This is the story of two amazing people, whose friendship contributed so much to the world culture, and above all to music.
A brilliant composer Gia Kancheli and, Julian Milkis, one of the best clarinetists in the world, and the most famous of all the classical musicians living in Canada.
Gia Kancheli was born in Georgia, in Tbilisi, where he is still revered today as a living genius. Now for many years he lives in Antwerp, Belgium, after he accepted an invitation by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Flanders.
Musician Julian Milkis has long been in love with Kancheli’s music. He dreamed of playing it, he literally was raving about it. And when he finally met with his idol, and told him how he adored his work, and how he wanted to play some of his works. But the maestro said that although he was very pleased to hear all this, he just didn’t like the clarinet and considered it unsuitable to perform his works. It was a blow for Julian! He dreamed about a moment that he will appear on the Carnegie Hall stage in New York and play something from “Life without Christmas.” And now what?
But it was only a momentary weakness. He quietly included works of his favorite composer into his repertoire, without telling anyone, and without Kancheli’s permission.
It was a huge amount work, and he had to do it while being on tours around the world, between his concert performances, and during scheduled rehearsals. However hard he worked something was not right, he couldn’t get that divine sound.
And then one day, when he was on the plane from New York to Seoul, he suddenly realized what was happening. Usually, the clarinetists take deep breath filling the lungs with air, then exhale to produce sound, then breathe in air again, etc. It was the absolutely wrong technique to reproduce the finest tunes of Kancheli’s music. He needed something completely different, he needed a technique that he had never used before.
He had to play and simultaneously breathe through the nose. This technique is called “permanent breathing”. Right on the plane he began to learn it, though without a clarinet, just playing an imaginary one. For this purpose he needed very strongly inflate his cheeks. Which he did to the amazement of the stewardesses who decided that this passenger had gone mental … All were laughing afterwards when everything was explained.
Some time passed when Milkis met with Kancheli for the second time. It was in Tonhalle in Zurich and Julian knew that the maestro was present in the audience. He went on stage and played one of Kancheli’s works with the string quartet. The effect was stunning.
Since then these two have been working together. No, of course, they live in different countries and they meet very seldom, but it’s not an obstacle to their friendship and cooperation. It must be noted that the composer Gia Kancheli now writes some music works specifically for Julian Milkis, a clarinetist from Toronto. Only a few people have been awarded this honor for all the years of Kancheli’s career.
We will see both Gia and Julian on the streets of Toronto and New York, Tbilisi and Antwerp. But the film storyline will not be confined only to them. We will also meet with people who know them closely, learn a lot of previously unknown and sometimes funny facts. For example, Julian’s mother, a well-known pianist herself, was his first piano teacher. And one day she said in utter desperation, “Either I will kill him, or I will have a heart attack.” And after a while at the family council he was “excommunicated” from the piano and was “transferred” to the clarinet as punishment. Which was God’s blessing!
We will meet with the most important person in Gia Kancheli’s life of, his wife Lula. From her we learn the amazing story of how they met and fell in love with each other.
And of course there will be plenty of music in the film. The most heavenly music that was composed by Gia Kancheli and performed by Julian Milkis.