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January 23 , 2008

Giya Kancheli receives Wolf Prize in music

Jerusalem: Israel’s Minister of Education, Professor Yuli Tamir, Chairperson of the Wolf Foundation Council, has announced that Georgian composer Giya Kancheli and Italian conductor Claudio Abbado, will share the $100,000 Wolf Prize in the Arts for 2008.

Kancheli, 72, is cited as "one of the world's greatest composers, whose unique music is infused with unforgettable beauty.” Born in Tbilisi, Georgia, Kancheli has served as Director of Music at the Rustaveli Theatre in Tbilisi. In 1995-96, he served as composer-in-residence to the Royal Flanders Philharmonic in Antwerp, since which time he has resided in Belgium.

“His remarkable music alternates between surrealistic serenity and an almost violent outburst of intensity. Kancheli's work expresses the full range of human emotions, from deep religiosity to passion; and from optimism to pessimism. His music connects an aura of mysticism with realistic depictions,” stated the international Jury in this field. “Through his music, of immense depths, Kancheli has become a source of worldwide influence, most especially on the younger generation of composers.”

The Israel-based Wolf Foundation was established by the late German-born inventor, diplomat and philanthropist Dr. Ricardo Wolf. A resident of Cuba for many years, he became Fidel Castro's ambassador to Israel, a country in which he lived until his death in 1981. Five annual Wolf Prizes have been awarded since 1978, to outstanding scientists and artists, "for achievements in the interest of mankind and friendly relations among peoples, irrespective of nationality, race, colour, religion, sex, or political view.". In the Arts, the Prize rotates among Architecture, Music, Painting and Sculpture. Previous Wolf Prize Laureates in Music include composers Olivier Messiaen, Krzysztof Penderecki, Luciano Berio, György Ligeti and Pierre Boulez.

The 2008 Wolf Prizes will be conferred by the President of the State of Israel, Mr. Shimon Peres, at a special ceremony, at the Knessetin Jerusalem, on Sunday, May 25, 2008.

Giya Kancheli’s ECM New Series recordings include “Vom Winde beweint” (ECM 1471), “Abii ne viderem” (ECM 1510), “Exil” (ECM 1535), “Caris Mere” (ECM 1568), “Trauerfarbendes Land” (ECM 1646), “Lament” (ECM 1656), “Magnum Ignotum” (ECM 1669), “In l’istesso tempo” (ECM 1767), and “Diplipito” (ECM 1773). Further releases are in preparation.

Giya Kancheli on ECM