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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
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, Yuri Bashmet, Kim Kashkashian, Mstislav Rostropovich 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.
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