Kancheli’s award was presented by İstanbul Foundation for Culture and Art (İKSV) Chairman Bülent Eczacıbaşı as part of the 40th anniversary of İKSV’s music festival. İKSV’s Lifetime Achievement Award has been presented to recipients since 2003.
Kancheli then presented the world premiere of his eagerly anticipated orchestral piece, commissioned by the festival. This concert, dubbed “Giya Kancheli: A World Premiere,” was dedicated to the memory of Turkish cellist Benyamin Sönmez, who was to have taken to the stage as a soloist in this concert had he not died of a heart attack in December 2011 at the age of 28.
“I was shocked by talented, young cellist Benyamin Sönmez’s sudden death while I was working on my new piece commissioned by the festival. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to get to know him and watch his performance live. I thank the organizers of the festival and dedicate the world premiere of my new piece to Benyamin Sönmez,” Kancheli said.
The long-awaited symphonic piece “Lingering” was presented by the Borusan İstanbul Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of maestro Andres Mustonen. The concert also featured the Warsaw Philharmonic Choir, cellist Giedre Dirvanauskaite, violinist Gidon Kremer and countertenor Mamuka Gaganidze as soloists.
The night’s program included Kancheli’s “Diplipito” for cello, countertenor and orchestra, and “Styx” for viola, choir and orchestra.