Singing in three-voiced polyphony harking back to the 10th century, one of the world’s greatest choral groups returns to the United States from their home country of Georgia for an offsite engagement at the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica. Praised by The Wall Street Journal for their “bright, crisp voices,” this striking male a capella ensemble captivates audiences with a program featuring folk and traditional songs, monastic chants, religious hymns, and epic ballads full of complex harmonies and colorful melodies.
Ensemble Basiani was created in 2000 and became the Folk Ensemble of Georgian Patriarchate. In 2013 Basiani was given the status of State Ensemble of Georgian Folk Singing.
Ensemble Basiani is composed of singers from different parts of Georgia. Most members come from families that perform traditional singing and many members have sung folk songs in different ensembles since childhood.
Since the day of its inception Basiani actively revives and popularizes the examples of Georgian traditional polyphony. Basiani has revived many traditional folk songs, released numerous albums, participated in many internationally acclaimed festivals, and performed at prestigious venues around the world, including Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Gulbekian Great Hall (Lisbon), Grand Hall of Saint Petersburg Academic Philharmonic, Aldeburgh Music Festival (England), Kilkenny Arts Festival (Ireland), and many more.
The Ensemble has visited the US four times (2010, 2012, 2016 and 2019), performing in prestigious venues such as: Lincoln Center, NY; Stanford Live’s Bing Concert Hall, CA; Cal Performances, CA; The Broad Stage, CA; The Town Hall, NY; Krannert Center for Performing Arts, IL; and others.
George Donadze – Artistic Director
Born 1979, George Donadze was a member of Bichebi children’s folk choir and studied at Tbilisi music college between 1995 and 1999. Mr Donadze was the Children’s Choir Conductor at Tbilisi music school between 1997 and 2000 prior to becoming both the Conductor of the Tbilisi Holy Trinity Cathedral Patriarchate Choir and founder and conductor of Ensemble Basiani. He studied for a Bachelors and Masters in Choir Conducting at the V. Sarajishvili Tbilisi State Conservatoire. Since 2006 he has taught at G. Mtatsmindeli Church Chants Institution of Higher Education and he became the Folklore State Center of Georgia’s Director in 2014.
Zurab Tskrialashvili – Director of the Basiani Ensemble
Born in 1980, Zurab Tskrialashvili was part of Martve, the children folk’s choir, from the age of 9 to 16. He attended music school and college in Tbilisi before studying at the Sarajishvili Tbilisi State Conservatoire for a Masters in Choir Conducting. Zurab has been part of the Tbilisi Holy Trinity Cathedral Patriarchate Choir since 2000 to present day and the member of Basiani Ensemble since 2002 first as a singer and, since 2013, as the director. In 2007 he also became Assistant Professor at the G. Mtatsmindeli Church Chants Institution of Higher Education, from 2014 until 2018 he was a Children’s Folk Choir Conductor at Folklore National Palace.
“... It was the male Ensemble Basiani from the Republic of Georgia, singing two sets of Georgian polyphony descended from an ancient tradition that stole the main show at Tully against strong competition!” — The New York Times