Greenville Symphony’s Tchivzhel celebrates 20 years since Soviet defection

Posted on: October 28, 2011

Friday (10/28) on Greenville Online (South Carolina), Paul Hyde writes, “At the beginning of every Masterworks concert by the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, music director Edvard Tchivzhel strikes up ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’ The Soviet-born conductor marches briskly to the Peace Center podium, signals a snare drum roll and turns to the audience, coaxing everyone into a huge sing-along. … Nationwide, few orchestras regularly begin concerts with the national anthem. Under Tchivzhel, no Masterworks concert starts without it. It’s just two minutes out of a typical two-hour concert, but for Tchivzhel those moments are rich with emotion and meaning. It was 20 years ago that the conductor escaped a repressive Soviet Union that had executed his grandfather. ‘The national anthem means a lot to me personally because I always feel grateful to this country which accepted me and gave me a new life,’ Tchivzhel said. ‘Each time I play the national anthem, I feel like I’m celebrating my freedom.’ … This Saturday, symphony supporters will commemorate the 20th anniversary of Tchivzhel’s defection from the former Soviet Union with a special presentation before the Masterworks concert titled ‘The Mephisto.’ A big reception at the Westin Poinsett Hotel will follow the performance. Both Greenville city and county councils, meanwhile, have declared Saturday ‘Edvard Tchivzhel Day’ in the city and county.”

Posted October 28, 2011