Concerts from the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, 2013-2014

MARCH 10, 2016, Noon, No Tickets Required

Anchiskhati Ensemble

Whittall Pavilion

"The Orthodox Paschal Cycle: Georgian Liturgical Polyphony, Folksongs and Instrumentals," Concert with lecture/demonstration

The Anchiskhati Ensemble (Tbilisi, Georgia) present a program of Easter and Lenten music from the Orthodox paschal cycle in Georgia, introduced by Dr. John A. Graham (Yale University). In addition to unaccompanied polyphonic chants from the Paschal cycle, the performance will include several para-liturgical songs from the folk repertory, accompanied by traditional instruments such as the goatskin bagpipe (chiboni) and a four-string lute (chonguri).

The Anchiskhati Ensemble is the undisputed leader of the widespread contemporary revival of the polyphonic chant of the Orthodox Church in the country of Georgia. Their members also include leading scholars of the history and theory of this globally significant medieval repertory. Georgian Orthodox Chant has been sung since the fourth century, and was an exclusively oral tradition for most of that time. It was saved from extinction by its transcription into European notation at the turn of the last century. Starting in 1988, members of the Anchiskhati Church Choir accessed transcriptions in state archives, and begin to chant in the manner inherited through pre-Soviet oral practice. This achievement paved the way for further advances such as the publication of more than fifteen compact disk recordings of chant as well as a dozen books of chant notation.

Directly following the performance, Dr. John A. Graham (Yale University), author of a forthcoming book on this tradition, will lead a discussion on the theme of oral transmission and improvisational practice, demonstrating how Georgian liturgical polyphony may be based on a distant monophonic chant tradition. 

Cosponsored by Library of Congress African and Middle Eastern Division.

A free noon concert series presented by the American Folklife Center and the Music Division of the Library of Congress. Most concerts are held in the Coolidge Auditorium (located on the Ground Floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress) or the Whittall Pavilion (next to the Coolidge, on the Ground Floor, Jefferson Building). Occasionally, concerts may be in other locations, which will be specified above in the concert description. Presented in Partnership with the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. NO TICKETS REQUIRED.