The New Georgian Philharmonic looks back on a long tradition: for 90 years, the former State Symphony Orchestra of Georgia has been the country’s leading orchestra, giving concerts in many halls all over the world, for example Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and London’s Royal Albert Hall. In 2013 restructuring renewed the established orchestra, turning it into a young, fresh version in which many students from the State Conservatory in Tbilisi now perform. That same year, the orchestra managed to have the selection of its musical director and chief conductor changed from being a responsibility of the Georgian Ministry of Culture to an election made by the musicians themselves. They voted for Nikoloz Rachveli democratically in December 2013. Under his baton and together with famous Georgian soloists, they completed a successful tour to St. Petersburg, performing at the Philharmonic Hall. Ever since, the orchestra has dedicated itself to the interpretation of Georgian symphonic music and the performances of works by other composers as well.
The Georgian conductor Nikoloz Rachveli is a musical multi-talent whose gifts were recognised even during his earliest youth. At the age of nine, he composed a children’s opera; at ten, he first conducted an orchestra. His subsequent studies in Vienna brought him into contact with personalities such as Pierre Boulez, György Ligeti and Luciano Berio. Later, Rachveli became the first to perform compositions by Stockhausen, Cage, Schnittke and Gubaidulina in his native Georgia. After the Rose Revolution, Rachveli took on leading positions at the Opera in Tbilisi and the State Orchestra; today, the 36-year-old is chief conductor of the Georgian Philharmonic Orchestra. His piano concerto Introversion was performed by the Georgian Chamber Orchestra at Berlin’s Konzerthaus; as a conductor, he has championed the oeuvre of Giya Kancheli in particular. In 2013 Rachveli joined artists such as Gidon Kremer, Daniel Barenboim, Khatia Buniatishvili and Sergey Nakariakov in a solidarity concert entitled To Russia with Love at Berlin’s Philharmonie, protesting human rights violations in Russia.
The Estonian conductor Andres Mustonen, born in 1953, turned to contemporary music early in life, but then executed an about-face and dedicated himself to early music. In 1972 he founded the ensemble Hortus Musicus, with which he appeared at many international festivals and produced 25 records. In the meantime, Andres Mustonen, who also performs as a violinist, has learned to combine early and modern music effortlessly, his focus always being on sacred music. On the other hand, he conducts works by Schütz, Bach and Mozart and on the other by Giya Kancheli, Krzysztof Penderecki, John Tavener, Alexander Knaifel and Gubaidulina. Mustonen’s conducting style is unusual for its spontaneity, improvisation and radiant artistry. The conductor has very clear criteria about the artists he performs with: “I never share the stage with someone I don’t know, don’t consider my friend or don’t love.”
The Georgian violist Giorgi Zagareli, born in Tbilisi in 1986, originally studied in his hometown and then at the Music Academies in Detmold, Leipzig and Basel. Since then, Zagareli has made a name for himself as a soloist and chamber musician. He is particularly interested in contemporary music: he has given first performances of works by Berio, Feldman, Xenakis, Penderecki and Ligeti in his native Georgia; he has also given world premieres by compositions of his countrymen Sulkhan Nasidze, Tigran Mansurian and Giya Kancheli. He has recorded several of the latter’s works on CD, including the project Kancheliada with the ensemble Septeriment. Together with Nikoloz Rachveli, Zagareli also founded the Georgian contemporary music festival “Counterpoint”. In 2014, he recorded with Nikoloz Rachveli Giya Kancheli’s 20 Miniatures for Viola and Piano. The composer dedicated this work to Giorgi and Nikoloz.
The Georgian pianist Dudana Mazmanishvili, born in Tbilisi in 1980, has been most successful during recent years in the USA, where she also studied at the Mannes School of Music in New York City. However, she also has close ties with Germany. After her basic education in her native Georgia, the young pianist moved to Munich to study with Elisso Virsaladze at the Music Academy there, recording her first CD for the Bavarian Radio, and has been living in Berlin for several years. The Georgian government named her “Cultural Ambassador of Georgia in Germany” in 2013. Dudana Mazmanishvili is also at home in the German piano repertoire – she performs Bach and Beethoven as happily as Schumann, Brahms and Busoni. Furthermore, Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninov and Georgian composers are an additional focus. This past spring, she first performed at the Ruhr Piano Festival.
«Warzone» for Symphony Orchestra (2002)
«For Lennart in memoriam» for String Orchestra (2006)
«Silent Prayer» for Violin, Cello, Vibraphone, Bass Guitar,
String Orchestra and Pre-Recorded Tape (2007)
«Credo» for Piano, Mixed Choir and Orchestra (1968)
«Trisagion» for String Orchestra (1992/1994)
«Styx» for Viola, Mixed Choir and Orchestra (1999)
7 pm: Pre-concert Lecture in the Werner-Otto-Saal
Free for ticket holders (admission at 6:45 pm)
Moderation: Dr. Dieter Rexroth, Artistic Director of Young Euro Classic, in conversation with Dudana Mazmanishvili, Pianist
In cooperation with the Körber Foundation.
Celebrating the 80th Birthdays of Arvo Pärt and Giya Kancheli
Young Euro Classic honours two composers whose formidable personalities allowed them to tread their very own path in modern music: the Estonian Arvo Pärt and the Georgian Giya Kancheli. A master of meditative sound surfaces, Pärt has an enormous fan base all around the world. The three Pärt works in the Young Euro Classic birthday concert range from the permanent metric disquiet of trisagion for string orchestra, all the way to the funeral music Pärt wrote after the death of his friend, the Estonian President Lennart Meri, in 2006. His Georgian colleague Kancheli also resisted the official musical tastes of the Soviet Union, building courageous bridges between the folk music of his homeland and the Western avant-garde. The works by Kancheli in this concert are equally daring: Silent Prayer for example explores the different sound worlds of strings, vibraphone and bass guitar.
The concert will be recorded and broadcast nationally by Deutschlandradio Kultur. The date of the broadcast is August 25, 2015, 20:03-22:00. In Berlin via UKW 89.6, DAB+ and cable.