From The Archives: 1988 Vakhtang Jordania’s tribute to freedom

The Pops in the Park concert was special for the CSO conductor after his escape from Russia

CHICKAMAUGA, Georgia (WDEF) – The Pops On The River concert returns to Coolidge Park on Saturday after missing a couple of years due to the pandemic.

The music begins at 5:30 in the park, with the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra taking center state at 8PM.

Their show concludes with the traditional fireworks display on the river.

The CSO Pops shows have a long history in the region.

Before moving to Coolidge Park on the River, the show was held at Chickamauga Battlefield under Wilder Tower.

We take you back to a preview of the Pops In The Park show in 1988.

The symphony then was lead by conductor Vakhtang Jordania.

That Fourth of July had special significance for him.

It was the fifth anniversary of his defection from the Soviet Union, where he was born in the state of Georgia.

The defection had plenty of cloak and dagger aspects.

He was driven from Finland to Sweden, where he and his lover at the time, stayed in a safe house for two days before they could get apply for political asylum at the American embassy.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, Jorania would return to conduct in both Moscow and Ukraine.

In fact, 17 years after his death, the Vakhtang Jordania International Conducting Competition is still held in Ukraine.

Categories: Chattanooga, From The Archives, Local News, Walker County