The Beersheba Sinfonietta is hosting a special guest this week, as outstanding Georgian violinist and conductor Liana Isakadze performs in Israel for a very limited engagement. Isakadze started playing violin in her early childhood, and at the age of 10 was discovered by David Oistrach, one of the major violinists of the 20th century. She later became his student. When she was only 19, Isakadze won the prestigious Margarita Long and Jacques Thibaut competition in Paris, and later the Tchaikovsky competition in Moscow. Nowadays, she makes Germany and France her home and performs all over the world as a soloist, in addition to conducting orchestras and giving master classes. Speaking over the phone from her hotel room in Beersheba, Isakadze said that aside from technique and a serious approach to the interpretation of musical pieces, she also learned about the human side of playing from her renowned teacher. "Oistrach was an idealist who never cared for fame or anything materialistic, but rather about music; he taught his students to be first and foremost human beings." She added that today, the world of the classical music is too influenced by the market. "You never bring real diamonds to the marketplace, only glass fakes. But people do not know that these are fakes, and this "music marketing" simply spoils their taste. "That said, whatever happens in mass culture - there always exists a parallel world of elitist art and there are artists and audiences who keep it going." Isakadze has learned Oistrach's lessons well and has proven this repeatedly. In the early and tumultuous years of Perestroika, when the situation in her native Georgia was disastrous and many musicians left the country, Isakadze, using her name and international connections, took the Georgian State Chamber Orchestra abroad, giving the artists the chance to survive as musicians. After settling in Germany, she for many years ran the orchestra not only as its music director, but also in administrative matters. Once the situation in Georgia improved, the orchestra returned to Tbilisi. The violinist has appeared in Israel several times. In 2000, she, together with her orchestra, performed in Jerusalem in a special pilgrimage concert. "On that tour, we appeared at several historic locations connected to the rise of Christianity. We started in Georgia and continued to Germany, Venice, Rome - where we played in the presence of the Pope - Greece, Turkey and finally on Passover we performed in Jerusalem. It was unforgettable." Liana Isakadze conducts the Sinfonietta and plays solo on December 15 at Heichal Hatarbut in Beersheba and December 16 at VIX Auditorium in Rehovot. The concerts start at 8:30 p.m.