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Kancheli, Giya

Giya Kancheli studied at the Conservatorium of Tbilissi with Iona Tuskiya from 1959 until 1963. He has been a freelance composer since passing his examinations. In 1971 Kancheli became Music Director of the Rustaveli Theatre in Tbilissi.

The composer moved to Berlin in 1991, where he received a stipend from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). In 1995 he was composer-in-residence of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic in Antwerp. Since then Kancheli has been living in Belgium as a freelance composer. After Kancheli had started out as a composer of the “Soviet avant-garde” during the 1960s, he unceasingly worked out his own musical style in the years since then.

Kancheli’s sound-world has something incredibly natural about it. His musical structures are orientated on emotional aspects such as intensifi cation and tension, excitement and calm. He works with dynamic extremes and not infrequently demands extreme slowness. In terms of atmosphere, Kancheli’s music is closely connected with his homeland of Georgia without actually quoting Georgian folklore. Nostalgia and melancholy, as well as sadness over the political conditions in the former Soviet Union (“Life without Christmas”) and the destruction of the Georgian civil war mark his production.

Giya Kancheli died on 2 October 2019 at the age of 84 years in his hometown of Tbilisi.