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Meliton Balanchivadze – First professional Georgian composer
05 January, 2017
On January 5 of 1862 an outstanding Georgian composer and opera singer, Meliton Balanchivadze was born. He was the father of world famous American choreographer George Balanchine. Meliton’s contribution to Georgian music - be it classical or folk - is immense. Together with other famous public figures of that time Meliton travelled throughout Georgia and collected polyphonic songs. In this way he saved traditional Georgian songs from disappearing.

Meliton’s career as a singer started in Tbilisi Opera House in 1880. Apart from that, in 1882, he formed Georgian folk song choir and held the first ever folk concert in Tbilisi in 1883..

Meliton Balanchivadze (clad in suit) sitting in the center

Meliton was the leader of choir “Georgian Choro” as well as conducted orchestra that played transcriptions of Georgian folk music.  In addition, Meliton Balanchivadze was also one of the founding fathers of the Georgian opera school.

He created the first original Georgian opera, Tamar the Wily, later renamed into Darejan the Wilyl.
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