Alexander Kanchaveli, 28, a pianist, never thought of going to the UK to study music. It was three years ago that his friend, Marina Nadiradze, advised and stimulated him to come and study in Glasgow. Now he is already doing his postgraduate degree at the Royal Scottish Academy for Music and Drama and works hard everyday to prove and find his place in the classical music scene of Great Britain.
“When being and studying here, you have to follow the rhythm and tempo, which does not allow you to think a lot, things like motivation, which is quite different from Georgian approach, here in the UK, you have to fight with your teeth to find your place,” he says.
When speaking about the Georgian attitude, Alexander says it is often that you think about entertainment and having fun with friends, which he seems to like a lot, however unfortunately it is not the way one can live his life: “It would be great if you could lead your life that way and be professional at the same time, however unfortunately it is not the way you can really do it,” he says. And the hard work really seems to pay off for Alexander, as his concerts have been held in leading concert halls of United Kingdom, Germany, Hungary, Greece and other European countries.
Alexander thinks that the Georgian school of music is very strong, as art in general has always been strong there. According to Alexander some things about the Soviet Union were positive and high standard, and the music school is what deserves a mention, as music during that period had been taught well and even people from western world recognized it. However, the problem with people from post soviet countries, is that many of them – when coming to UK – want to follow the solo career directly, which is very difficult, not only in Great Britain, but everywhere, and only few, unique performers like Gorovitz can achieve success that way. When speaking about musicians in both in Georgia and abroad, Alexander says that it is of crucial importance for them to understand what they want to reach in life throughout their career, as everyone wants to be a star, but reality is different.
When western people hear Georgians, or representatives of other post soviet countries willing and longing for solo careers, they get confused. This is quite logical, as most accomplished professionals have to work with orchestras in order to achieve success.
When speaking about the differences between attitudes in Georgia and the UK, in regards to music, Alexander also mentions a material, financial issue. It happens often in Georgia that people don’t get paid for the work they do. Alexander does give lessons to students in Scotland and gets paid relatively well. In Georgia it is extremely hard to make money for a comfortable lifestyle.
“I like art and get satisfaction from my work, however I want to get money from it, this is the way it should be and people in Georgia and other post soviet countries unfortunately don’t know what they should get paid for their work, that their job should be well paid.”
Despite being happy and satisfied with his studies and concerts in Glasgow and the United Kingdom, Alexander feels sorry that he is away from homeland. He visits Georgia three times a year, as he can’t stay away from it for long time. He says that unfortunately, he like many others, could not find his place in Georgia and feels sorry for that.
“It is not because I wanted to leave Georgia, but because I had to, as it is almost impossible, if not totally impossible to make living creating music in Georgia.”
However Alexander does not want to ruin the possibility for coming back to Georgia and spending most of time there, he says that he would be happy to do so, if he gets a chance to lead a professional career in an appropriate way.
“I do belong in the category [of people] which would live in Georgia, with great pleasure, if only given a chance,” he says in the end of the interview.
The article was published as a free lance work for “Georgia Today,” May 29, 2009 issue.