by Neil King
After 25 years at the Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts at Indiana University South Bend, Alexander Toradze has retired as the Martin Endowed Professor in Piano to pursue other personal and professional goals.
Toradze became the first endowed piano professor at any Indiana University campus when the position was established at IU South Bend in 1991 through a gift from community benefactors Lee and Geraldine Martin. As part of the endowment he established the IU South Bend Piano Studio comprised of elite piano students from around the world. The IU South Bend Piano Studio became a touring ensemble that performed the piano and chamber works in Europe, Russia, Canada and across the United States. In South Bend, Toradze and his students often performed with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra.
Born in Tbilisi, Georgia, near the Black Sea, Toradze graduated from the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow in 1978. While on tour with the Bolshoi Symphony Orchestra of Moscow in 1983, he requested asylum at the American Embassy in Madrid, Spain and came to the United States.
In 2012, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels awarded him the Governor’s Arts Award at a ceremony at IU South Bend. In 2014, he was inducted into the South Bend Alumni Association’s Community Hall of Fame.
For the next three semesters a search for the next leader of the IU South Bend Piano Studio, The Martin Family Fellowship Piano Residencies, will be overseen by a selection committee.