The artistic director of the Tbilisi State Symphony, Vakhtang Kakhidze, is back in Israel to conduct the Israeli Chamber Orchestra in a program featuring mostly his own pieces. His daughter Anna, who is a pianist and a singer, also participates in the concerts as a soloist.
As one of the leading Georgian conductors and composers, Kakhidze represents the best of his country's culture.
"[My daughter Anna and I] are respectively the second and the third generation of professional musicians in our family," says Kakhidze as he rests after a rehearsal in the lobby of his Jaffa hotel. His late father, Jansug Kakhidze, was a key personality in Georgian culture, an internationally acclaimed conductor, composer and educator who heavily promoted his country's music both at home and abroad.
"But it all started with my grandfather... a fine wine maker and an amateur singer who knew a lot of folk songs and possessed a strong and beautiful tenor. He was even accepted to the Conservatory after performing on a bet together with his friends, a duo from classical Georgian opera Abessalom and Eteri, at the entry exams. But he did not want to become a professional singer and stayed in the wine business. 'In Memoriam,' the first piece to be performed in the concert, is dedicated to his memory."
The program also features "Blitz," a fantasy on Georgian tunes for violin, voice, synthesizer and string orchestra. "The piece is commissioned by Gideon Kremer, and I not only conduct it, but sing solo parts," says Kakhidze.
Anna Kakhidze will sing and play synthesizer. "Anna has successfully graduated from a business school, but it looks like family genes are stronger and she currently studies composition at Tbilisi State Conservatory," smiles the proud father.
Vladimir Reider (violin) and Arie Bar-Droma (viola) also play solo parts.
The concerts take place this evening at 8 p.m. at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and Friday, April 11 at 10:00 a.m. at Or Akiva.