Friends, family members and fans of Morro Bay music educator Wachtang “Botso” Korisheli will pay tribute to him at a memorial concert next week.
“A Musical Memorial to Botso” will be held at 3 p.m. Aug. 22 at the Performing Arts Center in San Luis Obispo. The event is free and open to the public.
Korisheli, 93, died July 27 of an apparent heart attack. The Georgian-born teacher, pianist, painter and sculptor founded the San Luis Obispo Youth Symphony in 1965 and served as a source of inspiration for multiple generations of students.
“He touched everybody in some way,” said one of his former pupils, San Luis Obispo Symphony principal cellist Nancy Nagano, who now conducts the youth symphony. Her cousins, Bay Area pianist Joan Nagano and Grammy Award-winning conductor Kent Nagano, also studied with Korisheli.
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Nancy Nagano said a concert seemed like the most appropriate way to celebrate Korisheli’s life and legacy.
“The number one thing for Botso was, ‘Always make music,’ ” she said.
Patty Thayer, communications and development director and San Luis Obispo Little Theatre, will serve as master of ceremonies for the Aug. 22 concert.
Nagano, former San Luis Obispo Symphony Music Director Michael Nowak and Carol Kersten, director of the youth symphony’s Academy String Orchestra and Preparatory Strings ensembles, will conduct about 80 performers including current and past youth symphony members, as well as friends, supporters and students of Korisheli.
The program will feature three pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach, one of Korisheli’s favorite composers: “Double Violin Concerto in D minor,” “Double Piano Concerto in C minor” and “Little Fugue in G minor.”
Other selections include the “Adagietto” from Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 and “The Great Gate of Kiev” from Modest Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition.”
In addition, Korisheli’s son, Temmo Korisheli, will conduct a Georgian tune that he arranged for one of his father’s popular house concerts.
“We’re going to have a really nice program,” Nagano said.
To cover the costs of the memorial concert, the documentary “Botso: The Teacher from Tbilisi” will be screened at noon Aug. 22 at the Bay Theatre in Morro Bay. Donations of $10 to the Botso Korisheli Memorial Fund will be accepted at the door.