"Kin-dza-dza”, "Blue Mountains”, "Unusual Exhibition”, "Mimino”, "Don’t Grieve!” ("My Uncle Benjamin”) these are favorite films not only for Georgians but all the former Soviet Union. Besides the value of the films spectators were charmed with the music in these films. These melodies are frequently heard from mobile telephones today. Ghia Kancheli is the man who has given birth to an epoch in music of Georgian cinematography (and not only); he has become a leading figure in the world of music.
The most famous Georgian composer was born in Tbilisi on August 10 of 1935. After graduation of the Tbilisi conservatoire he did not enter any soviet organization and started to work in the folk style. In 1991 the famous Georgian composer obtained a scholarship of the Academy of Arts of Germany and left for Germany for a year. In Germany a richly furnished apartment, grand-piano and a solid scholarship were awaiting him. A year later it was time to return home and G. Kancheli had to make a decision to return to Georgia, where the smell of a civil war was in the air or stay abroad and continue his work. Kancheli made his decision in favor of his art. He was one of the Georgians who did not accept the course of the first president of Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia . He knew the country where a civil war might start any time was not a place for development of arts. The composer decided to stay abroad; he moved to Amsterdam from Germany having accepted the very first offer then to work and create normal conditions for himself. In 1995 he moved to Antwerp, Belgium.
The years in emigration brought him international fame which was expected. The world famous composer, master of classic music told journalists in one of his interviews: "My love affair with music started not with music of Bach or Schubert but with music of Glenn Miller and Duke Ellington ...I fell in love with Jazz once and forever.” As he said, his dream was to have his own jazz-band: "my life was subjected to frequent changes but my love to Jazz has survived...” During the Soviet period strive for western culture of a young musician was against the common thinking and consequently the "Concerto for Orchestra” written by Ghia Kancheli in 1962 was criticized severely. However, in 1973 the composer started to work as the musical director of the Roustaveli Theater. Kancheli had been working in the theater for 20 years. In cooperation with Robert Sturua, director of the Roustaveli theater he created an opera "The Music for the Living” which seemed "dead” to Soviet critics. It was staged in Weimar (Germany). Ghia Kancheli’s respond to the critic was: "30 years have passed since the first performance of the opera and Yuri Bashmet (Outstanding violinist) has been playing this piece since. It is in the repertoire of many viola players; two ballets have been staged on the bases of the music in Austria and Germany. Recently a cello version of the opera has been introduced. Consequently, the words "Music for the Living” was a dead music, were rather hastily made.” The opera was not the only case of cooperation of Sturua and Kancheli. Music for the legendary performance "Caucasian Chalk Circle” was written by Kancheli too.
The director and the composer continue their fruitful cooperation. Kancheli is the author of music for the performances staged by Sturua in England, Finland and Greece. Georgian as well as western public know Ghia Kancheli from different angles. Georgians know his music written for films and plays while in the west they do not know about this part of his works. They are familiar with classical works of the Georgian composer. Kancheli is the author of seven symphonies. He wrote his first symphony in 1967, the second one three years later. Both works bear influence of the Russian Composer Igor Stravinsky’s "Symphony of psalms” and Georgian folklore. Religious music elements are evident in the second one as well. Upon the whole, Kanhcheli’s works are based on Georgian folklore. Georgian public remembers the third symphony written in1973 by its instrumental and vocal performance especially as it was fulfilled by the Georgian famous singer Hamlet Gonashvili. The fourth symphony by Kancheli "In Memoria di Michelangelo” was dedicated to the anniversary of the Legendary Michelangelo. This work was awarded with the national prize of Soviet Union in 1976. In 1978 Philadelphia (USA) orchestra played the symphony; the conductor was Yuri Temirkanov. The fifth symphony was dedicated to his parents. In 1979-1980 Kancheli wrote the sixth symphony. It was a musical protest against the Soviet government repressions against spiritual wholeness of people. He finished the seventh symphony in 1986 but it failed to exceed the sixth symphony in its value. In 1989 he wrote "Mourned by the Wind” for a violin and orchestra, the version for cello was written in 1996. Among the works of Kancheli are: "Life without Christmas” consisting of four parts: "Morning prayers”, "Midday Prayers”, "Evening prayers” and "Night prayers”. His "Diplipito” written in 1997 and "Styx” written in 1999 were extremely successful; the violin part belonged to Sophia Gubaidulina, famous violinist.
A couple of years ago Georgian public received a present from the composer Nika Memanishvili – Ghia Kancheli’s melodies performed by Nato Metonidze. The project "Music of Ghia Kancheli for cinema and theater – everyone has something to remember” was first organized in the Z. Paliashvili Opera House as the Roustaveli theater was being repaired by then although a significant period of Kancheli’s art is related to the latter. Music of Kancheli returned to the Roustaveli theater stage in 2007. Partners of the singer Nato Metonidze were stars of the Georgian cinematography and theater: Ramaz Chkhikvadze, Janri Lolashvili, Tatuli Dolidze and Andro Dgebuadze. Music from the films "Mimino”, "Children of the Sea”, "Bear’s kiss”, performances "Caucasian Chalk Circle”, "Khanuma”, "King Liar”, etc were used in the project. "I am happy that young people have paid attention to my music for cinema and theater and not only, they have so well mixed it”- said Kancheli about the project. The project was an expression of gratitude to the legendary Georgian composer for his unforgettable melodies and bringing Georgian folklore and spiritual music to the world notice. In 2007 Kancheli was named among the citizens of honor of Tbilisi. Not long ago Kancheli said:”Giorgi Danelia (famous Georgian film director) and I were walking along Arbat Street in Moscow and we happened to be passing the restaurant "Chito Gvrito”. I told him: Giorgi, the film "Mimino” is yours, music is mine. Let’s go in and we’ll see how they will meet us. We entered and it was really a good evening. They did not even allow us to pay...”