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Giya Kancheli

Born: 1935

Died: 2019

Nationality: Georgian

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Photo © Sarah Ainslie

Best-known as a composer of symphonies and other large-scale works, Kancheli wrote 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. His passionate champions have included Dennis Russell Davies, Jansug Kakhidze, Gidon Kremer, Yuri Bashmet, Kim Kashkashian, Mstislav Rostropovich and the Kronos Quartet. World premieres of specially commissioned works took 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 were also presented by the Philadelphia and Chicago Symphony Orchestras and at the Vancouver International New Music Festival.
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