|Born in Tbilisi on 10 August
1935, Giya Kancheli is Georgia's most distinguished living composer and a
leading figure in the world of contemporary music. Kancheli's scores, deeply
spiritual in nature, are filled with haunting aural images, varied colors
and textures, sharp contrasts and shattering climaxes. His music draws inspiration
from Georgian folklore and sings with a heartfelt, yet refined emotion; it
is conceived dramaturgically with a strong linear flow and an expansive sense
of musical time. A man of uncompromising artistic integrity, Kancheli has
been called by Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin, "an
ascetic with the temperament of a maximalist -- a restrained Vesuvius."
Best-known as a composer of symphonies and other large-scale
works, Kancheli has written seven symphonies and a "liturgy" for viola and
orchestra, Mourned by the Wind. His Fourth Symphony ("In Memoria
di Michelangelo") received its American premiere with the Philadelphia
Orchestra, Yury Temirkanov conducting, in January 1978, shortly before the
cultural freeze in the United States against Soviet artists. The advent of
glasnost brought growing exposure for and recognition of Kancheli's distinctive
musical voice, leading to prestigious commissions and increasingly frequent
performances in Europe and America. Dennis Russell Davies,
Jansug Kakhidze, Gidon Kremer,
and the Kronos Quartet are among his passionate champions. In recent seasons,
world premieres of specially commissioned works have taken place in Seattle
(Piano Quartet in L'istesso Tempo by the Bridge Ensemble, 1998) and
New York (And Farewell Goes Out Sighing... for violin, countertenor
and orchestra by the New York Philharmonic under Kurt Masur, 1999). North
American premieres of major scores by Kancheli have been presented by the
Philadelphia and Chicago Symphony Orchestras and at the Vancouver International
New Music Festival. In May 2002, he returned to these shores for the eagerly
awaited premiere performances of Don't Grieve, a commission by the
San Francisco Symphony for baritone and orchestra, with Dmitri Hvorostovsky
as soloist and Michael Tilson
This interview was recorded on the telephone on February 27, 1995.
The translation was provided by the composer’s daughter. Portions (along
with recordings) were broadcast on WNIB later that year and in 2000.
The transcription was made and posted on this website early in 2009.
To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here.
Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001. His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM.You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests. He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago. You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.