Church Music Department of Tbilisi State Conservatoire was created in 2007. Its creation was preceded by the attempt of the Conservatoire lecturers and students to research old professional music and return it to Divine Liturgy practice in the late 1980s. In 1991 the Conservatoire published the first collection of scientific works dedicated to the issues of history and theory of Georgian professional music. In 1999 on the initiative of Rusudan Tsurtsumia then-Vice Rector of the Conservatoire, created was a research group of sacred music at the Georgian Folk Music Department; the group united the Department staff, laboratory assistants and specialists interested in this problem. The group was led by professor Manana Andriadze – a member of Music Theory Department.
In 2008 Church music separated from Music Theory Department as an independent unit. The Department was headed by Prof. Manana Andriadze in 2008-2012. During this time Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral works in musicology dedicated to the study of musical-liturgical aspects, history, genres and script systems, regularities of musical language of Georgian church chant were prepared at the Department.
Since 2013 the Department has been headed by Assoc. Prof. Tamar Chkheidze. Since 2012 the Department organizes annual Christmas song and chant concerts, with the participation of chanter-singers’ ensembles from Tbilisi and other parts of Georgia (Ekaterine Qazarashvili, author of the project). In 2014 a student-chanters’ choir (directed by Ekaterine Qazarashvili) was created at the Department.
Since 2014 together with the Department of Music Theory Church Music Department organizes scientific conferences “Actual Problems of Church and Theoretical Musicology” dedicated to the memory of Prof. Manana Andriadze – the founder and first Head of the Department. It has become a tradition of the conference to award a successful student of the year with Manana Andriadze’s Prize- granted by her family.
Church Music Department successfully collaborates with Giorgi Mtatsmindeli High School for Chant, realizes joint educational and creative projects. The “Kartuli galoba” Foundation actively supports creative and scientific activities of the Church Music Department students and pedagogues; to encourage the Church Music Department students the Foundation grants scholarships, rewards, organizes contests and supports scientific and creative projects dedicated to sacred chant.
The Church Music Department offers Master’s program in sacred musicology. This is a three-year educational program aiming to train a musicologist –researcher of church music. The Department also offers a Doctoral program.
Professors and specialist of the Church Music Department intensively work on the topical issues of Georgian sacred chant, participate in international scientific symposia and national musicological conferences, publish works in Conservatoire or other local and international collections.