Culture
Celebrated Georgian conductor Jansug Kakhidze‘s life and career
10 January, 2018
January 10 marks the birthday of world-renowned Georgian conductor, composer and a singer Jansug Kakhidze. Jansug remains as one of the most remarkable representatives of Georgian musical culture. He was nicknamed the Georgian Karajan after famous Austrian conductor.

Kakhidze worked as a music director at the Georgian State Symphony Orchestra for two decades and as the main conductor at Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre. His contribution to Georgian music was immense. The famed composer was born in 1936 to a
winemaker’s family in the village of Obcha, western Georgia. He was fond of music from early childhood so he started his musical career quite early as a student.
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Jansug Kakhidze during the rehearsal

In 1957, Kakhidze founded the vocal ensemble Shvidkaca (Seven Men), which within two years claimed international success. During this time, Kakhidze was also the music director of the Georgian State Chorus.
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Jansug Kakhidze with famous Georgian singer Nani Bregvadze

Opera performances released under his direction included Salome, Don Giovanni, Boris Goduno, Il trovatore, Otello, Rigoletto, Cavalleria rusticana, Gianni Schicchi, L'elisir d'amore, The Queen of Spades, The Fiery Angel, The Love for Three Oranges, Duenj, Abesalom and Eteri, and Music for the living.

In the early '70s, Kakhidze brought the Georgian opera Abesalom and Eteri by famous Georgian composer Zakaria Paliashvili to Lodzy, Poland. His Later productions included numerous Georgian works such as Georgian composers Kancheli's Music for Alive and Bidzina Kvernadze's In the Eighth Century and the Princess of Kolkhida.

In 1989, Kakhidze founded a new hall for symphony music in Tbilisi, which included the Tbilisi Center for Music and Culture. He established the first professional boys' choir in Tbilisi at this center in 2000, further developing the classical performing arts in Georgia.
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He established the first professional boys' choir in Tbilisi

In 1993, Kakhidze founded the new Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra, and led it until his death in 2002.

Noted for his innovative ideas he played his role in developing contemporary classical music. The composer also earned his fame during his life as a close friend of outstanding Georgian composer Gia Kancheli, recording his entire cycle of seven symphonies, along with many other works.
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Gia Kancheli and Jansug Kakhidze

Highlights of Kakhidze's career included numerous appearances conducted throughout Europe and Australia. His performance of Berlioz's Damnation of Faust with the Orchestre de Paris in 1990 got positive feedback from critics, and helped him to gain further international success in places such as the United States, where appeared as a guest conductor with both the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra. Under Kakhidze’s leadership, a number of symphonic pieces were performed for the first time in Tbilisi, such as Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, The Symphony No. 86 written by Joseph Haydn and Symphony No. 4 written by Dmitri Shostakovich.



A song May Will Come by Jansug Kakhidze

He has presented his art of conducting in many cities across the world. Kakhidze was conducting the Bavaria Orchestra, London Symphonic Orchestra, Paris Radio Orchestra, Milan La Scala Orchestra, Washington and Boston, Sydney and Melbourne Orchestras.
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Jansug Kakhidze after the concert

He wrote the music for famous Georgian films, such as The Eccentrics (with Gia Kancheli), Watermelon (Animation cartoon), Valse on the Mtatsminda (Short film), Trip to Tbilisi, Stepmother of Samanishvili (in collaboration with Gia Kancheli), Racha My Love, Data Tutashkhia (together with Bidzina Kvernadze), Kvarkvare, The Legend of Suram Fortress, Express - Information (with Vakhtang Kakhidze), Iavnana, etc.



Jansug Kakhidze performing his song for Georgian animation Watermelon

One of his most popular compositions is called Mukhambazi. The song was used in well-known Georgian film “Racha, My Love”. This romantic song can be named as a hymn to love. The song is also known under its second name, “I’m looking for you day and night”.



Mukhambazi. A scene from the Georgian comedy Racha My Love

This perfect comedy tells about the romantic love story in one of the most beautiful highlands of Georgia named Racha.

Kakhidze was highly respected and appreciated by Georgian society. He received numerous awards during his lifetime, such as People's Artist of the Georgia (1978), People's Artist of the USSR (1985), Shota Rustaveli Prize (1977), Order of the Red Banner of Labour and Order of the Badge of Honour. In addition, he was an honorary citizen of the Lodz city (Poland).
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The great composer passed away in 2002. It is noteworthy that his baton is kept in National Museum of Giuseppe Verdi, in the city of Busseto, Italy.

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