Bend. The members of the multi-national Toradze Piano Studio at IUSB have been active participants in summer festivals including Salzburg,White Nights Festival , London Proms, Edinburgh, Ravinia, Ruhr, Rotterdam,Mikkeli , Finland, Hollywood Bowl, Saratoga among others. In the recentseason the Studio appeared in Salzburg, New York, Rome, Florence, Venice, Ravenna, Lisbon, Ruhr Festival, among others.
Mr. Toradze continuously appears with world's leading orchestras such as Berlin Philarmonic,Kirov Orchestra, La Scala Philharmonic, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Bayerische Rundfunk Orchester, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, City of Birmingham Symphony, London's Symphony, NHK in Japan, Czech, Hungarian, Israel, Rotterdam, Warsaw Philharmonics, the radio orchestras in Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Italy.
He has performed with virtually every major orchestra in the United States, including New York, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Minnesota, Houston, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Seattle, and Washington, D. C. He has also appeared with the symphonies of Montreal and Toronto, and abroad with the Kirov Orchestra, St. Petersburg, Israel and La Scala philharmonics,; Bayerische Rundfunk Orchester; Orchestre Nation de France; City of Birmingham Symphony; London's Symphony, Philharmonic and Philharmonia Orchestras; and the orchestras of Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Italy.
Toradze is also famous for his praying before he performs. When asked in a radio interview with renowned classical radio host, Bruce Duffie, about what advice he could give to aspiring concert pianists, Toradze replied, "…Don't forget to pray to God before each performance and don't forget to give your soul enough air. Believe in the right purpose of art and believe in being human".
Toradze, who specializes in Russian composers such as Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky has recorded for the Philips and Angel /EMI record labels. Most notable is his 1998 recording of Prokofiev's five piano concertos with Valery Gergiev and the Kirov Orchestra for the Philips record label. From this set, Prokofiev's piano concerto No. 3 was named by International Piano Quarterly as "historically the best on record" from among over seventy recordings.